News

September 14, 2020

Organic dairy farmers will soon have additional resources for improving management strategies from the University of Minnesota (U of MN) certified organic dairy program located at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris, MN. Dr. Bradley Heins, Associate Professor of Dairy Science at the WCROC, was recently awarded three grants totaling $2.1 million through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to further research in the areas of disbudding alternatives for organic dairy calves, pre-weaned calf rearing options, and the effect of high-legume diets on milk quality.

August 12, 2020

About 250 crossbred dairy cows graze on grasses and cover crops at the WCROC. But the cows don't eat everything, and the weeds left behind will spread unless cut. That's when the cowbot goes to work.

August 11, 2020

Tail biting is a behavioral problem that involves both biters and victimized pigs. The biters are triggered by things such as genetics, physiology, or insufficient housing, nutrition or environmental enrichment needs. Yuzhi Li, Associate Professor of Swine Behavior, offers 3 tips for preventing tail biting.

June 11, 2020

Feed, water and air are the three most essential components required to achieve optimal pig performance and health, yet water has received the least amount of research attention throughout the years. Researchers from the U of MN set out to determine if the quality of water supplied to nursery pigs impacts health and performance.

June 9, 2020

Some solar panels can capture the sun's energy while providing shade for cattle - a win-win for farmers.

June 1, 2020

Backlogs at pork processing plants are forcing famers to face some difficult decisions regarding their herds. It’s not just the uncertainty and lost income that’s weighing on farmers; they care about what happens to their animals, said Lee Johnston, swine scientist at the WCROC.  

May 26, 2020

While the Horticulture Display Garden at Morris is a center for research, it also provides education to the public, and is a colorful place to walk around and get ideas for a home garden. The center’s All American Selections trial and display gardens are a unique feature. All America Selections (AAS) was founded in 1932 to run impartial trials of new flowers and vegetables which were not yet on the market. Horticulture Scientist Steve Poppe coordinates the horticulture research at WCROC and is an AAS judge.

May 11, 2020

A study of five Midwestern dairies unearthed which parts of the farm use the most electricity.

May 5, 2020

Swine experts from the University of Minnesota have developed guidance for producers that may be faced with holding market hogs longer than usual due to pork packing plant closures.

Fertilizer from the Wind

2014 LiveBIG: Wind Fertilizer Feature (Minnesota)

 
The WCROC is home to the only production plant of its kind in the world: producing fertilizer from the wind. Mike Reese, director of renewable energy, and his team have developed a method to combine hydrogen and nitrogen to create ammonia that can be used as fertilizer. Not only does this interdisciplinary approach help to solve important challenges facing the agricultural industry, but also serves to reduce the carbon footprint. The Big Ten Network showcased Fertilizer from the Wind on LiveBIG in January 2014.

WCROC named Outstanding Conservationist for 2011

The West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in Morris was named Outstanding Conservationist for 2011 by the Stevens County Soil and Water Conservation District. This recognition was based on the ROC's research and educational programs in horticulture, water quality, renewable energy, dairy, swine, and crop production.