Students in the agricultural program at Dordt College participate in hands-on learning experiences. Throughout the academic year, the students learn while helping conduct on-site research projects at the Dordt College Agriculture Stewardship Center (ASC) in cooperation with the Northwest Iowa On-Farm Research Project.
During the 2011 Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) On-Farm Field Day tour, the Dordt College agriculture faculty and students along with Iowa State University Extension specialists and researchers will share their findings from these ongoing projects with the community. The event is Wednesday August 31.
On that day, the Dordt agriculture department welcomes the community to campus beginning at 4 p.m. The tour will begin in the Science and Technology Center at the college. A meal will be held at 5:15 p.m. at the 220 acre Agriculture Stewardship Center North Farm (directions are provided below), and a presentation about the plots will follow at 6 p.m.
Crop rotations, energy inputs and outputs, continuous corn and more
During the first part of the tour, participants will learn about a three-year ongoing study comparing energy inputs and outputs associated with rotational and continuous corn production systems. Research for the project was made possible by a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant.
"The project is designed to demonstrate a basic cropping system that uses a fraction of the energy that continuously planting corn does yet has the same net energy output," said professor of agriculture Chris Goedhart. "The rotation system also supports a diversity of farm enterprises in a sustainable way."
This presentation will be followed by a free grilled meal served by students in Dordt's ag club. The meal will be followed at 6 p.m. with presentations about the trials at the ASC North Farm. Presenters for the evening include professors of agriculture Chris Goedhart and Ron Vos, ISU Extension agronomist Joel De Jong, and ISU research specialist Josh Sievers, as well as Dordt students Justin Knutson (a senior majoring in agriculture plant science), and Kurt Franje (a senior majoring in agriculture).
Tests comparing aphid resistant soybeans with susceptible varieties
Dordt's ag department is conducting tests soybeans comparing aphid-resistant soybean varieties with susceptible soybeans. The college is also conducting trials on no-till versus tilled yields, responses to sulfur application, and the effects of timing of planting and of row arrangements and spacing.
In this year's corn trials, replicated tests of the biological seed inoculant Quickroots, the seed treatment Poncho + Votivo, and optimum corn population in twin rows will be discussed. Also tests of corn hybrids that have corn rootworm control traits that are being grown with and without the use of insecticides, are some of the other topics that will be presented at the field day.
PFI helped pioneer on-farm research where the farming community could conduct research and share their findings with area farmers. Dordt College supports this goal and continues to study traditional and new methods of farming while examining what it means to be agriculture stewards.
Directions to the Dordt College Ag Stewardship Center north farm (second stop on the tour): From the stoplight at Hardees' corner, proceed north 2.5 miles on Highway 75. The farm is on the right (east) side of the road. Turn down the drive and follow the posted directions to onsite parking and meal location.