Carrington Research Extension Center


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Did You Know?


Did you know we have a “sub-station” near Oakes?  The Oakes Irrigation Research Site is located about 4.5 miles south of Oakes, along Highway 1.  Established in 1970, the 20-acre site has now doubled in size following the gift of an additional 20 acres from local farmer, Robert Titus, in 2016.

Robert and Elsie Titus partnered with NDSU at the inception of the Oakes Irrigation Research Site, and have continued to lease land to NDSU for research plots for 46 years!  In 2016, the couple deeded the original 20 acres and another 20 adjacent acres to the NDSU Development Foundation in a life estate, and the facility has been renamed in their honor as the Robert Titus Research Farm. 

Arial view of Oakes Irrigation Research Site.

After this generous expansion, work began almost immediately on installing a horizontal well to supply water for a new linear irrigation system. The linear irrigation run is controlled through a tablet or smart phone, and features a variable velocity pump that allows regulation of water pressure, even when sections of the line are programmed off.

The doubling of research capacity that began in 2016 allowed us to expand our research efforts on corn and soybean, the two primary crops historically investigated at the site. However, the Oakes Irrigation Research Site also conducts substantial research with potatoes, dry beans and onion, all crops that respond well to supplemental water to reach their full potential. Due to the capabilities of the irrigation infrastructure at the site, a number of research projects are implemented to address crop production challenges that may primarily provide benefit to farmers in other parts of North Dakota. The importance of this research site is recognized by both NDSU researchers and agricultural constituencies since the doubling of acreage at the site is already being fully utilized.


Irrigation System at Oakes Irrigation Research Site.

North Dakota State University faculty and staff from the departments of Plant Sciences, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Plant Pathology, Soil Science and others across the Agricultural Experiment Station participate in conducting experiments at the site. These experiments are conducted with the assistance from the three full-time on-site staff who also conduct their own research projects and maintain the site.  Kelly Cooper is our research agronomist, assisted by research specialist, Leonard Besemann and research technician, Heidi Eslinger.

(L-R) Kelly Cooper, Robert Titus, Leonard Besemann, and Heidi Eslinger

The budget to operate the site is completely dependent upon grant funding. The site is a cooperative project between NDSU and the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, with GDCD providing the majority of the financial support and NDSU scientists providing the balance through their grantsmanship.

The NDSU Oakes Irrigation Research Site Robert Titus Research Farm recently completed their annual Field Day, where participants had the opportunity to view all the field trials along with conversations focused around research developments in white mold (sclerotinia stem rot), dicamba issues, potato breeding, and drone usage. 

Blaine Schatz

CREC Director and Research Agronomist

Kelly Cooper

Oakes Research Agronomist

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