WESLEY | Matt Schnabel, Iowa State University (ISU) Northern Research Farm Superintendent said last year’s wet weather greatly has greatly impacted the research farm.
On Wednesday, March 6, Schnabel shared an update on the research farm at the annual meeting of the North Central Iowa Research Association, held at the Wesley Community Center in Wesley.
Schnabel chronicled how the record breaking rain fall of 52.9 inches on the farm had caused late planting, created localized standing water, did wind damage and caused fall tillage to be done while snow was on the ground.
“In April, instead of planting corn, we were plowing snow,” Schnabel said. “Our 30 year average of rain fall is 32.8 inches and in 2017 our rain fall was 35.9 inches. Last year, from March through October, we were 21 inches over the norm. We have never seen water stand around like it did this past year. We also had about 20 percent crop damage due to high winds and quarter size hail.”
Despite the extremely wet weather, Schnabel said the research farm continued to carry on crop research. “This was the first year we combined Cereal Rye,” he said. Other research continuing on the farm is the side dressing of soybeans, sulfur trails on corn, a continuing study of White Mold, a study on cover crops and cereal rye. “We also used our drone a lot more this past year, to do aerial shoots,” Schnabel said.
Brandon Zwiefel, ISU Ag Specialist, who works on the farm, presented findings on a three-year study on the application of sulfur. In a three-year trial where sulfur was one time applied on continuous corn ground it has been found there was a 21 bushel per-acre increase the first year, a nine-and-a-half bushel increase the second year, but last year the yield was down over four bushels per acre. Over the three-year trial there has been a combined 26.6 bushel increase in yield per acre with a onetime application of 30 pounds of sulfur per acre.
Overall yields for corn, soybeans and oats were down on the research farm due to late planting and wet weather that often allowed water to stand in the fields.
Schnabel said for the 2019 season there will be field trials on corn fungicide application, continuation of a White Mold study, Cereal Rye variety trials, long term cover crop, and tillage trials, which will focus on water quality.
Despite the rainy weather in 2018 the research farm held several field days and the Master Gardeners, who operate the farms gardening plots, produced over 950 pounds of produce, which was donated to area food banks. Pumpkins raised on the farm were donated to help raise funds for cancer research and proceeds from sweet corn, produced on the farm, was given to local charities.
During the meeting, Schnabel shared a drawing of an all-purpose building the association hopes to erect on the farm’s site in the future. The facility could then be used for onsite meetings and for community events.
For more information regarding the farm, call 641-762-3247.