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Farm Progress Reports

Number

RFR-A1693

Farm

Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm

Department

Agronomy

Abstract

Tallgrass prairie once covered more than 85 percent of the total land area of the state of Iowa. Currently less than .01 percent of that original ground cover remains. The remnant prairies largely exist in small blocks along railroad right-of-ways, cemetery edges, and other marginal locations. Prairie is a diverse ecosystem consisting of grasses, legumes, sedges, and non-legume forbs. In addition to the plant communities, prairie provides habitat for a wide range of native birds, mammals, and beneficial insects. In 2016, the dominant land use in Iowa is agriculture with over 75 percent of the total area of the state planted to corn and soybean. STRIPS (Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips) seeks to integrate conservation and rowcrop production and to use science to understand the effects prairie has on the surrounding cropland.

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