Trial layout

In order to fairly compare any treatment, a comparison needs to be made to a current or conventional practice, which is known as a control treatment. In this innovation trial, the control treatment is bare plots where herbicide is applied to control weeds as per normal farm practice. To account for any variation in factors such as sunlight or minor differences in soil characteristics, the trial treatments are blocked and randomised. In this trial each of the three double rows is a block and the 5 treatment plots are randomly assigned to different positions down each row. See figure below.

Example of innovation trial layout showing three blocks each with randomised ground cover treatment plots.

Within each treatment plot there are:

  • 22 plants which measurements will be taken on — these are known as datum plants.
  • 4 guard plants — which as the name suggests are a buffer between each of the treatment plots.


Example of a treatment plot showing number of datum and guard plants.

Good trial design allows for a fair comparison of treatments. For information on trial design, check out the How to conduct your own research fact sheet.