Abstract

Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) is an organization that seeks to provide interactive methods of relaying information through farmer-to-farmer sharing (farm field days, workshop discussions, networking) and the generation of new information. On-farm research (OFR) is an important information-generating activity of this group. PFI has shown that key to doing research on farms lies in combining practical protocols with the statistician's old familiar friends - replication and randomization.

We provide background on PFI and how PFI cooperators carne to using strip plots and paired comparisons to answer fundamental questions about what to do on their individual farms. We discuss the challenges faced by OFR cooperators, how those challenges are met and how the simple paired comparison t-test works for the OFR cooperator to answer that very typical experimental question posed by producers: "Is alternative practice 'b' better than, worse than, or no different from my current practice 'a'?"

Keywords

sustainable farming, on-farm research, t-test

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Apr 26th, 12:00 PM

ON-FARM RESEARCH IN A DECENTRALIZED INFORMATION MODEL OR GRASSROOTS STATISTICS

Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) is an organization that seeks to provide interactive methods of relaying information through farmer-to-farmer sharing (farm field days, workshop discussions, networking) and the generation of new information. On-farm research (OFR) is an important information-generating activity of this group. PFI has shown that key to doing research on farms lies in combining practical protocols with the statistician's old familiar friends - replication and randomization.

We provide background on PFI and how PFI cooperators carne to using strip plots and paired comparisons to answer fundamental questions about what to do on their individual farms. We discuss the challenges faced by OFR cooperators, how those challenges are met and how the simple paired comparison t-test works for the OFR cooperator to answer that very typical experimental question posed by producers: "Is alternative practice 'b' better than, worse than, or no different from my current practice 'a'?"