Crop Production and Field Crops
The ARDC consists of approximately 9,663 acres (3,912 hectares). About half of the land base is in row crops. Fifty percent of those row crops are irrigated.
Nearly 1,000 acres are utilized for agronomic research by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. Studies relating to crop production and field crops involve plant breeding, genetics and molecular physiology plant physiology and production ecology, soil and water science, and weed science. The studies are showing grain producers how to successfully use no-till and reduced tillage systems. And technologies such as Geospatial and Precision Technologies are being to utilized to determine input variances – such as fertilizer – which affects profitability and environmental impact. Weeds are also studied because Nebraskans spend a substantial amount of money on weed control – on crops and in their yards.
Nebraska Extension is helping agribusiness representatives and producers in the crop production industry stay at the top of their game. At the ARDC, we are providing intensive training “in the field” through demonstrations and activities utilizing small plots. Sponsored by Nebraska Extension our Crop Management Diagnostic Clinics draw upon the expertise of university and industry agricultural specialists. Participants receive hands-on experience and observe field demonstrations in small groups to encourage interaction between the presenters and participants. The latest, up-to-date, research-based education in crop production is provided at the clinics. Annually these clinics impact 10-50% of Nebraska’s row crop acres. Average dollar impact each year is almost $40 million. The ARDC provides the ideal setting for the various field days and educational programs at the ARDC throughout the year. The ability to share resources and expertise has proved to be a valuable asset in providing high-quality programs.
ARDC Farm Operations play an integral part in the successful outcomes of research, teaching, and extension programs of many university departments. The ultimate mission of Farm Operations is to help facilitate research and education programs the most effective way by sharing resources and expertise. While ARDC Farm Operations does not conduct research, it provides land, equipment, labor, expertise, and services to departments when the resource is not available within the academic department or is cost prohibitive for the department to do so on its own. This allows the university to efficiently manage ARDC lands and provide large scale agricultural services to assist the research on a least cost basis. The farm provides a working laboratory using modern production practices and equipment sized to today’s production agriculture. Learn more by visiting the link above.
Rusts, leaf blights, stem and root rots and other diseases are caused by pathogens that can distress field crops, ornamentals, trees, forage grasses, turfgrasses, fruits and vegetables. The Department of Plant Pathology at UNL has a long tradition of excellence in research and service to the state of Nebraska, the nation and internationally. The department's research seeks to provide solutions to plant disease and health issues, develop new knowledge of plant-pathogenic and plant-associated microorganisms, and provide quality, relevant education. The Department of Plant Pathology developed prevention techniques for dealing with diseases such as Wheat Rust, Soybean Rust and the bean pod mottle. The department has set up surveillance sites across Nebraska for soybean rust – including one at the ARDC. This makes UNL in the first line of defense in fighting this disease.
The Department of Entomology conducts research projects involving the biology, ecology, and management of insect pests affecting Nebraska crops and livestock, golf courses, athletic fields, parks and recreational areas, as well as home lawns and landscapes. Examples of the research include: corn rootworm management studies; the use of Bt corn to manage European corn borers, insect defoliators on soybean, using beneficial insects to manage sorghum insects, fly control in feedlots, managing insect pests affecting turfgrass and landscapes, and the distribution and fate of termiticides in soil. The onsite Apiculture lab at the ARDC is utilized for applied research, field days, and other educational programs involving honey bees.