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Custom Research – Year in Review

Our Custom Research program saw a lot of success in 2021.

In fact, Custom Research Unit Lead Trevor Deering learned how to juggle! Rather, he learned to juggle the work necessary to complete 62 research trials this year.

The program was built on the contracted research that we’ve always done at Farming Smarter. Now, the Custom Research team is dedicated to completing research that is custom-tailored to our client’s needs.

custom research team 2020
The Custom Research Team. Michaela Gateman (left), Trevor Deering (center), and Sara Gateman (right)

Custom-Fit Research

Since 2020, the Custom Research program has shifted the perspective on contracted research.

“We’ve given more importance to it and changed how it’s perceived,” said Deering. “In the past, it’s been seen as contract research to help ‘pay the bills.’ We’ve started to see the importance behind the program.”

The Custom Research program aims to develop relationships with our clients and deliver research that they may not have the resources to complete.

Companies may not have the fields or equipment to achieve the product testing they desire.

Our barley roller. Used in the barley rolling for silage project.

That’s where our Custom Research program finds its niche.

But it’s not just companies that we work with. Our team works alongside the CARA Soil Benchmark program, taking benchmark soil samples across southern Alberta. We work also with the Pest Monitoring program, helping farmers monitor potential pest problems so they can be prepared to protect their crop.

While some projects may share similarities, each project is personalized to our client’s request.

Our nutrient and agronomy trials may look identical amongst themselves, where we really see differences are in our pesticide trials.

“Depending on the stage they want, we’ll spray and target specific pests then evaluate how a chemical worked. We’ll maybe take a yield, or not, depending on the contract, and then give them the data. It can be very standard, but for the most part they are exclusive to their trials,” said Deering.

When we work with a client, we discuss the basic information of the trial. We find out how many trials they want and what they want them to look like. This allows us to draft an estimate and/or protocol.

With this information in place, we’ll work out the intricacies of the trials and where they’ll be located.

Custom Research, Shared Success

Trevor Deering at the 2020 Field School.

All of our clients were really happy with our Custom Research this year! We were able to roll with the punches. While the drought was a major challenge for us, there were only three or four trials that suffered greatly or didn’t go to  yield from this year.

This year, the Custom Research program was awarded new grants, extending the longevity of the program.

While most of the contracts for this program are one-year long, we have recently been awarded three-year grant for our Rolling Barley project. This project has been wildly different than any of our other projects, we’re excited to see how it will evolve over the next three years!

Part of the program focus is to develop and maintain long-term partnerships with the clients we work with. This allows us to develop the research we do for them year-to-year, further tailoring it to meet their needs.

While we put a lot of effort into tailoring our research to fit client’s needs, we ensure the results have benefits that extend past our client. A big benefit of the program is that we are a third-party researcher. As third-party researchers, we don’t have ties to the companies we run trials with. Obviously, we want the trials to succeed, but we don’t have any stake in the products we test. “When we’re rating a trial, we aren’t favouring one product versus another, I’m calling it as it is,” said Deering.

“Not only are we helping companies get their research done and get their products to market, ultimately, we’re helping the farmer.”

We support unbiased research that helps farmers. That’s the importance behind the program.

Customize Your Research!

Interested in custom research? Reach out to Custom Research Unit Lead Trevor Deering to discuss your ideas!

If you want to learn more about the Custom Research program, check out some of the projects we’re doing!