In each FFS we always have an experiment comparing an IPM plot (managed according to the AESA) with a Farmer’s Practice plot (FP plot). But an FFS is not complete without one or more other field experiments.
Carrying out experiments with farmers serves two purposes. First of all, it helps them to learn through experience. They carry out the experiment and discover a lot of new knowledge by themselves. This is a much more powerful way of learning than just hearing it in a lecture or being told what to do. Secondly, by carrying out experiments, the farmers learn how to test new crop management methods and how to find answers to their questions. It opens the way to future learning and to start “science by farmers”.
However, experiments that are carried out during the first-season FFS are often not meant to discover new things. In the FFS we rather start with well-known experiments that are used by the facilitator as a tool to learn about the crop, the pests, and natural enemies.