Similar to the work of many agricultural producers across Northeast and North Central Nebraska this time of year, the fall harvest is underway at Northeast Community College.
With seasonal autumn weather for a good part of October until a cold snap hit, college farm employees and students have manned farm machinery to bring in the corn and soybean harvest.
Rob Thomas, college farm manager, said the growing season this year in the area was fairly good compared to many other parts of the country that had excessive amounts of precipitation.
“We got to planting a little late from a wet and cool spring, but the summer heat really helped move the crop along,” Thomas said. “This year, we have approximately 100 acres of corn, 85 acres of soybeans and about 30 acres of alfalfa.”
In addition, Northeast has had multiple applied research trials take place on the 500-plus acre farm this year with six research partners. Thomas said the projects range from planting date, rate, hybrid/variety trials, planter downforce settings, biological products, manure applications, cover crops, and various crop protection products.
“Field scouting was done by KC Crop Consulting, LLC and crop protection was taken care of by working with Helena Agri Enterprises, LLC. Central Valley Ag and the Advanced Cropping Systems research team had a multitude of research trials to find the best products for their producers,” he said. “Throughout the summer, our ag intern, Katelyn Hall, also scouted crops and helped pull soil and tissue samples evaluating nutrient uptake by crops and its effect on plant growth.”
Thomas also worked with ag instructors over the summer months to keep up on their own research plots.
This included Instructor Sarah Sellin’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education project of growing barley and building organic matter; Instructor Robert Noonan’s National Corn Growers Association field project in which cover crops were planted in a standing corn crop six weeks before harvest to have more growth going into the winter months; Chance Lambrecht’s work on recording data for a downforce trial; and Chris Burbach’s undertaking on data collection on the farm.
In addition, Dan Radenz, college farm operations specialist, and Curt Wilken, assistant farm production overseer, worked over the summer to maintain the farm ground, keep the pivots operational and feed the livestock.