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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Oct. 20, 2006

Observers mark historic plot.

Now as then

Coordinator of ISU research farms Mark Honeyman (in hooded jacket) elicits a laugh from chilled guests during an Oct. 12 field ceremony to name a historic research plot for the agronomists who began the study on it 91 years ago. Professors W.H. Stevenson and P.E. Brown began a long-term crop rotation and soil management study in 1915 that tested lime, manure and fertilizers in different cropping systems; those results were the basis for Iowa State recommendations to farmers during the first half of the 20th century.

The study changed in 1953 to evaluate only commercial fertilizers. ISU agronomy and ag engineering research -- except for these continuous corn plots -- relocated in 1963 to Boone County along Highway 30.

The corn plots are part of what now is the Animal Science Teaching Farm complex south of Ames. The research continues. Last spring, the plots were redesigned (from 32 to 12) and the study was modified to accommodate larger machinery.

Honeyman called 91 years of corn plants "a testament to Iowa soils." Photo by Bob Elbert.