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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENGAGING FARMERS IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF CORN VARIETIES FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

2009 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1)Coordinate collaboration between farmers, and USDA-ARS and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute researchers to research, select, produce and test improved corn varieties for sustainable agriculture; 2)Organize farmer-to-farmer networking and educational opportunities through on-farm research, field days and yearly meetings; and 3)Provide farmer cooperators a platform to increase awareness and interest about the use of and the need for these corn varieties.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
PFI will interact with a team including USDA-ARS, ISU scientists, and MFAI. PFI will identify farmer cooperators in coordination with MFAI, who will work with technicians and researchers to prepare field test sites and begin selecting corn varieties on-farm. Researchers will train farmer cooperators in on-farm selection techniques and requirements for test-site preparation. PFI will organize a winter meeting specifically focused to update stakeholders of the project on breeding accomplishments, variety improvements, and tasks for the following year. PFI will organize summer field days to demonstrate the different varieties and have farmers present field research findings about variety comparisons. PFI will facilitate on-farm research from design to implementation to analysis of results. Additionally, PFI will continue to coordinate seed increases and feeding trials. We will work closely with ISU Animal Science department and local feed mills to formulate and test new diets using these corn varieties. All data will be consolidated, interpreted, summarized and published in PFI publications, on the PFI website, and in the media. Finally, PFI will create partial budgets of the production of this maize and the potential for feeding it to poultry.


3.Progress Report

In FY2009, Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) arranged: .
1)a stakeholder meeting in LaCrosse, WI 02/28/09 attended by 52 people;.
2)a research planning meeting of Iowa farmer cooperators 02/05-06/09, in Ames;.
3)and three field days to be held 09/12/09 in Panora, IA, 09/18/09 in River Falls, WI, and 09/27/09 in Marshalltown, IA. Accomplishments include: fall 2008 harvested from two (six planted) cooperators due to unusually high rainfall in the spring, fall 2008 completed two poultry feeding trials with high-methionine corn (research report available online at www.practicalfarmers.org), spring 2009 established six cooperators, spring 2009 added two strip trials, and spring 2009 coordinated the creation of the US Testing Network, a group of stakeholders in the value chain including famers, public and private breeders, seedsmen and retailers. Twenty conventional and seven organic locations were planted to elite and experimental corn this spring. At the end of this year, data reported will include: planting date, stand counts, stalk and root lodging, yield, moisture percentage and test weight. In addition to our regular Iowa testing network with PFI farmers, PFI will work to coordinate and launch the US Testing Network which will serve a cooperative testing network to research elite and experimental corn varieties. From our last progress report, this partnership with seedsmen and retailers was indentified to help bring our newly bred varieties to market. Farmer activities completed in 2009 included: two Iowa farmers completed yield trials and one farmer carried out on-farm selection of a corn variety for local adaptation, and one farmer completed two poultry feeding trials. In the first quarter of 2009, five Iowa farmers have established yield trials, one farmer will conduct on-farm selection of a corn variety for local adaption and two farmers have established side by side comparison trials. PFI has worked with the ARS and Michael Fields Ag Institute agronomists to summarize results of the 2008 on-farm plots that were shared with farmer cooperators at PFI’s Cooperators Meeting, in Ames, IA, on February 5-6, 2009. The ADODR monitors activities for the project by frequent mutual visits, phone calls, and emails for joint planning, sharing results, and reporting results. The ADODR and collaborator speak on the phone at minimum once every two weeks, email at least every week, and visit each other’s facilities frequently which are close by. Joint presentations are made at field days and farmer meetings.


Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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