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Iowa Farmers Share Research and Plan for this Year

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Thursday, February 9, 2012   

DES MOINES, Iowa - Practical Farmers of Iowa met last week for its annual Cooperators meeting to get input on the past year's on-farm research and make plans for this year's studies.

Southwest Iowa farmer Mark Peterson, who grows conventional corn and soybeans, is going to try something different. He plans to put one field into a three-year rotation in which he plants oats and sweet clover one year, then corn, then soybeans. He plans to test whether that rotation will put enough nitrogen in the soil to cut his fertilizer costs.

"It's enough of a savings that, if you average the three years out, you can actually make a few dollars more than you can in the typical two-year rotation where you are purchasing more commercial fertilizer."

Peterson says the on-farm research he did last year to determine soybeans that might be resistant to aphids didn't work, but he found out something helpful on soybean brands.

"Got to try a bean that we haven't been planting on our farm that actually yielded as well or better than any of our conventional beans that we're planting. So this year we're adding it into our rotation for soybeans. We gained information off the so-called 'failed plot.' "

By attending the annual Cooperators meeting, Peterson says, he always learns something to improve his farm operation, his profits or the environment.


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