Frequently asked questions

  • Who is sponsoring this project?
  • This project is a part of a larger project being funded by a USDA National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) competitive grant (AFRI 2011-67009-3002) that is aimed at understanding how soybean yields vary across the landscape and why.

  • Why are you doing this project?
  • Our previous work has shown that some parts of the landscape appear to have more pest problems than others, and growers tend to have to apply more insecticides to control these pests. In order to understand how pests affect soybean production, and whether this is dependent on where you are in the landscape, we need to have a good way to predict what soybean yields are in the landscapes and how this varies with and without pests. To do this, we are developing crop physiology-based models to predict soybean yields given some simple inputs, such as temperature, precipitation, soil types, etc. We are trying to see if the models do better or worse in certain parts of the landscape.

  • How long will this take?
  • Our survey is designed so that it should only take a couple of minutes. Your time is valuable to us, and we greatly appreciate the information you will provide.

  • Which years are you interested in?
  • We’re interested in all soybean yields you’re willing to share; it doesn’t matter how old.

  • Is there any other way to get this information?
  • Currently, geographically widespread soybean yields are available through the USDA’s NASS Census of Agriculture, which is currently done every 5 years. Growers respond to surveys about their individual fields and yield; however, all the responses are aggregated to the county-level. County-scale average yields cannot give us the resolution that we need to accurately predict yields at the field scale.

  • What if I have already given similar data to someone else?
  • Many cooperatives and agrochemical companies adhere to the Open Ag Data Alliance model of data sharing, wherein you - the farmer - own your data and control its use. Unless you have signed a single-source data provision, there is no problem for us to use your data as well.

  • Will I be able to see the results of this study?
  • Yes. This is currently a work in progress, but we expect that results based on your input will be available in draft form within the next year (see a draft prediction here). Formal and vetted results will be published in the scientific literature soon after that. We will post our findings from preliminary and final products here on this web site and on our group’s research sites.

  • How is my privacy being protected?
  • None of the data we collect will be shared in it’s raw form. That is, all locally identifiable information will be stripped, or will be aggregated such that local fields cannot be identified.

  • With whom will you share this information?
  • Ultimately, at time of publishing our findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals, we will provide to the scientific community anonymized and aggregated data.

  • Who do I contact if I have any questions?
  • Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions: Claudio Gratton, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison. For questions regarding this website, please contact Aditya Singh.