What do those signs in the field mean, anyway?

Does the Channel corporation own this field????

The Illinois Farm Bureau recently surveyed Chicagoans about their impressions of farming.  One very interesting thing they discovered is that over 1000 of the 2000 surveyed thought that the signs in fields indicated they were owned by the corporations advertised on those signs.  Whoa!!

So, let me debunk this.  Those signs are put in the fields by the companies that sold the seed, fertilizer, or pesticides to the farmer who owns the field. The farmer graciously allows the company to advertise their products.  We have participated in this phenomenon.

No, this field is not corporate owned. It is owned by a family who allowed the co-op to plant a plot for research purposes.

Sometimes you will see multiple signs, flags, larger signs, and/or a tent in a field.  This is what is called a plot.  Co-ops and seed companies will often plant several different varieties of seed in the same field to compare the performance of them.  Lots of research and data comes from these educational plots.  Farmers are invited out to view the results, and learn about pertinent agronomy issues.  (Plus a free meal, farmers loooove free meals.  Then again, who doesn’t?!?)

Plots are planted on farmer-owned ground as well.  We have had plots on our farms in the past.  They are a lot of work to plant and harvest, as each variety of seed has to be planted and harvested separately, and a plot can have as many as 20-30 varieties.  Very time consuming, but the information derived is worth it.

This is an example of a plot. Lots of different varieties of seed planted in the same field to see how they perform in similar circumstances.

This is just an overview of how seed plots work.  There are many people in the ag industry whose jobs revolve around the data collected from plots.  So, next time you drive by one of those fields,  go ahead and pull in to take a closer look.  Provided it’s not too muddy… you wouldn’t want to get stuck! Although if you do, I guarantee the farmer who owns the field would get a good laugh at you as he’s pulling you out!!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Hey Liz!
    Great meeting you in person this week at the AgChat Conference and having dinner on Monday night!

    • Ditto Nancy! I’ve been having a hard time accomplishing anything “offline” today… I just want to do everything we learned and do it now!!

  2. Wow! Who’d a thunk??? I guess it makes sense that they would think that, though! Great post!

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