Register for On Farm Research
Information for Participating Farmers
What is DIFM
DIFM (Data Intensive Management Project) uses precision agriculture technology, with researchers and farmers working together conducting large-scale, on-farm “checkerboard” field trials, gathering vast amounts of data on how crop yields respond to input application rates, field characteristics, and weather. The goal of DIFM is to revolutionize farm management, working with farmers and crop consulting to implement scientific experiments on their own farms, enabling them to increase profits by making data-driven management decisions.
A DIFM field trial methods are highly computerized and automated, and meant to be user-friendly, allowing participating farmers and consultants to play active roles in the research. Specialized software “instructs” variable rate equipment to work with GPS technologies to implement the experiment while the farmer simply drives through the field. With initial field information from the farmer/grower the DIFM trial design team will create a design “prescription,” which assigns a range of input application rates to the experiment’s many plots. An experiment can examine the yield impact of varying nitrogen rates, seeding rates or any other input that can be applied by a variable rate controller. DIFM researchers combine and analyze the as-applied input data and harvest data, along with data describing field characteristics and weather, to look for profit-enhancing site-specific management strategies. DIFM then works with farmers and their crop consultants to discuss the causes and practical management implications of the analytical results. Participating farmers take on certain responsibilities in the research, including attending an organizational meeting (either in-person or virtual) in the winter of their first year of participation in order to discuss project methods and roles.
Farmers Own Their Data
Farmers who participate in the DIFM project own the data generated by field trials run on their farms. DIFM researchers reserve the right to use that data in perpetuity, for research purposes only. However, DIFM personnel will not sell the data to other parties, nor share the data with other parties without the express written consent of the farmer to whom that data belongs.