Research

The 2018 growing season is well underway. It is now time to start assessing the rewards of the spring planting season. Our first FACTS (Forecasting and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS) is now live for the 2018 growing season. There have been a couple of changes going into our fourth year. A field site at the ISU Northern and McNay Research and Demonstration farms have been added to increase geographic coverage. For each site only the ‘normal’ or treatment nearest ‘normal’ is included on the webpage to reduce complexity. Yield forecasts have been moved to the opening page of the Forecast Tool and relative yield values have been removed. We hope these changes make for a more meaningful user experience.

Monsanto Company, along with its subsidiary, The Climate Corporation, today announced a partnership with the Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Agronomy to create an infrastructure project designed to monitor water quality and downstream nitrate loss. The project will provide researchers with valuable information on management practices that help keep nitrogen fertilizer from entering surrounding waterways.

Monsanto and The Climate Corporation invested more than $300,000 to fund the initial installation of the infrastructure, which features a system of drainage tiles and water monitoring equipment on 30 acres of ISU research plots. The installation will be owned and operated by the University.

Outside of Walnut Grove, Minnesota, a contributing author to a Nobel Peace Prize winning project was born in a farm house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. Eugene (Gene) Takle always intended to go back to the farm, but the young man who opted for agriculture classes and never took biology wound up getting his Ph.D. in physics.

Following Sputnik and the space race of the late 50s, the United States focused on science education for youth. It was an English teacher who set Takle on a scientific path. 

“My family did not subscribe to newspapers or news magazines,” said Takle. “My English teacher showed me a copy of Newsweek and gave me one of the cards from inside. I subscribed and actually read the thing every week for years.”

The National Association of Plant Breeders announced their first group of graduate and undergraduate Borlaug Scholars, and our students took three of the eight awards. Our Katelyn Fritz and Andrew Herr, juniors in Agronomy, were selected Borlaug Undergraduate Scholars. Our Kevin Falk, graduate student with Dr. Asheesh (Danny) Singh, was selected Borlaug Graduate Scholar.

Katelyn Fritz

"Borlaug increased yield and got calories to everyone," said Fritz. "I want to leverage breeding to make those calories more nutricious."

As planting gets underway for farmers and researchers, Dr. Asheesh Singh's soybean lab will be able to plant more efficiently thanks to a donation from Monsanto. The St. Louis based agriculture company develops products and tools to help farmers aground the world grow crops more sustainably. 

“We are pleased to provide this planter donation to Iowa State University,” said J.D. Rossouw, North America and Latin America North Plant Breeding Lead for Monsanto. “Tools like this planter help to prepare the next generation of agricultural scientists and leaders and we are grateful to be a part of encouraging students to pursue careers in agricultural industries to help drive food security.”

By Paula Van Brocklin, Office of the Vice President for Research

After reviewing dozens of applications, Iowa State University’s Plant Sciences Institute (PSI) has named nine faculty members to the second cohort of PSI Faculty Scholars. Faculty selected represent three of the university’s eight colleges – Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The PSI Scholars program identifies, supports and empowers talented Iowa State researchers who have the potential to significantly contribute to the complex and rapidly emerging discipline of predictive phenomics. PSI Scholars build upon their existing strong funding and publication track records to enhance ISU’s research prominence in the plant sciences. Recipients receive $75,000 of research funding per year for up to three years.

Seth Watkins is a Taylor County Iowa farmer taking a new approach. As a land owner involved in the Science-based Trial of Rowcrop Integrated Prairie Strips (STRIPS) since 2012, Seth has implemented a number of conservation practices: rotational grazing, restricted wildlife areas, riparian buffers, ponds, shallow water habitats, integrated pest management, prescribed burning, windbreak restoration, no-till, cover crops, tile, terraces, inter-seeded legumes, prairie restoration (CRP) and late season calving. 

The STRIPS team recently won an Iowa State University College of Agriculture and LIfe Sciences Team Award.

Variable rate seeding prescription evaluate in corn (2018-2020)

The purpose of this study is to evaluate different methodologies for developing variable rate seeding prescriptions in corn. Three prescription methods will be evaluated on yield and economics compared to a farmer chosen uniform rate. The three variable rate methods are normalized yield, topographic wetness index, and Corn Suitability Rating. This will be conducted in central Iowa in 2018 and 2019.

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