Person: Carmen Black
Six farmers compared three or four
lettuce varieties, Coastal Star, Hampton,
Magenta, and Muir, to determine
which produces better during summer
months (harvest July – Sept.) in Iowa.
• Magenta had the highest yields on
three of the six farms, and was much
more heat tolerant than Coastal Star.
• Coastal Star produced sizeable heads –
particularly in earlier successions – but
tended to bolt quickly.
• Farmers found they could grow quality
summer head lettuce using these
varieties, though specific preferences
differed by farm.
December 6, 2017
• This project compares yields of
fall brassica crops following a
spring cover crop of oats and
peas. In treatment plots spring
cover was grazed by sheep; control
plots were un-grazed.
• There were no statistical differences
in brassica yield by treatment (grazed vs. un-grazed
• Though Black had more than 3
tons DM/ac of aboveground biomass,
the sheep trampled more
than they foraged because the
oats were too fibrous.
• Black is interested in grazing
more spring-seeded cover crops
based on trial results; Quee plans
to stay with his current system of
grazing in fallow years and in the
early spring and late fall.
December 5, 2017
“This is amazing,” said Susan Jutz at the end of T.D.’s field day, as we loitered in his spacious and tidy machine shop. “He does so much… and he’s so young.” Indeed, this was T.D. Holub’s first field day with PFI, which he hosted with his fiance, Sarah Gericke, near Coggon at their Garden Oasis Farm. […]
June 22, 2017
In 2016, 76 farmer-researchers conducted 109 trials on farms across the state spanning the field crops, livestock, and horticulture program areas. On Dec. 8-9, 2016, 70 farmers gathered in Ames at the Cooperators’ Meeting to discuss completed on-farm research projects and design new experiments. The Cooperators’ Program is the epitome of what PFI is all about: […]
December 20, 2016
In a Nutshell
• Six farmers compared three broccoli
varieties, Belstar, Gypsy and Imperial,
to determine which produces better
during summer months (harvest July –
Sept.) in Iowa.
• Imperial had the highest yields at four
of six farms, followed by Gypsy and
• At three farms, Imperial had statistically
higher yields than the other
• Plant spacing differed by farm, but
average yield per area was 0.28 lb/ft2
for Imperial, followed by Gypsy (0.27
lb/ ft2), and Belstar (0.22 lb/ft2)
• Following the indications of the data,
most farmers strongly preferred Imperial
as their summer broccoli variety.
December 7, 2016
Susan Jutz bought her farm, ZJ Farm, in the hills outside Solon on April Fools Day, 1994. She wanted to grow food for people, despite the skepticism of her neighbors. For the next 20 years, she proved them wrong, building a strong farm and community of workers, volunteers and CSA members who called Local Harvest CSA […]
August 2, 2016
The best way to start bell pepper seedlings is an annual debate between ZJ Farm and another nearby vegetable farm. ZJ prefers to use free-standing soil blocks, the other farmer, Laura Krouse at Abbe Hills Farm, contends that plastic plug trays work just as well. According to Carmen Black, plant seedlings started in soil blocks […]
February 10, 2016
In a Nutshell
• This was an informal trial to compare
bell pepper production from
seedlings started in soil blocks vs.
• Data were collected from 72 plants
in each treatment; peppers were
harvested at green and red stages.
• Though statistical analysis was not
possible, pepper plants started in
soil blocks had higher yield and
number of green and red peppers
per plant and fewer cull fruit.
February 4, 2016
Since 1987, the Cooperators’ Program has been Practical Farmers of Iowa’s vehicle for conducting on-farm research on the issues and concerns deemed most important by our members. The Cooperators’ Program is the epitome of what PFI is all about: Farmer-led investigation and information sharing. In 2015, 63 farmers took part in 35 research projects on […]
December 17, 2015