2006 Bradford Research & Extension Center Report
The Bradford Research & Extension Center provides land, equipment and facilities for research at the plant/soil/environment interface through a field laboratory setting close to the MU campus. It assists MU and USDA scientists and extension personnel by providing a central place to stage, carry out and process field research done both at this location and throughout the state.
Campus classroom teaching is supported by providing field laboratory needs for graduate students as well as educating undergraduates through work and field trip experiences.
Extension, Service and International Ag efforts are strengthened by providing special tours and training sessions to meet the needs of a variety of audiences ranging from Missouri to international in scope.
The Bradford Research & Extension Center (BREC) is one of the seven research centers across the state of Missouri and is part of the Missouri Agriculture Experiment Station which was established in 1888 as part of the national land-grant university system. Since BREC is located only 11 miles from the main University of Missouri campus it is an important research facility for many faculty in Agronomy, Soils, Plant Pathology, Horticulture, and Entomology within the Division of Plant Sciences and the School of Natural Resources. Each year 34 MU and USDA-ARS faculty members in the various disciplines establish over 25,000 plots. Most of these plots are the standard 10' x 25' whereas others maybe a single plant as often used in genetics or physiology.
Faculty turnover often changes the type of research that is done at BREC. During the previous five years more horticultural research had been initiated in both the field and in hoop houses. However, that research will be severely reduced due to the loss of a Faculty member. On the other hand BREC has increased its research and teaching opportunities through the School of Natural Resources in Wildlife management with an emphasis on Bobwhite Quail Management. Native Plants also continue to be a source of research and education as BREC cooperates with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the USDA-ARS. What changes are in store for BREC in the future are not totally known but an emphasis on renewable energy sources is likely topic of interest.
BREC has continued to expand its audience within the community by stressing field days and workshops that deal directly with the homeowner and landowner. For example, BREC has hosted a Tomato Festival the last two years and has opened its doors to thousands of youth for special field days through Partners In Education and the FFA Field Day. In the ever changing world of research we are starting to see a change in the type of research at BREC with more emphasis on genetics and pest management. The main emphasis of the research at BREC is:
- 60% Applied-research that can be used directly by the farmer. This includes Crop Production, Weed and Other Pest Control, Forage Production, Horticulture and Soil Fertility.
- 30% Genetics and Breeding-development of new varieties and germplasms of soybean, corn, and wheat with emphasis on increased quality, yield, and nutrition.
- 10% Basic-the backbone of new discoveries in agriculture although several years away from actual farm use. Examples include Plant Physiology/Genomics, and Molecular Biology.
The facilities at BREC are also used by the various projects as a staging area for research across the state. It is estimated that there are over 100,000 miles traveled from BREC to remote locations across the state. In order to perform research at these remote locations seeds must be counted and weighed, fertilizer packaged, and herbicides mixed. The samples must then be processed here, where they are dried, ground, and/or weighed. BREC's shop is incredibly important in not only in maintaining all of the vehicles, tractors, combines, and equipment that is used all over the state but also in fabricating specialized equipment that is used for research.
BREC is also an important resource for graduate student training and education. Each year up to 40 graduate students have their research at BREC throughout the various disciplines. In some instances their entire research project will be at BREC where at other times only special plants are grown only to be taken back to campus and used for further experiments in the lab, growth chamber, and greenhouse.
An important key in a Graduate Student's education is the opportunity to participate in the field days, tours, and clinics. At BREC Graduate Students receive an opportunity to get in front of an audience and discuss their research in a concise and clear manner. Undergraduate education is also an important role for BREC with students using the facilities in Plant Science, Beginning Soils, Soil Conservation, Soil Physics, Weed Science, Ag Engineering, and Natural Resources. Undergraduate students also receive invaluable experience working for either BREC or specific projects. This work experience is a critical part of their education and many go on to graduate school or become leaders within the Agriculture Industry.
Each year BREC is the host of numerous tours, clinics, and workshops which annually include: Crop Injury and Diagnostic Clinic (CIDC), Hail School, Weed/IPM Day, FFA Field Day, Native Plant Field Day, and Tomato Festival. Some of these events such as the CIDC bring participants in from all over the Midwest and allow them to earn certified crop advisor credits. The participants in turn pass this information to hundreds of clients and who each manage thousands of acres. BREC is also used to train waste-water inspectors, installers, and lending agencies from across the state under the direction of Dr. Randy Miles, the Department of Health and "Septic City". These classes bring in hundreds each year from all across the state.
We are continually trying to expand our scope beyond the typical person directly involved in production agriculture to more non-traditional users such as homeowners and landowners. In 2006 we had the first ever "Integrating Bobwhite Quail Management in a Modern Agriculture Setting" field day that attracted hundreds from all over the state. As someone observed; "those on the quail tour were as passionate about quail as farmers are about soybeans and corn". Opening ourselves to new avenues of research and education are important for BREC to continue to move forward and not only broaden our scope but also our local clientele.
A good foundation in scientific education is critical in today's economy and BREC has been a partner in the annual Life Science Academy where top High School students from all over Missouri come to learn about what is new is science. After spending a week in the lab we show them how this all fits together in the field where food is grown. We have also hosted several hundred local elementary and middle school students to learn about how science and agriculture fit together and are a part of their everyday lives. These events are in addition to our annual FFA Field Day that brought in 1280 students from 40 schools in 2006. These events are vital to educating our young in the importance of where food comes from and showing them science in action.
As you can see the activity at BREC is intense and the scope is large. The staff at BREC take a great deal of pride in the work that they do and strive to make an environment that is conducive to research, education, and training. We also strive to build a sense of camaraderie through our annual picnic (hog roast) and holiday lunch. We invite you to come out and visit for your personal tour.
If you would like to know more about what is going on at BREC please visit our Web Site: http//aes.missouri.edu/bradford.