Is There A More Climate-Friendly Way to Fertilize Crops?

April 25, 2022

(Forbes) Plants are naturally “solar-powered,” but there is a carbon footprint associated with growing them as a crop. The fuel used to power tractors and other equipment is part of that footprint, but the largest component is associated with the natural gas used to make synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. WCROC researchers are pursuing "green ammonia" as a way to reduce the carbon intensity of agricultural production.

Impacting Minnesota Agriculture

March 22, 2022

How much Zinc should a pregnant sow get in her diet? Which perennial plants will survive our harsh Minnesota winters? What size of solar PV system is best for a small farm? The answers to these questions are all part of why the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center is imperative to the advancement of agriculture in west central Minnesota and beyond.

Top Ten Annuals on KARE 11

March 18, 2022

(KARE 11Gardening guru's Laura Betker and Bobby Jensen at KARE 11 announced our 2022 Top Ten Performing Annuals in their weekly broadcast, Grow with KARE.

Featured Farm: WCROC Organic Dairy

January 23, 2022

(NODPA) The inner workings of an organic dairy research farm may not be quite as mysterious or glamourous as one may have presumed. After all, that cutting-edge research - whose findings are presented at numerous dairy conferences - can sometimes feel far removed from the actual day-to-day realities of operating a dairy farm. But life on the WCROC dairy research farm isn’t so different from that of any small dairy operation. 

From Fertilizer to Fuel: Can Green Ammonia Be a Climate Fix?

January 20, 2022

(Yale360Ammonia has been widely used as a fertilizer for the last century. Now, using renewable energy and a new method for making ammonia, researchers and entrepreneurs believe “green” ammonia can become a significant clean fuel source for generating electricity and powering ships.

Green Ammonia Could Produce Climate-Friendly Storage

December 2, 2021

(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) Curbing climate change goes hand-in-hand with decarbonizing energy production. But how can communities continue to meet the global demand for electricity without releasing more CO2? A cadre of chemists says one solution may be hiding in an unlikely source: ammonia—the pungent, clear, nitrogen-rich gas, or liquid, that’s most often used as an agricultural fertilizer.

Cowbot! Coming to a field near you?

November 30, 2021

(CERTs) Renewable energy scientist, Eric Buchanan, was recently interviewed by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) about how the WCROC developed a solar-powered robotic mower, dubbed the "Cowbot." 

Graduate training program: Communicating beyond science to scientist

November 18, 2021

(National Hog Farmer) Students graduating from graduate or professional programs related to livestock production are frequently less prepared than employers might desire for success in allied industry careers. Specifically, they often lack well-honed interpersonal communications skills and practical experience in livestock production systems. To begin to address these concerns, the Departments of Animal Science at South Dakota State University, North Dakota State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and University of Minnesota with contributions from companies in the allied livestock industry have developed a communication training program for animal science graduate students named “Communicating Beyond Science to Scientist.” 

U of MN Team Wins USDA Grant for Organic Swine

November 8, 2021

A multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Yuzhi Li was recently awarded funding to investigate hybrid rye production and its uses in raising organic pigs. The Minnesota project is part of a federal Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) investment. 

The craze of calves on cows

September 8, 2021

(Dairy Star) Dairy farmers are always looking for ways to be more efficient and productive on their farms, while also creating the best welfare environment for their animals. For organic producers, the practice of raising calves on cows is gaining more traction for all these reasons.