Western Research and Demonstration Farm

Location: 

Monona County

Directions: Go 4 miles east of Castana on County Road E-34.

Western Research Farm 
36515 Hwy E34 
Castana, IA 51010

(712) 885-2802

click here for a map view

Size: 

280 acres

Owners: 

Western Iowa Experimental Farm Association

History: 

The association purchased the farm in 1946. In 2002, an additional 40 acres was given to the farm.

Soils: 

Gently sloping ridges and steep side slopes that gradually change to well-defined valleys characterize this region. Sloping soils are very erosive and require terracing, contouring and other conservation practices. Predominant soils are:

Ida:
6-30 percent slope, well drained, occurs on narrow divides and steep side slopes

Monona:
5-14 percent slope, well drained, occurs on ridges and s strongly sloping side slopes

Research and Demonstration: 

Swine. Research focuses on alternative pig production. The ISU Hoop Research Complex is located at the farm. Studies on animal density, pork quality, alternative feeds and wean-to-finish approaches are conducted with finishing pigs. Researchers include scientists from animal science and extension.

Forage. Performance of young cattle is evaluated using various rotational grazing systems. Cover crops are studied for their potential as a grazed forage and their impact on crop yields, soil quality and nutrient management properties. Native plants in the Loess hills also are being researched. The farm staff helps with research projects in area farmers’ fields.

Facilities: 

Extensive pastures support grazing and forage studies. Deep-bedded hoop structures are used in the alternative swine production project. The Hoop Research Complex consists of three full-sized hoop barns equipped with six pens for six pigs each.

Farm Reports