2007 Programs and Operations
Major Research Area Thrusts and Trends and Project Growth
Research at the Bradford Research & Extension Center is multi-disciplinary and encompasses both applied and basic research. Currently Outreach and Extension Programs use greater than 60% of the land that is suitable for research plot work. These programs include weed science, soil fertility, forage and row crop production, plant protection, and wildlife. Funding of these programs is primarily through industry and commodity groups. The information gathered from this research is used in extension programs and clinics (here and elsewhere) and is published in both extension bulletins and in refereed scientific journals. MU and USDA scientist that do basic research use approximately 10% of the available plot area in areas of crop production, soil chemistry, and physiology. These programs are funded by Federal and State grants and private industry. Disciplines include plant physiology/biochemistry, weed science, entomology, plant pathology, agriculture engineering, and soil science. The results of these studies are published in peer reviewed scientific journals.
Research at the Bradford Research & Extension Center is multi-disciplinary and encompasses both applied and basic research. Currently Outreach and Extension Programs use greater than 60% of the land that is suitable for research plot work. These programs include weed science, soil fertility, forage and row crop production, plant protection, and wildlife management. Funding of these programs is primarily through industry and commodity groups. Information gathered from this research is used in extension programs and clinics (here and elsewhere) and is published in both extension bulletins and in refereed scientific journals. MU and USDA basic scientists use approximately 10% of the available plot area in areas of crop production, soil chemistry, and physiology. These programs are funded by Federal and State grants and private industry. Disciplines include plant physiology/biochemistry, weed science, entomology, plant pathology, agriculture engineering, and soil science. With the addition of a new Plant Physiologist within the Plant Science Division basic research in drought stress will increase substantially. It is also anticipated that many of the life sciences faculty will begin to incorporate field trials testing their laboratory discoveries. The results of these studies are published in peer reviewed scientific journals.
To help accommodate the growing demand for plot area BREC has leased 280 acres that was purchased by the Missouri Soybean Association. One hundred and eighty acres are across the road from our south border and the other 100 acres adjoins BREC on the north side. Several projects including Soybean Breeding, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Soil Fertility and Weed Science utilize this land.
Plant Genetics and Breeding consisting of both MU and USDA scientists use approximately 30% of the total plot area. The program areas are in wheat, soybeans, and corn. Funding is through State and Federal programs and from commodity groups. Results from these studies produce new breeding lines and cultivars of soybeans and wheat and the release of corn germplasms that carry specific specialty traits such as seed quality, pathogen resistance or stalk strength. Many of these programs partner with campus based laboratories testing plant responses in the field. Most of the genetics and breeding research is on rotation blocks that provide uniform drainage and adequate plot size to meet the experimental demands. An important resource at BREC is the ability to irrigate nearly every plot. This makes genetic and breeding research attractive to do at BREC since often the genetic material planted is irreplaceable.
The remainder of the available research plots is used by horticulture and native plant research and demonstration areas. Recently, there has been an increase in research in Wildlife and Conservation in marginal areas not traditionally used by researchers. These areas are used for demonstrations at field days, clinics and workshops.
Areas of Project Growth
Research emphasis continues to change as agriculture has changed. For example, the Weed Science program has shifted much of its focus on herbicide resistance and controlling invasive species rather than evaluating new herbicides. This is a result of how the industry has changed during the past 10 years. There is more interdisciplinary research between Agronomists, Entomologists and Plant Pathologists as new pests such as Asian Rust and Soybean Aphids threaten to become problems in Missouri. Faculty from the School of Natural Resources has also expressed more interest in combining agriculture, wildlife and conservation. These studies are long over due and we hope that BREC can be a leader in the state and the nation. These interests have expanded our partners to include the Missouri Department of Conservation and the USDA-NRCS.
