TOLONO, Ill. (WCIA) — Along with central Illinois corn and soybean fields, seed companies and farms like United Prairie Co-op are planting their research plots. United Prairie’s Innovation Farm, located between Tolono and Sadorus, was planted last week.

United Prairie’s chief agronomist Kyle Meece cut back on some of his research this year, but still has an extensive number of research trials in his corn plot.

“The last couple of years we’ve brought about 200 different trials,” Meece said. “I’ve brought things down a little bit, trying to get a little bit more focused in on some key things. What we’re working on right now is some different in-furrow starter options, not only looking at different brands of in-furrow starter, but some of those additions in there, whether it be PGR’s, bio-stimulants, live bacteria, that’s all in-furrow.”

“We got a lot of 2×2 studies we’re doing with our plot planter, looking at ATS 2×2, 32% 2×2, fungicide 2×2,” Meece continued. “One of the big ones we’re started planting is one of our Pivot Bio trials, comparing Pivot Bio’s new product that I’ve been looking at the last two years. We’ve got some randomized replicated studies, different nitrogen rates anywhere from 100 pounds to 220 pounds, with and without Pivot, in-furrow and even some of the seed treatment versions.”

So you’ve really got a full meal deal that just about all the farmers would have some interest in something.

“We hope so. When we have our winter meetings, we’re trying to get feedback from growers right here in our footprint as well as our sales agronomists. What do we want to see?” Meece responded. “Being a farmer myself, I don’t want to recommend or suggest anything that I am not going to use on my own operation. And before I get to that point of using it on our operation, this is the foundation. What’s exciting now, we’ve had this innovation farm out here since 2015, I’ve now got a smaller innovation farm that we’ve established down at our Cowden plant that I’ll be planting next week. And I hope by next year we’ll have one up north so we’ll covering multiple soil types in the footprint that United Prairie covers.”