2004 Research Highlights

The Carrington Research Extension Center conducts research and educational programs to enhance the productivity, competitiveness, and diversity of agriculture in central North Dakota. The research effort focuses on traditional crop variety evaluation, crop production and management, alternative crop development, cropping systems, irrigation, integration of crop and livestock production, beef cattle feeding, feedlot management, intensive cow/calf production, foundation seedstocks production, and the development of new agricultural enterprises. The central location of the Carrington Center is significant in that the research program is able to address research needs that represent a significant part of agriculture in North Dakota.

This report highlights a portion of the departmentsí contributions to research and extension. Following are a few examples of our significant impacts and contributions over the past year.

Carrington Research contributes to release of Sclerotinia-resistant sunflower lines
The USDA ARS Sunflower Unit has recently released three Sclerotinia resistant germplasm lines. In testing at misted nursery trials in three successive seasons, the three lines showed an average head rot incidence of 16, 33, and 8 percent compared to 58 percent for four commercial cultivars used for comparison. Misting nurseries originated at the Carrington Research Extension Center in 2001. It will take several years and multiple generations of crossing into existing hybrids before private seed companies will be able to release finished hybrids with the resistant traits. (ref: from National Sunflower Association Sunflower Week in Review, May 18, 2004)

In 2004 the Carrington RECís sunflower germplasm evaluation for susceptibility to Sclerotinia head rot under the misting system again resulted in good disease pressure and a wide range of disease scores. This work was expanded to include evaluations of fungicides, application strategies, and biological control agents.

Onion maturity impacted
Crop quality is an important attribute for this expanding high-value crop industry in North Dakota. Onion maturity is commonly evaluated by determining the percentage of tops down. Onion tops typically fall over after the last leaf has fully developed and the neck softens. In 2004, only five out of the 30 hybrids tested at the CREC reached plant maturity. Across the state, the cool temperatures and frost damage limited plant maturation and reduced onion quality. Further emphasis is needed to investigate earlier onion hybrid maturity and production systems that enhance onion plant development.

Cool-season pulse germplasm development
The CREC was instrumental in coordinating a research partnership with the USDA cool-season pulse breeding program at Washington State University. This collaboration will result in specific Research Extension Center agronomists identifying selections from early generation material that will result in improved field pea, lentil and chickpea varieties of the future. Previously, new varieties developed by the only U.S. public cool-season pulse breeding program were only evaluated in the North Dakota environment at advanced stages of testing.

Variable moisture impacts crop maturity
Limited amounts of supplemental water from irrigation significantly delayed crop development during a season with below average temperatures. In CREC performance tests, only 25% of the soybean varieties reached physiological maturity in the irrigated test compared to 100% in the dryland test. Average harvest moisture for corn hybrids grown in the dryland trial was 24.6% while the average corn hybrid under irrigation had 37% seed moisture. Supplemental water will tend to cause a minor delay in crop development, however, the magnitude of delays in 2004 has not been previously observed. The response in crop development associated with differing amounts of water were likely confounded by minor plant stress due to limited rainfall recorded during late July through August.

Unique opportunity to evaluate corn hybrids
The 2004 growing season provided a different opportunity to compare hybrid maturity ratings to actual corn performance. Seasonal total for corn GDDs was only 82% of average and none of the 84 hybrids in the dryland trial reached physiological maturity. In seasons with normal heat unit accumulations the impact of different hybrid maturities is less evident. We identified significant differences among corn hybrids within a specific relative maturity rating when performance as measured by harvest moisture, test weight, and grain yield were assessed. The experience from this season points to the need to select hybrids designed for appropriate maturity zones and to be certain that a hybridís maturity correlates to that maturity zone.

Host of International Field Tour
The Carrington Center hosted the 16th International Sunflower Conferenceís Post Conference Field Tour. This gathering of sunflower scientists and industry representatives occurs every four years. CREC agronomists working with USDA and other NDSU faculty utilized the CRECís sunflower research plantings to discuss the latest in sunflower germplasm, disease management, weed control, and other issues important to the industry. The field tour was attended by more the 250 people representing 19 countries. Recent conferences were held in France, China, Italy, and Australia. The last time the United States hosted the event was 1978.

