A new farm outside Ames, Iowa, is helping students, growers and agronomists understand how sustainable growing methods, along with John Deere’s advanced technology, are helping revolutionize agriculture.
The new 80-acre demonstration farm is a partnership between Deere and Iowa State University (ISU).
“We want to demonstrate management strategies with various levels of sustainability at commercial scale,” said Andy Greenlee, senior staff engineer for sustainability solutions at Deere.
The five-year project begins by focusing on how various conservation methods — from strip tillage to cover crops — can impact soil health and profits, said the farm equipment company.
The data and insights collected will measure crop productivity, economic cost of production, soil health, water quality, carbon intensity, and biodiversity.
The farm’s eight individual fields not only turn science into practice, said Deere, but provide a hub for agronomic data collection while mirroring growers’ real life management techniques and decision making.
“ISU has a longstanding relationship with John Deere, which has allowed us to translate agronomic sciences to practice through field demonstrations to unlock opportunities for farmers,” said Matt Darr, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at ISU.
Demo farm will not only enable Deere and ISU to prove the success of sustainable practices at scale, but it will also provide significant opportunities for educating employees and students, dealer and customer outreach, and equipment demonstrations.
“This new research allows us to test new sustainability solutions, so that farmers can adopt practices they have confidence in,” said Darr.
This partnership builds on Deere’s Leap Ambitions, which are focused goals designed to boost both economic value and sustainability for customers.
“It’s about learning and reaching positive results quicker and gaining a deeper understanding of a production system by operating one of our own,” said Greenlee.
It’s about showing the value of the land.”