The agricultural areas of Newe Ya’ar Research Center are located in the western part of the Israel Valley, an area characterized by heavy soil and an average of 570 mm of precipitation per annum. In Newe Ya’ar we use only secondary quality reclaimed water (not tertiary quality which are higher quality), and therefore field crops intended for the food industry cannot be grown. It is therefore determined that the crop cycle will consist of the following crops approved by the Ministry of Health for crops irrigated with secondary quality reclaimed water: Corn for forage, Chickpea and Sunflower for grains. In addition, non-irrigated winter crops will be incorporated into the crop cycle – wheat forage / wheat for grains and vicia mixed with clover for hay. These crops are characteristic of the segmental crop cycle in our region and therefore relevant to incorporate them into the crop cycle of the model farm
The 350-acre area designated for field crops in the Model Farm is divided into 3 subdivisions:
1. Plot for examining and demonstrating precision agriculture approaches with differential and spatial application. This 100 acre plot is divided into 20 plots of 3-6 acre. This division will enable a variety of inputs such as fertilizer and water to be applied differentially based on interface areas that will be defined after analyzing information that will be produced in a variety of close and remote sensing tools and technologies.
2. Plot for examining base treatments that compare organic matter supplements at different treatment levels with different soil processing methods. This 200-acre plot is divided into 20 acres of 8.4 acres with margins around each plot. The four treatments to be tested are: Organic addition of semi-stabilized cow manure versus Organic addition of compost, Minimum tillage approach versus zero tillage approach with winter cover plants. Each of the treatments will have 5 repetitions in a randomized block trial structure.
3. Plot to examine new 40-acre forage crops. In this section, we examine and present a variety of crops that may be incorporated into the crop cycle and serve as new forage crops. Among other crops to be examined are moringa, sesame seeds, scabious and quinoa. Also, in this section, strain tests in common commercial crops in our area will be conducted.
In addition, the field crop area on its eastern side is bordered by Nahalal River. Between the experimental plots and the stream channel, a 15-20 meter-wide buffer strip was defined that would allow for agroecological conceptions that address the interface points between agricultural areas and ecosystems.