(MPR News) Interest in agrivoltaics is growing, along with the need for land for new solar farms, as Minnesota and the nation shift to cleaner energy. The WCROC began experimenting with agrivoltaics about a decade ago by putting solar panels on top of swine barns, and have solar panels in cow pastures.
The WCROC is participating in Give to the Max Day, which is on November 16. Our goal is to raise funds that support agricultural experiences and outreach in rural Minnesota. We hope you'll join us on Give to the Max Day!
With the recent passing of former WCROC Animal Scientist, Harley Hanke, we reflect on the agricultural pioneers of our past to guide our future. "In the early days of the WCROC, we all had the desire to find ways to improve production for area farmers. A big part of utilizing knowledge was to work side-by-side with farmers so they could learn from us, and us from them," reported Harley Hanke, WCROC Animal Scientist from 1956-1986.
The Office of the Vice President for Research has announced the winners for the Research Technical Staff Award, which recognizes staff for their distinguished service to the U of MN research community and celebrates exemplary leadership that positively impacts their colleagues and advance the U's mission. Eric Buchanan, Renewable Energy Director at the WCROC, was selected as one of five distinguished recipients.
(Farm Equipment) As scientists search for cleaner methods of producing nitrogen (N) fertilizer, they increasingly look to replace the century-old method of treating natural gas with high-pressure steam to produce anhydrous ammonia - the backbone of most forms of agricultural N products. Wind-powered ammonia production has the potential to offset fall energy demands of grain drying and ventilation for agricultural operations.
(AgWeek) Kelp as a feed additive for cows isn't exactly new, but it is getting some new attention for its potential to help fight climate change. In June, the WCROC began a research project to measure the methane emissions from their grazing dairy herd with the use of kelp in the diet.
(Progressive Dairy) Lameness is one of the greatest costs to dairy cattle, yet many grazing herds do not incorporate a routine hoof trimming schedule into herd management. At the WCROC, hoof trimming quickly became a priority during the rainy 2019 grazing season due to the excessive mud and wet weather.
The U of MN West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, has been a forerunner in the development and use for “Green Ammonia” since 2013 when the first-in-the-world renewable hydrogen and ammonia pilot plant was commissioned. The novel pilot plant uses wind power from a 1.65 MW wind turbine to produce up to 25 tons of nitrogen fertilizer (anhydrous ammonia) each year on-site, which is enough to cover approximately 300 acres of cropland.
(National Hog Farmer) Swine researchers are looking at how additional zinc fed in sow diets can provide positive impacts on fetal imprinting. Piglets born with additional zinc in their sows diet enhances robustness during farrowing or pre-weaning survivability and growth.