Iowa State Students to Study in Argentina

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AMES, IOWA, U.S. – Representatives from Iowa State University’s (ISU) College of Agriculture recently met with officers of APOSGRAN at the Bolsa de Cereales in Rosario, Argentina, to discuss plans for a faculty-led study abroad course in Argentina in May 2018.ISU Argentina study

Dirk E. Maier, professor of Grain and Feed Operations and Processing at ISU, and colleagues Sam Cook, post-harvest engineer and feed technologist, and Jenny Macken, academic adviser in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, discussed the details of next year’s course in which APOSGRAN experts will provide lectures on grain handling and operations, grain sampling and analysis, soybean and soy products processing, biodiesel manufacturing and export, as well as topics on automation, logistics and pest control. Classroom sessions will be complemented with field visits to regional facilities, including Terminal 6, which is the largest soybean handling, processing and export terminal in the world.

APOSGRAN is a non-profit technical association of grain industry professionals with members throughout Argentina engaged in grain operations management, grain and oilseeds processing, equipment manufacturing, service supply, technical sales, facilities planning and construction, professional consulting, and research and development. A key goal of the association is to promote best practices and technical solutions, and to provide knowledge and continuing education for their members and the companies they represent.

While in Argentina, the ISU faculty members were accompanied by Ricardo Bartosik, senior scientist and national program leader for INTA in the area of post-harvest engineering and technology. INTA is the national agricultural research service in Argentina and fulfills similar functions as USDA ARS. The ISU team also visited the INTA Balcarce agricultural experimental station, which is located a 4-hour drive south of Buenos Aires, the home base of Bartosik and his research group. During next year’s course, field visits and lectures by subject matter experts in that region will focus on grain production and post-harvest handling, including wheat, sunflower and corn; potato production and processing; as well as beef production.

The ISU faculty members had opportunity to see large-scale crop and cattle production and processing during visits to a 14,000-hectare estancia and Latin America’s largest potato processing plant. ISU students and faculty also will have opportunity to interact with students and faculty from the College of Agriculture of Mar del Plata National University next year.

The INTA and ISU teams also exchanged information on post-harvest engineering and feed technology research of mutual interest. Bartosik’s team has been conducting research on the use of silo bags for the storage of cereal grains, oilseeds and pulses. They conduct leading research on large-scale hermetic storage technologies, which is of interest to the ISU team, Maier said. Maier and his research team work on smaller-scale hermetic storage technologies targeted at smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

ISU’s expertise and research in feed technology is of interest to INTA as Argentina’s traditional pasture-fed beef production incorporates more and more finishing beef in feed lots, he said. He also noted that the utilization of corn and co-products from the bioethanol, biodiesel and soybean and sunflower processing industries are gaining in importance.

The complete schedule for the planned faculty-led Study Abroad course to Argentina in May 2018 will be available with the start of the fall semester in August 2017. The course will be promoted among Iowa State University students and is aimed to attract interest among students in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, as well as students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Engineering. Any individuals or companies that wish to sponsor this trip in order to help defray costs for the students can contact Maier at or 515.294.0140.