Williston Research Extension Center


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Performance of Field Crop Varieties

The Williston Research Extension Center (WREC) is an 800-acre dryland farm located in northwestern North Dakota near the city of Williston. The station was established in 1907 but relocated to the present site in 1954. Formal cooperation between the WREC and Montana State's Eastern Agricultural Research Center (EARC) at Sidney began in January 1994. A single director runs both centers to coordinate, broaden, and enhance the research programs and educational delivery systems for the MonDak region (northwestern North Dakota and eastern Montana).

The Ernie French Center, named for Ernie French, Superintendent of the WREC (1960-1992), was recently built on the WREC as a regional agricultural technology transfer facility. Local fund raising brought in more than $600,000 to build this agriculture-based regional facility to serve farms, ranches, rural families and agribusiness in the MonDak region.

The WREC's research program deals with increasing the productivity of dryland and irrigated agricultural crops while maintaining or improving the soil resource base in the semi-arid MonDak region. The main dryland crops here are spring wheat and durum, 50% to 70% of which is grown in a crop-fallow rotation. Barley, oats, safflower, annual legumes, and other alternative crops are also grown as livestock feed and cash crops. Major irrigated crops are sugar beets, alfalfa, and spring wheat.

The research effort at the WREC emphasizes crop variety testing as well as evaluation of crop cultural practices, cropping systems, and soil and water conservation practices that will support more intensive cropping practices.

The WREC, in cooperation with the EARC, conducts breeding and variety testing on safflower, hard red winter wheat, durum, and high value/value added crops in an effort to enhance production of these crops in the MonDak region. Foundation seed production for area distribution of new and popular older varieties is also a major part of the WREC's program.

Recently, in response to the growing interest in irrigation, the WREC expanded its research and extension efforts into the area of irrigated high value crops. In 1997, a High Value Crop Area Extension Specialist was added to the staff at the WREC. The WREC and EARC are now in the second year of a cooperative research project evaluating the quality and yield potential of potatoes grown under pivot irrigation under different soil types in the MonDak region.


Jerry Bergman, Director
Williston Research Extension Center
14120 Hwy 2
Williston, ND 58801-8629
voice: (701) 774-4315
fax: (701) 572-0544
E-mail: expwill@ndsuext.nodak.edu