Iowa State University
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Research Farms


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Location

Boone County

Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Research Farms
1308 U Ave.
Boone, IA 50036

Agricultural Engineering: (515) 432-5350

Agronomy: (515) 432-5348

Size

475 acres in the Ag Engineering/Agronomy Research Farms plus an additional 746 acres in nearby farms

Owners

Iowa State University - 565 acres
Committee For Agricultural Development, a nonprofit corporation organized in 1943, that works to increase and distribute seed of crop varieties developed by researchers at experiment stations in the North Central Region and the USDA. - 656 acres

Ag Engineering

Harvesting corn grain and biomass simultaneously with one pass of a combine at the farm.

History

This site was opened in 1964 when the Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Farms were relocated from South State Avenue in Story County. The Iowa Crops and Soils Research Association, a group of Iowa agricultural leaders with on-campus leadership by Professor H.D. Hughes, was instrumental in acquiring the farmland.

These farms serve projects from the agricultural and biosystems engineering and agronomy departments. Projects from the entomology, biochemistry, genetics and plant pathology departments, and the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment also are served by these farms.

Soils

Terrain is gently sloping, broken by a rectangular gridwork of roads and fields. Much of the land is drained by tile and ditches because the land has poor natural drainage. Predominant soils are:

Clarion:
2-5 percent slope, very well drained, occurs on upland slopes
Nicollet:
1-3 precent slope, poorly drained, occurs between uplands and low areas
Webster:
0-3 percent slope, poorly drained, occurs on low-lying uplands

Research and Demonstration

Crops. Extensive plant breeding and genetics work related to corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and other small grains are conducted. Crop physiology, management, sustainable agriculture and crop rotations research also is conducted.

Soils and Water Quality. Researchers from Iowa State and the USDA National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment are actively conducting projects related to tillage, nutrient management, sedimentation, runoff, soil structure, drainage and movement of compounds through soil.

Power and Machinery. Agricultural engineers perform research related to farm machinery, grain storage and handling and agricultural mechanization and electronics. Specific work has been done with anhydrous ammonia applicators, tillage tools, grain combines, planters, manure spreaders, tractors and grain bins and dryers. The farm is a popular site for product testing by farm magazines of commercial pickup trucks, utility vehicles and farm machinery.

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Miscanthus, a bioenergy crop, that is ready for harvest.

Facilities

The farm has extensive buildings with shops, offices, a meeting room, workrooms, equipment storage, threshing facility, dryers and seed cold storage. Two intensive sets of water quality plots have tile drainage sampling wells, flumes and wetlands.

Graduate and undergraduate students use the farm shop for machinery fabrication projects and building quarter-scale working tractors. The farm also has a building dedicated to studying livestock housing and manure.

The Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) is a 43-acre teaching and demonstration facility that provides handson learning experiences for crop production professionals. Demonstration plots show a range of management problems, solutions and diagnostic challenges. Mistakes are intentionally made on these plots to enhance the learning experiences. Clinics are taught by ISU staff and faculty and invited specialists. Modern, air-conditioned classroom facilities are within walking distance of the demonstration plots.