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McNay Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm

LMap of McNay Research and Demonstration Farm located in Lucas County, Iowaocation

Lucas County


Go south 4 miles on Highway 65 from the intersection of highways 65 and 34, then 2.5 miles east on a gravel road and turn north .25 mile. The headquarters is on the east side of the road.

McNay Research Farm 
45249 170th Avenue 
Chariton, IA 50049

(641) 766-6465

Map view of McNay Research and Demonstration Farm


1,968 acres


Iowa State University


A Tractor Plowing the Fields The farm was established by a donation of 480 acres in 1956 by Harry McNay and his sister, Winnie. Additional land acquisitions allowed researchers to broaden the scope of the research conducted.



What was once a plain has eroded to a series of irregular upland flats, flanked by gentle to steep slopes. The upland flats constitute about 20 percent of the land. Predominant soils are:

level to sloping, very fine texture, poor drainage, occur primarily on upland flats.

2-7 percent slope, occur on upland slopes, fine texture.

Research and Demonstration

Cattle in the tall Prairie GrassCattle. The 400-cow purebred Angus herd has been selected since 1996 for increased marbling and is a valuable resource for the collection of phenotypic data for use in both short-term and long-term studies. This herd has served as the discovery platform to identify markers associated with not only growth and meat quality, but also animal disposition, resistance to respiratory and pinkeye infection, response to vaccination and fatty acid and mineral content of meat. Some outstanding offspring from this herd include a bull that is third in the American Angus Association active sire list for marbling and a significant number of Pathfinder cows, recognized by the association as elite individuals.

Forage. Researchers study yield and persistence of grasses, fertilizer requirements for hay and silage production, grazing management, intensive rotational grazing systems, pasture improvement and cool- and warm-season grass grazing systems. Researchers also conduct alfalfa variety trials and study methods for baling, binding and storing large round hay bales, year-round grazing system and stock-piled grazing.

Crops. Researchers evaluate reduced-tillage and reduced-chemical systems for controlling weeds and insects in corn and soybeans. Researchers also are evaluating systems of biomass production, measuring the energy values of crops for combustion and ethanol production. Tillage systems, strip-cropping and corn-breeding evaluation plots also are located on the farm.


The farm includes a multiple-pen cattle-feeding unit and an automated cattle-feeding unit capable of handling several large groups of beef cattle. Grazing paddocks support forage systems and predator control studies. The farm also has facilities for developing bulls and housing mature breeding bulls, as well as facilities for breeding and calving.

Farm Reports

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