Legume nitrogen nutrition emphasized
Annual grain legumes are becoming a more important part of crop rotations across the region. The input cost savings due to reduced nitrogen fertilizer needs are one reason for this acreage expansion. These legumes can assimilate some of their N requirements through symbiotic N2 fixation. The Carrington Center has increased research efforts to optimize plant nitrogen nutrition with a goal toward optimizing soybean, field pea, and dry edible bean performance. These efforts include extensive evaluation of inoculant products, commercial nitrogen fertilizers, and the combination of inoculants and fertilizer. As an example of our results, 21 of the 22 products evaluated in the 2004 field pea inoculant evaluation resulted in yield increases of between 10% and 25% over the uninoculated control.

Pulse grains are valuable in starter calf rations
Grain legumes (field peas, chickpeas, and lentils) fed to newly weaned calves improved feed intake, gain, and feed efficiency with positive carryover effects lasting nearly two months into the subsequent feeding period. Calf gains averaged 0.38 pounds more per day with pulse grains included in the diet. These alternative grain legumes can be valuable parts of beef cattle rations either as a primary outlet or when using cull product. Cattlemen can grow these nutrient dense grain legumes in sustainable crop rotations with cereal grains.

Feedlot performance differs among herd source
Cattle producers that participated in the Dakota Feeder Calf program at Carrington continue to learn more about the carcass value of their calves. Feeding performance was very competitive with average per head net profit excluding interest being $89.01 for 2003-2004. Wide variations were observed among consignment groups of cattle. Average daily gain ranged from 2.78 to 3.89 pounds, marbling score ranged from 296 (Standard) to 603 (High Choice) and profit per head ranged from $3.42 to $279.69 .

Natural beef feeding programs
Trials are exploring the differences in finishing cattle with conventional management vs. a more non-conventional approach where yeast and enzyme products replace ionophores and antibiotics. Feeding calves using these natural products can result in equal animal performance and carcass quality compared to conventional feedlot diets. Good feedbunk management and natural feed additives supported similar performance on the same grain levels. Increasing forage and decreasing grain in the natural diets lengthened the time on feed but produced equal carcass quality at slightly elevated cost of gain.

Weed Management in Clearfield Sunflower Summary of Six-year Soybean Planting Technology Trial
Annual Forages for Hay and Grazing - Two Crops in One Season - A Demonstration Project HRS Wheat Variety Response to Foliar Fungicide
Small Grain and Oilseed Crop Field Survesy in South-Central North Dakota Outreach Summary: Crop Management Field Tours and Training Sessions
Effect of Pulse Grains on Performance of Newly Weaned Steer Calves Effects of Bedding on Winter Performance of Feedlot Cattle and Nutrient Conservation in Composted Manure
Effect of Processing Flax in Feedlot Diets on Beef Heifer Performance, Carcass Composition, and Trained Sensory Panel Evaluations Evaluation of Performance and Carcass Quality of Finishing Beef with Natural Feeding Practices in North Dakota
A Comparison of the High Profit Beef Cow Herds to the Total Herd Group Discovering Value in North Dakota Calves: The Dakota Feeder Calf Show Feedout Project 2003-04
NDSU Extension's Livestock Waste Management Program - Where Are We Headed and How Are We Going to Get There Sheyenne Valley Marketing - Cattlemen's Effort to Market Value in North Dakota Calves
A Two-Year Report Comparing Herbicide-Tolerant and Non-herbicide-Tolerant Soybeans in East Central North Dakota The Benefits of Trees in Communities
Weather Summary Agronomic Research Trials
Research Data Applied to the Field Interpreting Statistical Analysis


NDSU Vice President,
Dean and Director for Agricultural Affairs
NDSU Extension Service ND Agricultural
Experiment Station
NDSU College of Agriculture NDSU College of Human Development and Education