My name is SARAH ADAM, and I am interning with the Prairie Valley team this summer. This fall, I will be a third year at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where I major in plant biology and have a minor in agronomy. I plan to graduate in August of 2022. During the school year, I work in a soybean research lab, so getting to do field research for Prairie Valley is something new and exciting for me.
So far this summer, I have traveled around most of Nebraska and northern Kansas doing a variety of different tasks involving Prairie Valley’s research plots. I started off by checking the plots to ensure that the corn and soybeans were emerging and growing properly. I also checked for any pathogens that may affect the crops during early development. Although it is never a good thing to find an issue in a plot, I found it an interesting challenge to solve the mystery of what has gone wrong. In addition to checking plots, I also prepared the spreadsheets for taking phenotypical notes. Creating spreadsheets isn’t my favorite task, but I did enjoy learning the setup of data collection. I even got to bring my own ideas to the table when it came to the notes that are taken.
Once the crops grew taller, I began helping with Prairie Valley’s Field Focus series. At the Field Focus series, dealers are welcomed out to test plots to learn about the Prairie Valley hybrids on the market. There, each hybrid is discussed, and the dealers can ask all the questions they want. That way they know exactly what they are selling to the farmer and what hybrids work best in each unique location.
Currently, I have been taking phenotypical notes on the corn and soybeans in the research plots. I collect data on the stand, early growth, and overall appearance. I also make sure to note any diseases, insect problems, or abnormalities that occur for each hybrid. It is interesting to see how each hybrid reacts as I travel across Nebraska and Kansas to take data. Some hybrids thrive on dryland while others do well on irrigated. It is also interesting to see how versatile a hybrid is and how many different conditions it can grow and thrive in.
My goal for this summer is to learn and experience as much as I can. Everyday is a new learning opportunity for me. Whether it is a new problem in a plot to solve or talking to a dealer with years of experience, I can gain knowledge wherever the day takes me. I also hope to continue learning the behind the scenes of field research. Moving new hybrids from a greenhouse to a field setting poses several new challenges to the plant, and I hope to continue collecting data on how they react as the summer progresses. I’m extremely grateful for what I have learned and the people I have learned from. I’m excited to continue working through the summer and learning from some of the best in the industry.