A new set of projects is underway this summer as part of the Iowa State University On-Farm Research and Demonstration Program (ISU OFR&D). Field days and other events will showcase a number of these this summer. The Iowa State University OFR&D Program supports teams made up of producers and Iowa State University faculty, staff, or graduate students to carry out projects on a wide range of topics related to conservation and sustainability. Ten projects received funding for 2007, the second year of the program. Topics range from soil quality to apple disease to soybean cyst nematode.
Several Iowa State University OFR&D projects have been included on the field day schedule of Practical Farmers of Iowa. For example, northeast Iowa timber growers Dave and Susan Gossman teamed with Iowa State University graduate student Henry Wilson to document how different kinds of management on the Gossman farm affect the quantity and distribution of organic matter in the soil. Their June 30 field day also demonstrated how a small timber operation can succeed by direct-marketing hard-to-find native woods.
The box elder cut at the Gossman field day is prized by cabinet makers. (Rick Exner)
On Saturday, August 11, from 3:00-5:00 p.m., Earlham vegetable growers Cleve Pulley and Joanne Roepke Bode will host a field day that includes a trial of no-till, organic tomatoes. This is a study Cleve is carrying out in cooperation with Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University organic specialist.
On Monday, August 13, a horticulture field day will be held in western Iowa. The program starts at 5:00 p.m. at the Armstrong Research Farm and moves to the farm of Milton and Laura Amos, whose Iowa State University OFR&D project is based on high tunnel vegetable production. High tunnel is a season-extension technology they are evaluating in partnership with Eldon Everhart, Iowa State University Extension commercial horticulture field specialist.
On Sunday, September 9, 3:00-5:00 p.m., a field day on the farm of Norm and Miriam McCoy will feature two OFR&D projects in which Norm is a partner. Iowa State University graduate student Valentín Picasso will show plantings of the native perennial Illinois bundleflower, which can be used as forage. Ryan Marquardt, another graduate student, will demonstrate the use of goats for weed management.
The results of a 2006 project will be demonstrated on Tuesday, July 31, at the Midwest Strip Tillage Expo, at Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo. Grundy County farmer Fred Abels worked with Iowa State University agricultural engineer Mark Hanna to develop a combined strip-tillage tool and fertilizer applicator. Abels calculates the farm-constructed implement saved him three-quarters the cost of a purchased unit.
Fred Abels and his strip-till implement. (Greg Lamp/The Corn and Soybean Digest).
The Iowa State University On-Farm Research and Demonstration Program will be requesting proposals from farmers and Iowa State University personnel again this fall. For more information, contact Jerry DeWitt at (515) 294-7836 or Rick Exner at (515) 294-5486 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rick Exner is the coordinator for the PFI/ISU Extension Farming Systems Program.
This article originally appeared on page 230 of the IC-498(19) -- July 16, 2007 issue.