TAPS Program Makes Plans for 2021, Including Change to Sorghum Competition

Sorghum plant in field

TAPS Program Makes Plans for 2021, Including Change to Sorghum Competition

The Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program facilitates and nurtures growth, understanding, and change in behavior across many generations by initiating the adoption and creation of new and emerging technologies, methods and practices through friendly farm management competitions. The program is making plans and looking for people with interest in participating in the 2021 competitions.

The upcoming season will be very similar to past years including a sprinkler irrigated corn competition and a subsurface drip irrigated (SDI) corn competition, as well as a sorghum competition. After three years of hosting an irrigated sorghum contest, the TAPS team has decided to modify the competition to include both irrigated and dryland components.

The dryland portion of the sorghum competition will be held on a dryland field near West Central Research, Extension & Education Center (WCREEC) at North Platte, Nebraska. The irrigated portion will be located on a linear irrigation system at WCREEC near the SDI and pivot corn competitions.

The same experimental design as previous years will be used with all competitions, with three replications in a randomized block design.

The competitors will make management decisions on insurance, hybrid, seeding rate, nitrogen, irrigation and marketing. In the sorghum competition, the participants won’t make irrigation decisions due to the lack of variable rate equipment on the linear system; instead, all irrigated plots will receive full irrigation according to UNL discretion. This will continue to provide a baseline for irrigated sorghum yields in the area.

The TAPS team is working to confirm new and emerging technology, as well as technology that participants have used in previous years. All competitions will have access to edge of field weather station data and the team plans to collect more data in 2021 through drone technology.

With the change to the sorghum competition, the technology offered to participants in the combination contest will vary from previous years. There will not be a soil moisture sensor placed in each team’s plot; however, a soil moisture sensor will be placed in a representative area to give participants information to help them estimate the dryland yield and market the dryland portion of the competition. Data will also be provided by drone and aerial technology.

If you or anyone you know has any interest in participating in the TAPS competitions in 2021, please email krystle.rhoades@unl.edu.

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A field of corn.