University of Missouri-Columbia
MU Bradford Research and Extension Center
Agricultural Experiment Station
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
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Columbia, Boone County



Contact us
Randy Miles
302 Anheuser Busch Bldg
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: 573-882-6607


Sanborn Field is a long-term research field with over 100 years of soil and crop management activities. As a result of this history and considering its location, there are four uses for the field: 1. Documentation of the past, 2. Demonstration, 3. Research, and 4. Teaching.

  • Document soil changes, crop response, and nutrient balance under selected crop sequences.
  • To continue to measure soil changes and crop performance in plots uniformly managed since 1888.
  • To demonstrate results of interactions that occur through differential management of the soil-plant-environment continuum.
  • To serve as an on-campus laboratory for teaching where varied crops grown under different management schemes provide living examples to students.


The size of the individual plots (101 feet x 31 feet) requires operations to be done with small-sized field equipment. This almost rules out such things as no-till culture because of the size of equipment needed to correctly do no-till seeding. Therefore, with one exception, all row crop and small grain plots are subjected to moldboard plowing and subsequent secondary tillage as needed for seeding. Harvest of small grains and soybeans is done with a small combine. Corn harvest is done by hand. Forage harvests are taken with small plot mowers.

Manure is obtained from a University farm and is spread with a standard manure spreader. The use of fresh manure in the city necessitates the use of the moldboard plow to reduce odors. Fertilizers are purchased from local dealers as needed. Adapted crop varieties readily accepted by Missouri farmers are used. Attempts are made to use the same varieties for several consecutive years.

In addition to crop yields, many other measurements are made. Examples are stand counts, quantity of residues plowed under, time of emergence, disease and insect infestation, and soil measurements.

The Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station is the research arm of the
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
at the University of Missouri-Columbia

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