The corn genetics group is in a position to expand its presence at BREC. This program consists of USDA-ARS, MU Plant Science Division, and Biological Sciences scientists who spread themselves over three locations. It is their desire to consolidate all of their operations at one location. They feel that this consolidation will give them the resources needed to attract national and international attention. BREC is moving toward helping them fulfill this mission. Because of the plant genetics programs and others there has been an increase in the number of trials that use transgenic plants and organisms that have been modified through biotechnology. Much of the work that is currently performed on campus in the lab and greenhouse is beginning to be moved to the field for evaluation under non-artificial environmental conditions. Since BREC is close to campus and has irrigation available it is attractive for the study of transgenic plants. Although the use of genetically altered plants and organisms will not require a great deal of plot area there are several factors to consider such as: drainage into and out of (especially with micro-organisms), isolation, and security. Currently MU and USDA-ARS faculty have been cooperating with one another in planting and caring for these transgenics.
Land acquisitions in 2004 of 90 acres and then in 2006 of an additional 190 acres for plots has helped BREC meet the growing needs of the faculty. In fact, the additional land has opened up some new opportunities for large scale projects. These larger blocks of land could someday be used for an isolated area of transgenic research or used for large scale Precision Ag.
Outreach and Extension Programs-Continuing
Each year since 1994 BREC has hosted the annual Crop Injury and Diagnostic Clinic (CIDC). This clinic is held during the last full week of July and consists of two two-day clinics. Typically each clinic attracts 70-80 participants from industry and the University where they can earn CEU credits. After several years of continued growth attendance has leveled off at around 70 for each clinic. Each clinic has 10 or more sessions that are taught primarily by Outreach and Extension personnel. However, the clinic has featured researchers in their field of expertise including Biotechnology and faculty from other universities where MU may lack expertise. Information gathered by participants at the CIDC is passed on to their clients, which may number in the hundreds or even thousands. We feel that this is the best method of getting information gathered at this location and others out to where it is needed.
BREC is also the host of several tours and workshops that are put on by Outreach and Extension personnel. Each July, the Weed Science Program hosts an annual Weed/IPM Field Day that was attended by 120 Industry Reps and Outreach and Extension Regional Specialists in 2007. After several years of dwindling attendance the Weed/IPM Field Day has seen an increase in attendance each of the past three years. At the Weed/IPM Field Day Weed Scientists, Entomologists, Plant Pathologists, and their graduate students share their research results in a formal tour in the morning and then are invited back to the plots for extended information. At BREC a permanent waste water demonstration is setup under the direction of Dr. Randy Miles from the School of Natural Resources. Both he and personnel from the Department of Health teach installer and inspector classes to people from all across the state.
BREC also has several educational plots such as the Weed Garden, Native Plant Garden, Rose Garden, and Gene Zoo which are used for teaching at various workshops and clinics. In 2007, BREC added a Biofuel Garden to demonstrate different crops that are used for ethanol and biodiesel. In order to expand our audience to non-traditional clients, BREC has hosted several new field days including the Native Plant Field Day, Tomato Festival, and Neighbor Field Day over the past two years. In 2007, BREC again hosted the first ever “Integrating Bobwhite Quail Management in a Modern Agriculture Setting” Field Day that drew many from throughout the state. It is hoped that these non-traditional field days expand our traditional audience. Each year the number of schools that come out to learn where their food comes from and how science fits into agriculture and their everyday life increases. We have also had several day cares come out in the fall to pick a pumpkin and go on a wagon ride. For many this is there only experience with agriculture.
Traditionally, most of our Outreach and Extension at BREC was focused on grain and forage crops. This will continue with over 90% of our effort being dedicated to research with grain and forage crops. However, we will continue to expand our target audience to include land and home owners through our special field days, workshops, and clinics. In 2007 we began to sell produce grown from Horticulture research and demonstrations to Campus Dining. These funds will then be used to fund undergraduate research programs in Horticulture. I expect that these types of programs will continue to grow. We have also begun planning with the Sustainable Agriculture program to develop student internships that put into practice many of the ideas that they have learned. We have an interest in aquaculture have begun a and cooperation with MU Fisheries and Lincoln University.
With the higher fuel costs there is a major push across the nation for renewable energy and Bradford is poised to be the center for education and research. We plan to implement alternative energy strategies including wind, solar, and biomass that can be used for education. Also, BREC’s proximity to campus should be an advantage to combining an interdisciplinary approach to the renewable fuels.