Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm
Fruitland, Muscatine County
Muscatine Island Truck Growers Association
The research farm was founded in 1935 on 63 acres leased from the Rock Island Railroad. In 1983, the association purchased 40 acres of this original tract and an additional 66 acres were added in 2002.
Southeast Iowa/Mississippi River bottom lands
Predominant soil is Fruitland coarse sand with less than 5 percent slope, is well drained and has an organic matter content of less than 2.5 percent.
Variety testing. Scientists conduct trials of advanced breeding lines and the newest cultivars of fruits, vegetables and ornamental crops.
Cultural methods. Scientists evaluate production strategies and methods for sustainability and environmental stewardship. Research areas include: efficient fertilizer use to protect groundwater and develop guidelines for plant tissue nutrient tests, using plastic mulches and row covers, irrigation management (both drip and overhead), earliness techniques for high value vegetable crops and organic crop production.
Pest control. Researchers evaluate new products and methods of controlling diseases, insects and weeds. Integrated pest management practices are explored to address food safety and environmental concerns. Weather data collection and insect trapping provide information to growers for scheduling spray applications for certain pests, such as corn earworm, corn borer and melon leaf blights.
Education and Demonstration
The farm serves as an extension education center for commercial growers. Field days or individual visits to the research farm provide clients with an opportunity to interact with ISU production specialists and observe recommendations being used in the field. Home demonstration gardens provide information to the public for home landscaping and gardens.