|A well designed and properly conducted field experiment will produce useful results needed to help farmers and ranchers decide whether to adopt a new practice.
Any field experiment, even a simple strip trial demonstration, takes time and money to set up and conduct. Start planning your project well ahead of the start-up date, and be sure all required resources (e.g., land, equipment, labour, materials) are in place before the project begins. All those involved in the project need to understand their roles and responsibilities. Be sure they are committed to helping the project run successfully to its final conclusion.
Clearly define the objectives of your project and develop an experimental design which will meet those objectives. Keep the design as simple as possible while satisfying the required level of scientific soundness.
Work closely with the cooperating farmers to ensure that the plot layout does not hamper routine farm operations. Monitor the project site regularly to collect data, take photographs and maintain the technology transfer aspects of the site.
Objectively evaluate and report the results from your project. Don't modify them to fit a preconceived conclusion. Remember that preparing and releasing a final report is just as important as planning and conducting the project. The people interested in the experiment -- including local farmers, extension personnel and the project's funding agencies -- need to know the final results.
Finally, enjoy your own participation in the experiment. It can be rewarding and, if properly done, your efforts will assist others in learning and adopting beneficial farming methods.