Carrington Research Extension Center


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Maintenance and Development of Agronomy Research Equipment


A part of the team at the CREC that often is not referenced in our information releases are research technicians who shift their emphasis at this time of year to maintenance, repair and sometimes the creation of new agricultural research equipment. The CREC’s research programs that address crops and soils related issues represent a major part of the overall mission of the department. Each year the agronomy and soils team conducts more than 400 individual field trials to investigate identified needs among the many crops grown in North Dakota. To conduct research on this wide range of crops and different production systems, we rely on many different pieces of equipment. Most research equipment is smaller scale than traditional farm equipment and often is very specialized. We are able to purchase a majority of this equipment from companies that design and manufacture specialized equipment for agricultural researchers worldwide. However, some equipment we use is difficult to source due to the unique need within a research project or the significant cost from a company that supplies research equipment. In those cases, the CREC looks to our team of talented technicians to manufacture the item from scratch or modify a piece of traditional farm equipment to fit our research need.

The lineup of equipment available to our researchers is represented by a number of items that were modified to fulfill research applications. Following are examples of equipment that have been modified or fabricated to meet our needs.

No-till drillNo-Till plot drill, branded openers and seed divider mounted on framework designed and built by CREC technicians. Planter depth control, unit down pressure and residue management were not available from research equipment manufacturers at the time this was built.

Beet lifter
A used 4-row lifter donated by Amity was modified to become a 2-row unit that deposited lifted beets into the mounted hopper with load cells to serve as a weighing system.

Corn chopperA vintage, John Deere No.8, 1-row corn chopper that was used for research at the Center many years ago was further modified to include a hopper and weighing system to collect and weigh chopped silage with improved safety and operation by one person.

This winter our team of technicians will be focused on the regular maintenance and repair of equipment such as the tractors, planters, sprayers and combines. For some of the older harvest equipment and planters they get fairly creative since often the part is no longer available so they improvise! They also have a couple of build projects on their itinerary. Two 1960’s-1970’s era tillage implements are being modified to become seedbed prep/soil finishing tools that fit the scale and soil conditioning needs required within our agronomy research program. We are thankful to have these resourceful staff who put our scientists in the best position to effectively address the needs and priorities of our producers.

Blaine G. Schatz

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