Agronomy & Soil Science

Agronomy & Soil Science research at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) focuses on 1) conducting and cooperating in University-led applied research on plant and soil management systems that protect our environment and increase producer profitability, and 2) producing organic and conventional feedstuffs for WCROC organic and conventional livestock programs. Our primary trial crops are corn, small grains, and soybeans.

At the University of Minnesota, agronomy is based in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.

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Soil Management Systems

Scientists at the WCROC collaborate with Nutrient Management, as well as the Soil Testing Laboratory of the Department of Soil, Water and Climate, all at the University of Minnesota. One area of on-going study at the WCROC is on phosphorus soil and fertilizer management (PDF).

Organic Crops

At the WCROC, nearly 50% of our crop acres are on certified organic land, largely for the purpose of supplying feed to a portion of our dairy herd.  We grow corn, wheat, oats, and alfalfa. 

Cover Crops

A cover crop, also referred to as green manure, is a plant used in between rows, or may cover a field entirely in between crop rotations. Cover crops can slow soil erosion, improve soil health, add organic matter, enhance water availability, reduce soil compaction, use and store nitrogen, and aid in weed control. At the WCROC, we utilize cover crops in our fields, pastures, and our horticulture plots.