Dordt College News

Dordt College/Northwest Iowa on-farm field day Aug. 31

August 23, 2011

Learn about an energy-saving crop rotation system for corn, find out how different variables affect soybean yield, and share a free meal grilled by ag club students at an Aug. 31 field day at the Dordt College campus and farm.

Throughout the academic year, Dordt agriculture students learn while helping conduct on-site research projects at Dordt’s Agriculture Stewardship Center (ASC) in cooperation with the Northwest Iowa On-Farm Research Project. During the 2011 Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) Field Day tours on Wednesday, Aug. 31, Dordt College agriculture faculty and students, as well as Iowa State University (ISU) extension researchers, will share their findings from these ongoing projects with the community.

The Dordt agriculture department welcomes the community to campus beginning at 4 p.m. The tour will begin in the Science and Technology Center at Dordt College, followed by a meal at 5:15 p.m. at the 220 acre Agriculture Stewardship Center North Farm (directions are provided below). A presentation about the plots will follow at 6 p.m.

During the first part of the tour, participants will learn about a three-year ongoing study comparing energy inputs and outputs associated with rotational and continuous corn production systems. Research for the project was made possible by a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant.

“The project is designed to demonstrate a basic cropping system that uses a fraction of the energy that continuously planting corn does yet has the same net energy output,” said Professor of Agriculture Chris Goedhart. “The rotation system also supports a diversity of farm enterprises in a sustainable way.”

After the grilled meal served by students in Dordt’s ag club, presentations about the trials at the ASC North Farm will feature the research of Professors of Agriculture Chris Goedhart and Ron Vos, ISU Extension Agronomist Joel De Jong, and ISU Research Specialist Josh Sievers, as well as Dordt students Justin Knutson (a senior majoring in agriculture: plant science), and Kurt Franje (a senior majoring in agriculture).

Dordt’s agriculture department is conducting tests on soybeans by comparing aphid-resistant soybeans with susceptible soybeans, no-till versus tilled yields, responses to sulfur application, and the effects of timing of planting and of row arrangements and spacing. In corn, replicated trials of biological seed inoculant Quickroots®, the seed treatment Poncho® + Votivo®, optimum population in twin rows, and rootworm traits with and without insecticides.

PFI helped pioneer on-farm research where the farming community can conduct research and share their findings with area farmers. Dordt College supports this goal and continues to study traditional and new methods of farming while examining what it means to be agriculture stewards.

Directions to the Dordt College Agriculture Stewardship Center north farm (second stop on the tour): From the stoplight at Hardees’ corner, proceed north 2.5 miles on Highway 75. The farm is on the right (east) side of the road. Turn down the drive and follow the posted directions to onsite parking and meal location.

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