2005 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 department’s contributions to research and extension. Following are a few examples of our significant impacts and contributions over the past year.

Foundation seedstocks program delivers
NDSU has a renowned plant breeding program and the NDSU Foundation Seedstocks program has responsibility for propagating and distributing foundation seedstocks. The CREC, a part of the NDSU Foundation Seedstocks program, distributed approximately 26,000 bushels of foundation grade seed during the spring of 2005. This seed was distributed to pedigreed seed producers all across North Dakota along with various distributions into neighboring states. Foundation grade seed is early generation seed that must meet very stringent purity standards. All of the foundation grade seed that is distributed from the CREC is planted, managed, harvested, and conditioned by Center staff. There were seven crops and 26 cultivars represented among the 26,000 bushels distributed to seed growers.

Soybean rotation trials
Two soybean rotation trials are being conducted at Carrington and Wishek to compare the impact on seed yield and quality with continuously-grown soybean to a soybean-spring wheat rotation. At Carrington, soybean continuously grown for four years yielded over 20 percent less compared to soybean grown on the previous year’s wheat ground. The yield loss was primarily due to substantially higher root disease (greater than 50 percent) compared to the soybean yield on wheat ground.

Onion hybrid performance
The objective of the trial was to compare onion hybrids and primed vs. unprimed seed. Differences in hybrid tolerance to Buctril and Goal were observed. Teton exhibited the most herbicide tolerance and had the highest yield. Highlander was the least tolerant, resulting in early maturity and low yields. Yields ranged from 116 to 687 cwt/acre. The potential benefits of seed priming are faster and more uniform germination, improved germination under a broad temperature range, reduced seeding rates, earlier maturity, and higher yields. Primed and unprimed seed lots were submitted for four hybrids. A faster and more uniform emergence was observed with primed seed, but it did not affect maturity date. Priming the seed increased yield and bulb size in two of the hybrids.

Unbiased assessment of private seed company cultivars
The CREC continues to be a major source of un-biased information for growers as they deliberate on the important decision of crop cultivar selection. The many private seed companies that supply corn, soybean, sunflower, canola, and dry pea hybrids/varieties present numerous choices for growers. The central location and environment representative of the CREC and its off-station research sites make the results of our crop cultivar performance tests valuable to growers across a broad region. In 2005, the CREC provided cultivar comparisons of 90 corn hybrids, 181 soybean varieties, 167 sunflower hybrids, 65 canola hybrids/varieties, and 60 dry pea varieties.

Sclerotinia program important to national effort
The CREC’s research program to address the serious crop losses due to the disease sclerotinia continues to grow. Work currently encompasses sunflower germplasm screening (USDA-ARS Fargo, Agriculture and Agrifoods Canada - Morden, South Dakota State University - Brookings, and private seed companies), sunflower fungicide and biological control agent evaluation (all collaborators in germplasm screening in addition to private industry), canola germplasm screening (University of Minnesota and private seed companies), canola fungicide screening (private companies), dry bean germplasm screening (NDSU, Colorado State University, University of Idaho, National White Mold Nursery), field pea germplasm screening (USDA-ARS Pullman, Washington), and field pea fungicide evaluation (NDSU Langdon REC).

Research and Extension programs supporting soybean production
The Carrington Center has been a leading NDSU Research Extension Center for providing research and educational programs to support the dramatic growth in soybean acres in North Dakota. Examples of soybean research trials include variety performance (12 regional conventional and Roundup Ready trials), plant establishment (e.g. planting rates, dates, row spacing, starter fertilizer, and seed quality), plant nutrition (e.g. seed inoculation and nitrogen management), tillage systems, crop rotation, and land rolling. Educational sessions conducted to provide farmers and crop advisers with soybean production recommendations have included annual winter meetings and summer field tours (e.g. annual Field Days and Row Crop tour).

Effect of early planting on canola, field pea, and hard red spring wheat
In response to the unseasonably warm spring, an experiment was conducted to evaluate earlier than normal planting dates for canola, field pea, and hard red spring wheat (HRSW). Weekly planting was initiated April 8 and ended May 8. Very early planting resulted in higher HRSW yields, reduced scab severity, and lower DON levels. Field pea yield was not improved with very early planting. Canola yield tended to increase with earlier planting. However, canola suffered higher stand losses due to hard frosts than the other crops.

Effect of phosphorus placement, seeding rate, and row spacing on canola
Projects were initiated at the Carrington Research Extension Center to evaluate the effectiveness of mid-row banding phosphorus fertilizer between every seed row and the yield response of canola planted in wider rows. Under the conditions of these trials, phosphate fertilizer placement had no effect on canola yield, allowing flexibility in reducing passes over the field. Current phosphorus recommendations seem appropriate. Yields increased as the row spacing decreased from 14 to 7 inches with a smaller plant type (Hyola 357 Magnum). With a larger plant type (Invigor 4870), yields were similar with 7- or 14-inch row spacing. However, only one variety of each plant type was evaluated, so generalizations to other varieties cannot be made. Yields for both hybrids increased 12% as the seeding rate increased from 7 to 14 live seeds/ft2.

