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Soybean Population Study

Dordt’s ag department is also participating in a soybean population study with Northwest Iowa On-Farm Research, planting soybeans at 125,000, 150,000, and 175,000 plants per acre, replicated five times, to track how these seed populations translate into crop yields.

“There is some indication that we are planting more seed than we need to for optimum yield,” says Vos. If that is the case farmers can cut costs by simply planting fewer seeds per acre.

In addition to the two Northwest Iowa On-Farm Research studies, Dordt College has four independent crop studies being conducted by students and faculty this summer. These trials at the ASC are for the benefit of students in agriculture department courses, says Dr. Chris Goedhart, professor of agriculture at Dordt. “Students help sample, harvest, and analyze data collected in these replicated, randomized on-farm research trials.” Goedhart said students also make suggestions for research in future years. This year the following trials are being conducted:

In a soybean cyst nematode trial, a Dordt biology student is sampling soybean fields for the presence of soybean cyst nematodes, with the trial replicated on five varieties.

Three varieties of New Vistive™ soybeans have been planted for another comparison trial. Regular soybeans contain about eight percent linolenic acid, which is unstable in the presence of oxygen and develops a rancid smell and taste. Hydrogenating soybean oil prevents oxidation, but results in the production of trans-fatty acids. New Vistive™ varieties contain less than three percent linolenic fatty acid, reducing or eliminating the need to hydrogenate oils.

A Liberty-link corn trial is examining the yield differences of five varieties that possess the Liberty-link trait (Liberty™ herbicide tolerant) when a non-selective herbicide is used. This study is a look at one means of preventing the buildup of herbicide resistant weed populations.

An organic corn trial is an ongoing project on a certified organic field the college has managed for several years. Students and faculty are examining three hybrid varieties to determine which will yield best in this organic management system, and to understand the challenges and opportunities of the organic farming systems.

Results from the research will be posted on the Dordt ag department’s web page after the data has been analyzed by students and faculty.