| ||The location of a project site often makes or breaks a project. Proper location can reduce the effect of natural variability on project results and optimize plot accessibility and visibility. When selecting your site location, consider:
- soil variability
- site topography
- site drainage
- site access
- site visibility
- suitability of the cooperator
Soils are inherently non-uniform. Characteristics that are variable or cause variability include:
Select a uniform and representative portion of the field for your project site. If variability cannot be avoided, minimize its effects by:
- variability of subsoils
- chemical and fertilizer application history
- dead furrows, turn-rows, and headlands
- former fence lines and field boundaries
Site topography and drainage
- using long and narrow plots running in the direction of the greatest soil variation. This encompasses as much of the variability in the field as possible without exposing the whole field to the treatment.
- determining the cropping and management history of the field.
- collecting samples for fertility and salinity testing.
The site characteristics should be as representative of your area as possible. Keep away from headlands and field entrances. The site should be well drained and should not have any watercourses running through the plots. Try to select simple slopes. Locate the site in a midslope position to avoid the effects of soil erosion and deposition. If more than one site is being selected and you want to compare results, ensure that the slope aspect (i.e., the direction in which the slope faces) is the same at all sites.
All types of vehicles, from tour buses to tractors, need access to the site. Access should not be limited by poor weather. Farmers should be able to stop at any time and walk to the site. Establish and maintain walkways to and around the site. Spring-seeded winter wheat is often used for walkways as it has a low growth habit.
Locate the site so it can be seen from main roads. If it can be seen from a kilometre or more away, there is more time for the driver's curiosity to build and more time to plan a stop or slow down. Projects located near stop signs benefit from the fact that a farmer driving by must come to a stop there.
Main sign used at an experimental site