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Pulse Crop Conference set for 2 locationsPulse Crop Conference set for 2 locations

Nebraska Notebook: New signage commemorates world’s oldest irrigated continuous corn research plot near Scottsbluff.

Curt Arens

October 6, 2023

2 Min Read
4 men standing around informative sign about Knorr-Holden corn research plot
RESEARCH PLOT SIGN UNVEILING: The new signage explaining the significance of the historic Knorr-Holden corn research plot near Scottsbluff, Neb., was officially unveiled on Aug. 23 by Dave Ostdiek (left), retired UNL PREEC communications specialist; Bijesh Maharjan, UNL associate professor at PREEC and current plot supervisor; Richard Bischoff, UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources associate vice chancellor; and Ron Yoder, UNL IANR senior associate vice chancellor.Courtesy of UNL PREEC

Field peas, chickpeas, black-eyed peas and other pulse crops are being featured at this year’s Nebraska Pulse Crop Conference, set for Nov. 20 at the Bridgeport Prairie Winds Event Center in Bridgeport, Neb., with a second session planned for the following day, Nov. 21 at Younes Conference Center in Kearney, with both workshops beginning at 9 a.m. in their respective time zones.

These free events include morning sessions on agronomy and breeding of peas, soil nutrient management and potential diseases. In the afternoon, sessions will tackle nutrition and quality for human food, trade, crop insurance issues and policy, along with talks by seed and food industry representatives. Registration is required to attend, so call the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center (PREEC) at 308-632-1230 for more information, or register online at unlcorexmuw.qualtrics.com/jfe/form.

Recognizing Knorr-Holden study plots

The Knorr-Holden Plot, developed in 1912 on an unclaimed quarter-section of land north of Scottsbluff, Neb., is most likely the oldest irrigated continuous corn research field in the world. Fritz Knorr, superintendent of the Scottsbluff Experiment Substation at the time, began a series of irrigated and dryland cropping rotation experiments on that plot. Five years later, James Holden, the substation’s second superintendent, continued the rotation field studies, establishing further continuity of the historic corn plot. In 1941, all but the irrigated corn plots were discontinued.

This important study plot was honored this August with new signage that reminds visitors of the rich legacy of corn research that was established and has been continued on this same piece of land, now administered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center.

More than 30 scientists and graduate students have worked on these corn plots and published important research data over the past century. The land, which joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, is currently supervised by Bijesh Maharjan, UNL associate professor at PREEC. He and Dave Ostdiek, a retired UNL PREEC communications specialist, led the charge for the new signage that recognizes the long research legacy of this particular piece of land in Nebraska’s Panhandle.

Learn more at farmprogress.com/management/knorr-holden-plot.


About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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