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On-Farm Research Conference

Planning an Experiment

Ken J. Moore
Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University
Phone: 515-294-5482


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Planning is the first step and the key to conducting successful and meaningful on-farm experiments. Designing an experiment begins with asking a question that you would like to answer. In research this is often referred to as formulating a hypothesis. A good hypothesis generally asks a simple question that is important to the researcher and for which there can be a clear answer. The next step is deciding what treatments will be applied and which variables will be measured in the experiment. Once this is accomplished, it must be decided how the treatments will be allocated and applied to the field plots. Selecting the appropriate design and the number of replications depends on the nature of the treatments and the characteristics of the trial field. Ideally, plots used for an experiment should be as uniform as possible. This presentation explains the basics of properly setting up an on-farm trial.

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