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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.