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.
Document soil changes, crop response, and nutrient balance under selected
- 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
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
at the University of Missouri-Columbia
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