AMES, Iowa – The research and demonstration farms operated by Iowa State University continued to be a popular place for educational events and field days in 2022.
More than 14,000 people, including school-age youth, visited the 15 farms throughout the year. Nearly 70 field days were held across the state, with topics that pertained to corn rootworm, forage management, tar spot, nitrogen management, turfgrass management, specialty crops and livestock production.
“It was good to be back to normal again,” said Tim Goode, research farms manager with Iowa State University. “We’ve had two years of in-person, normal events since COVID and that’s the way we like to operate – bringing people to the farms for in-person learning and interaction.”
One highlight for 2022 was the grand opening of the Research and Learning Center at the Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm, near Crawfordsville. More than 200 people from the university and local community attended the opening of an 80-by-60-foot facility that will be used to maintain and repair equipment and host educational events.
“It was a great day with ISU President Wendy Wintersteen and leadership from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as ISU Extension and the association that owns the farm,” said Goode. “The new facility will serve as a gathering place for future field days and community events.”
The 2022 growing season saw a wide variety of weather challenges, with some parts of the state, and consequently some research farms, experiencing normal to above normal spring precipitation, while most of the state saw dry conditions, and even drought, by harvest.
The farms are strategically located across all regions of the state, and the research corresponds with conditions and environmental factors that farmers in those parts of the state face. Crop and livestock research are both conducted, including beef and swine research.
Goode said a unique livestock project in 2022 involved the study of passive immunity in beef cattle, conducted at the McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm in south central Iowa. Through this study, researchers showed how immunity, or lack of immunity, is passed from mother cows to their calves.
Another unique project was the growing of turf for Iowa State University’s football field at Jack Trice Stadium. A collaboration among the Department of Horticulture, Iowa State Athletics Department and the Horticulture Research Station led to locally grown turf for the athletics department.
Each year, the research farms team publishes Farm and Research Reports, which summarize each project and the major findings. In 2022, a new effort was undertaken to publish the reports with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach agriculture and natural resources communications team, which resulted in a new, modernized look. The reports are published through the ISU Extension Store, and are available electronically or in print.
Other ongoing projects at the farms include the planting of apple trees at the Horticulture Research Station to update and replace storm damaged orchards, and the installation of additional water quality plot installations at crop farms.
Goode said spring field days will resume in June and July, with fall field days typically held in August and September. Other events are held at the farms throughout the year, including association meetings, which will begin in February.
For more information, Goode can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.