Carrington Research Extension Center


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What do we DO all winter?


North Dakotans like to joke that that we have different seasons here than the rest of the world observes:  “Winter and Road Construction” seems to get the most laughs (or tears?).  Here at the Carrington REC, we don’t think of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter; but Planting, Growing, Harvest, Reporting, Grant-writing, and Meeting.

Usually, Meeting Season happens all around us, and often our most popular meetings are during Growing Season -- we are pleased to see many of you at our annual Field Day in July, and often sell-out our Crop Management Field School in June. 

This winter (“Meeting Season!”), we’ve hosted the Central Dakota Ag Day, Certified Crop Advisers entrance exams, the Advanced Crop Advisers Workshop, the NDSU Feedlot School, Beef Quality Assurance certification, the NDSU Lambing Workshop, and the North Dakota Custom Livestock Manure Haulers Meeting, along with various Extension in-service workshops, and Commercial and Private Pesticide Applicators re-certification sessions.  In addition, our Extension Specialists and research scientists are booked for off-station presentations all over the state, and many choose to attend national conferences to continue their education.

But this week might seem oddly quiet around the station, as staff from all of the eight Research Extension Centers, along with our on-campus colleagues, meet in Fargo for their semi-annual REC Conference.  Although it seems odd to call it “Spring” Conference, this is when we develop and reiterate policies, plan our research collaborations, and coordinate Field Days.

Meanwhile, here at the station…

Our livestock research staff are moving snow and chopping ice to ensure that our cattle herds have access to feed and water, along with daily chores of delivering feed rations, monitoring herd health, and soon, watching for calves.

Our agronomy technicians continue routine and annual maintenance and needed repairs for our equipment.  Often they are designing and building plot-scale equipment that is not available or affordable elsewhere.

Seedstocks staff are hauling grain in and out of our new cleaning facility.  This is the first year that they are sheltered from the elements, using our state-of-the art cleaning facility.  (This edition of Center Points has more information.)

Our greenhouse is nurturing small trials and growing weed samples to help producers identify troublesome weeds at various growth stages.

Sorghum growing in the greenhouse.

In our agronomy lab, trial seed and products have been arriving steadily.  Incoming seeds are logged by variety and intended trial, seed is meticulously packaged in small envelopes, trials are randomized, and then the envelopes are held in temporary storage trays in a very particular order required for efficient seeding.

In our spare time, we have mandated training that needs to be completed.  It’s not our favorite thing to do, but it keeps us aware of policies and makes the Carrington REC a better place to work.

When our research and Extension staff return from Conference, they’ll focus on preparing research protocols and other planting plans.

And we wait for Spring.  (And by that, we mean “Planting Season.”)

Linda Schuster

Administrative Secretary

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