Ole & Sven Studies Answer Regional Ag Questions


The “local” movement has exploded in popularity. Interest in purchasing from local businesses, consuming food that is raised locally, and supporting and utilizing local resources has grown. As farmers, local businesses have likely played an integral part in your farming operation. Because you know them. And they know you–and your specific needs.

Across the country, there are great agronomists who are working to advance yields using new technologies and practices. As much as I enjoy learning from national studies, I believe that agronomic research must be conducted locally to be relevant and effective in our region. As John McGillicuddy, a respected colleague, says, “Almost anything will work somewhere, but absolutely nothing works everywhere.”

Local research

Local agronomic research is one of our pillars here at Peterson Farms Seed. Along with researching new corn hybrids and soybean varieties for our geography through our replicated testing program, we also like to experiment with agronomic practices on our own farm.

At our headquarters near Prosper, ND, we’ve committed 60 acres to research plots and our Ole & Sven plot. The Ole & Sven studies were implemented back in 2004 to address agronomic questions facing our regional farmers. We chose Ole & Sven for the plot name to highlight two divergent farming strategies: Ole is the progressive farmer, adopting new practices into his farm and investing in his crops to maximize yields; Sven cuts corners and inputs. The name has stuck.

The Ole & Sven (O&S) plot includes 40 trials in both corn and soybeans, with recurring studies of Planting Date, Population, Planting Depth, Planting Speed, Seed Treatments, Soybean Handling, and Corn Defoliation.

Ole & Sven Expansion

In 2014, we expanded the O&S plots and added longer replicated strips to enhance the validity of the data. Each test is now 12-row by 1200’ long in 22” rows with two replications.

We also introduced another Norwegian to O&S research–LARS (Little Agronomy Research Seeder). LARS is a 6-row 22” planter, equipped with every Precision Planting tool currently available, including electronic drive, hydraulic down pressure, and SpeedTube, which is new in 2015. I also started a long-term corn-on-corn rotation study to examine the benefits of side-dressing and Nitrogen management for that system.

LARS, our 6-row plot planter

LARS, our 6-row plot planter

Tracking these trials year after year allows our research team to provide recommendations that are based on real-world, local testing. As a local, independent seed company, we believe bringing valuable agronomic data to regional growers is part of our mission–we want to help you raise better crops. We add new trials every year to study agronomic questions specific to our region. Some of these trials are suggested by growers, including in-furrow fertilizer, fungicide, and other seed treatments/amendments.

If you are interested in the O&S trial results or have ideas for future trials, please visit our website at or stop out to the farm. We’d love to show you around the plots!

And as always, our Ole & Sven studies are showcased at our Field Day. Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 10 to see what we’ve learned this year.


Adam Spelhaug, Agronomy Lead CCA

Adam Spelhaug

As the agronomy manager, Adam Spelhaug works diligently to determine the best genetics for our region, bringing growers what they need in their fields. Adam has been making his mark on Peterson Farms Seed since 2005. When he’s not discovering genetic breakthroughs, Adam can be found spending time with his family, golfing or bowhunting. He’s a North Dakota State University alumnus, and he’s proud of it. Don’t take any UND green into his office.

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