Dickinson Research Extension Center


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Horticulture Research


Bedding plants, windbreak tree species and windbreak renovation evaluations, fruits, vegetables and hops (pictured at left) are among the many areas of horticultural research and demonstration being conducted at the Dickinson Research Extension Center.  There are currently ten acres of certified (ICS) organic land at DREC.  

Horticulture Staff: Jon Stika, Eve Stika, Charles Wanner, Tom Gray 

2016 NRCS Plant Materials Report
2015 NRCS Plant  Materials Report
2014 NRCS Plant Materials Report
Summary of DREC hops data

Horticulture Research at DREC 

Dept. of Plant Sciences, NDSU Fargo

Reintegration of Sheep Grazing Into Dryland Organic Farms 
This was a USDA-OREI funding project that is being conducted in collaboration with Montana State University. As part of a larger project, we are assessing the effect of no-till management with sheep grazing on weed management, in comparison to a conventionally tilled system. Data was collected during the summers of 2013 through 2016. Treatment effects on weed management were assessed by quantifying both weed seed bank and realized above-ground weed communities. Peer-reviewed publications from this research is forthcoming, but initial results suggest that no-till with sheep grazing is not an effective weed management approach in this region where short growing seasons prevent establishment of highly productive cover crops.
Tillage and AMF (Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi) Inoculant Impacts on Organic Vegetable Production in the Upper Great Plains 
This is a project funded by The Ceres Trust. Two critical issues in organic vegetable crop production are weed management and soil health (or quality). Typically, organic farmers rely heavily on tillage to manage weeds. However, excessive tillage can damage soil physical properties and the microbiological community. This community (including AMF) provides critical ecosystem functions that enhance nutrient and water uptake by crop plants. Previous research has demonstrated that reductions in tillage enhance diverse communities of AMF and other soil microbiota, while other research has indicated that the use of inoculants can increase crop growth and yield. Few, if any, studies have specifically asked what the value of AMF inoculation is under different tillage regimes in the Upper Great Plains. We will determine the impact of inoculating vegetable plants with an organically certified blend of AMF species on weed community dynamics, soil health, plant health, and overall profitability in two contrasting organic production environments: a tilled system vs. a no-till system that relies on legume hay mulch for weed suppression.  
Initial work began during the summer of 2015. During the summer of 2015 and 2016, numerous measurements and samples were taken from these experiments. A graduate student and summer workers supported by the Ceres Trust grant were involved in all aspects of the field work. We sampled the soil to measure the soil weed seed bank. We quantified the weed populations at emergence and later at the peak of the growing 
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