The last few weeks have been challenging for everyone. Whether you’re managing a reduced team with essential maintenance, supporting your loved ones or simply stuck in the house trying to prove to your kids you are capable of doing some basic maths questions! (just me?).
Whilst we have been locked down we have been looking for ways to help, guide and support Guys and Girls on the ground. And we’ve put together a pretty innovative trial that could help guide some of you through this tricky period.
We felt a real time trial at the STRI seemed like a good idea. Not only does it help you out, it opens up the doors to a new type of trial – one where we get the data in almost real-time.
Thats very unusual for a replicated trial – normally we’d wait until the end of a trial and run the data through some statistical analysis (Yep I’m still the only person in the Syngenta team that doesn’t fully understand this! – You should see the looks I get when I repeat those infamous words “just explain that one again to me?” ).
The exciting part for me is evaluating what we’re looking at now and getting that info out live (Watch this space for regular updates). I guess that’s the biggest difference between a research trial and a field trial you’d do yourself. In the field you’re making assessments every time you walk onto that piece of turf – probably hundreds a day and using those to influence your next management decision, whereas in the research trial the assessments happen on fixed dates and times, they don’t influence the next treatment and are all assessed at the end of the trial. This is the kind of work we need to do to ensure the data is robust, statistically valid and suitable for registering products.
I think that’s why I find this concept so intriguing – It’s as close I’ll get to being a Course Manager again.
Deciding what we wanted to assess was difficult as there are so many variables we could have looked at. All will have an impact how you come through this reduced maintenance period.
We could have easily spent a lot of time looking at:
- Wetting agent programmes,
- Fertility strategies
- Cutting regimes and strategies
- Cutting heights
- Watering practices
Finding a way of mixing all of those variables up and keeping the trial a realistic size was almost impossible. So after much discussion we decided to focus on:
- PrimoMaxx II and best interval windows.
So for me the things I’m excited about here:
- Getting some good UK GDD data for the Spring
- Getting a better understanding of cutting regimes and HOC on plant health
- Trying to share data a different way
- Maybe helping some turf managers understand the impact of some of these decisions
- Getting a few clues and different opinions to come through this in the best condition possible
- Giving you the data to communicate these challenges with your customers – Who whilst currently may just be grateful to get out and play – may soon be asking “With all this rest – shouldn’t the course be better than this?