• Seed
  • Feb 14, 2024

Updates From Year One: Answer Plot® Innovation Farm

In 2022, we purchased a 162-acre piece of land in North Dakota. Since then, we’ve transformed it into the Answer Plot® Innovation Farm, a fully functioning research farm dedicated to diversified crops like canola, wheat, sunflowers and field peas. These crops are key in many rotations of the Northern Plains, so this farm is especially meaningful for diversified crop growers who aren’t used to having the level of localized research typically available for corn and soybeans.
As a CROPLAN® seed team, we’re not satisfied with just providing good products, no matter the crop. We obsess over micro-managing them, investing in robust research to make sure we understand how you can make every product perform to its fullest potential. In year one, this research farm has enabled to us to achieve a whole new level of research, and the opportunities will continue to unfold in the future.

Response to Sulfur in Wheat

In 2023, we added a new management technique into the mix for our wheat trials: response-to sulfur. Sulfur is a key nutrient that impacts both yield and protein content in wheat.
Wheat growers are typically familiar with sulfur and its importance, but our efforts are focused on identifying each CROPLAN variety’s individual response-to sulfur with a specific score. This will help us understand how sulfur rates impact yield and protein content on a variety-by-variety basis. With this level of insight, growers will be able to better tailor product selection for their management plan or adapt their management for the products they select.

Ultra-Early Sunflower Placement

Interest has been growing in late-planting or double cropping sunflowers, so we’ve designed research protocols to better understand the capabilities of ultra-early varieties. Based on two years of trials, we’ve begun to see that ultra-early varieties, such as CP5220CLSS, can be planted until early July and still be successful. In fact, they are often yielding almost as well as some of our full-season products comparative to their maturity.
For growers looking to implement a true dual-crop option in North Dakota, ultra-early sunflower varieties are proving to be a great way to go. Now that we have more space to conduct this research, we will keep learning how to best manage these varieties and continue to release more of them.

Canola Shatter Scoring

In addition to performance and response-to trials, we are now able to run full-scale shatter trials in canola with the added space this farm provides. This is a big deal for canola growers because most shatter ratings have typically come from Canada. While the Canadian breeder data is great, it’s not the same as having local insights. Factors that impact pod drop and pod shatter differ in the hotter, drier environment of the U.S. Northern Plains.
Now, we can better rate our products with shatter scores: Straight Cut (SC) or Straight Cut Plus (SC+). CP9978TF, for example, has a SC+ score and is considered one of the industry's leading shatter and pod drop tolerance hybrids.

Field Pea Research

As a retail brand, we keep our ear to the ground, listening for feedback and providing innovations our growers’ and retailers’ request. That’s why we’ve added field peas to our lineup.
Since this crop is still relatively new to us, we are currently collecting management insights and performance data. This is another crop with very little research available today, especially when it comes to more nuanced decisions like biologicals, micronutrients and fungicide applications. Our field pea trials are designed to gather intel on all those inputs along with fundamental management practices.

Product Performance Trials

A major focus of the farm is testing variety performance and identifying the next generation of products to pull into the CROPLAN lineup. We plan to test close to 300 wheat varieties, nearly double what we’ve done in the past. This will help us fail faster so we can get you the next best product sooner.
We’ll also be gaining better understanding of crops that are newer to us like triticale and field peas. Winter canola and winter wheat will be getting their first replicated trials on the farm this season to help us identify newer products quicker and keep the lineup fresh.
For more information on CROPLAN’s diversified crop varieties or the research happening at the Answer Plot Innovation Farm, contact your local CROPLAN retailer.
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

© 2024 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years and to be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. Answer Plot, CROPLAN and WinField are trademarks of WinField United.