High-value crop mentoring program
The new grower program will be used as a platform for new growers to gain hands-on commercial vegetable production experience. With NDSU vegetable staff advisors, pooled specialized equipment and purchases, and secure local processing market contracts, the program will minimize start-up risks and capital until such time that the new growers could start their own production. The program is designed to help farmers learn production practices for specific processing markets which require consistent production practices and a uniform raw product for efficient processing.

Immature corn is a valuable feed
High-moisture immature corn from the 2004 cropping season proved to be as valuable as dry corn for feeding North Dakota grown beef steers to market weight. No drying costs were incurred as corn was harvested, ground, packed, and fed at 25 to 45% moisture. Animal performance was equal to dry, heavy corn in every aspect including carcass quality. Only a small portion of the corn crop is fed in the state, resulting in significant losses during years of early frost or when corn does not mature.

Barley and ethanol by-products fit well together for feedlot cattle
Feedlot cattle gained faster with wet and/or dry distillers grains in barley-based rations compared to a rumen-degradable protein source. Barley is often the lowest cost feed grain. More ethanol plants will increase the supply of distillers grains in the region. The growing feedlot industry can capitalize on the safe and low-cost combination of these two versatile feeds to background and finish more cattle in North Dakota.

Bedding materials affect animal performance
Feedlot cattle should be provided bedding during the winter to reduce cold stress. Bedding has been proven to increase gain, carcass quality, and net profit by up to $80/head. However, not all bedding is created equal. Small grain straw (wheat, oats, or barley) supports the best animal performance, followed by soybean residue. Corn stover was not much better than no bedding. Besides increased animal comfort, bedding sequesters three times more nitrogen in the manure pack before and after composting. Fertilizing with manure will reduce off-farm fertilizer purchases and add organic matter and other nutrients to the soil, such as phosphorus and potassium.

Field peas require processing for optimum animal performance
This new and highly palatable grain legume should be processed by dry rolling when fed in creep feed, to feedlot cattle, and to beef cows. Feeding whole peas or finely ground peas resulted in inferior animal performance. The protein and energy in field peas is highly digestible and results in increased intake and gain compared to most other feed ingredients in beef cattle diets.

Eastern North Dakota Feedout
Cattle producers participating in the Eastern North Dakota Feedout discovered their calf’s post weaning value. Average daily weight gain, final weight, and carcass value influence calf value. Individual calf feedlot average daily gain varied from 3.18 to 4.2 pounds per day, final weight ranged from 1046 to 1467 pounds, and carcass value ranged from $816.70 to $1264.95.

Soybean processing produces valuable co-product feed
Newly-weaned beef calves need a safe and highly-digestible fiber to transition to higher energy feedlot diets. Soyhulls can be fed at up to 30% of the diet without prejudice, but at 15% of the ration, gains were superior to no soyhulls in a corn-based receiving ration.

Dakota Feeder Calf Feedout
Feeding cattle to finish in the Dakota Feeder Calf Feedout returned an additional $94.06 per head after feeding expenses, excluding interest, were deducted. Genetic variation among groups of cattle led to a range in profit from $242.33 to ($-9.66). Cattle can be profitably fed to finish in North Dakota.

Moldy corn surveillance
Late maturing corn exhibited substantial mold growth. Certain molds can produce toxins that are deleterious to cattle growth. Seventeen corn grain samples from across north central North Dakota identified white, grey, pink, and black molds. However, toxins were detected in only seven samples – six samples contained only vomitoxin (at concentrations safe for feeding to beef cattle) and one sample showed vomitoxin, T-2 toxin, and HT-2 toxin (at concentrations below USDA thresholds considered safe for cattle). Testing for toxins in moldy feeds can provide safety assurance for feeding moldy grains to cattle.

Effect of Phosphorus Placement, Seeding Rate, and Row Spacing on Canola Effect of Early Planting on Canola, Field Pea, and Hard Red Spring Wheat
HRS Wheat Variety Response to N Application Timing and Seeding Rate Canola Harvest Management
HRS Wheat Variety Response to Foliar Fungicide Double Cropping: Spring Wheat Followed by a Legume
NPSAS Farmer-Breeder Club Preemergence Weed Control in Onion
Effect of Spray Volume and Herbicide Rate on Early Postemergence Weed Control in Onion A Review of Soybean Production Costs, Yields and Returns
Small Grain and Oilseed Crop Field Surveys in South-Central North Dakota Effects of Processing Field Peas on Performance and Carcass Characteristics of Feedlot Heifers
Effects of Immature High-moisture Corn vs. Dry-rolled Corn in Feedlot Diets Soybean Hulls in Receiving Diets: The Value of Digestible Fiber
Effects of Bedding Material on Performance and Carcass Traits of Steers Fed During the Winter in North Dakota Discovering Value in North Dakota Calves; The Dakota Feeder Calf Show Feedout Project, 2004-2005
Costs and Returns for Cow-Calf Producers Weather Summary
Agronomic Research Trials  


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