Summer Activities at the WCROC

July 1, 2015

The University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) conducts research in the areas of Agronomy & Soil Science, Dairy, Horticulture, Renewable Energy, and Swine.  The summer months provide an ideal time to showcase a few of our research areas by offering several educational events and activities for all.  

Summer Field Day

Visitors may choose from three crop production tours, including wheat and small grains, pest and disease management, and nutrient management for corn and soybeans.   Tours and presentations include:

  • Dean Malvick, U of MN Associate Professor, and Cheryl Reese, SDSU Plant Scientist.
  • Doug Holen, Bruce Potter, Dan Kaiser, and Fabian Fernandez, all from U of MN Extension.
  • Plant and Disease Clinic – bring in weeds and diseased plants for identification.
  • Buffer Strip discussion, and the science behind the use of buffer strips.  Led by Warren Formo, Executive Director of the MN Agricultural Water Resource Center and Brad Carlson, U of MN Extension. Begins at 10:45 am in the WCROC Farm Shop.
  • Tours of the WCROC Renewable Hydrogen and Ammonia Pilot Plant, and the Day-Neutral Low Tunnel Strawberry plot.

Summer Field Day is scheduled for Friday, July 10, 2015.  Registration begins at 7:30 am with tours running approximately one hour in length.  Each tour will run twice, at 8 am and again at 9:15 am.  All tours leave from the WCROC Farm Shop.  The event is open to the public and free to attend. 


Horticulture Night

Join us for our largest event of the year!  Horticulture Night has been a staple of the WCROC summer calendar for the past 45 years.  We invite several skilled presenters and educators to come and demonstrate on horticultural related topics.  Presentations include:

  • Growing Organic Vegetables
  • Perennial Combinations
  • Native Plants and Grasses
  • Tomatoes: Salsa and Sauce
  • Gardening with Succulents
  • Growing Small Fruits
  • Low Input Lawn Care
  • Pruning Trees and Shrubs
  • Plant Disease in a Changing Climate

Other activities include an Annual Flower walking tour, Day-Neutral Low Tunnel Strawberry plot tours, cow milking demonstrations, tours of the WCROC Farm, 4-H food booth, vendor booths, live music, and several hands-on children’s activities.  Horticulture Night is scheduled for Thursday, July 30, 2015 from 5-9 pm.  Admission is free.


Organic Dairy Day

As the first land grant institution in the Midwest to develop an organic dairy herd dedicated to research and education, the WCROC is the only university-sanctioned operation to manage conventional and organic dairy herds side-by-side.  Organic Dairy Day will feature:

  • Organic Valley’s Mark Kopecky, on soil fertility in dairy pastures and interpreting soil analysis. 
  • Brad Heins, Assistant Professor of Dairy Science at the WCROC, organic dairy research update.
  • Field tours and pasture walks for grazing and species selection.
  • A stockmanship demonstration.

Organic Dairy Day is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11, 2015 from 10 am – 3 pm.  For more information, please contact Brad Heins at


Other Activities

As part of Prairie Pioneer Days, a guided tour of the Horticulture Display Garden will be offered on Saturday, July 11 at 1:45 pm. 

Aside from the planned events this summer at the WCROC, visitors are always welcome to explore the Horticulture Display Garden on their own.  The Garden is open daily from dawn until dusk.  Admission is free, donations are accepted.

From the Garden, visitors get a closer view of the WCROC 1.65 MW wind turbine as part of ongoing Renewable Energy research.  For more information on any of our upcoming events, please call 320-589-1711