Elsberry Plant Materials Center (PMC) held their annual Field Day event on Wednesday, June 19 an event that has been going on since the building of the center in 1934.
During the original years when it was more of a production center, they focused more on tree saplings that were being produced. Today, the center is home to dozens of studies ranging from crop coverage plants to wetland species and native plant life.
The tour, which is primarily directed for the folks of the Natural Resources Conservation Services, (NRCS) also services some other outside participants like Lincoln County University.
Shown below are a variety of different stops the center makes along it’s Field Day tour. The first stop allows visitors to learn about the Giant Miscanthus study. The data collected will be used by other field offices in conservation planning. Visitors we’re then led to the PMC’s high tunnel, established in 2010 in an effort to compare the production potential of annual garden species, perennial fruit species and perennial native forb species.
Next for spectators was an in depth look at some of the various equipment used on the grounds. Some are used by farmers throughout the area while others are not nearly as common. Finally before taking a 30-minute break for lunch, visitors we’re introduced to the seed cleaning and storage facility where they were explained how certain samples and seedlings must go through a tedious process of cleaning and labeling for proper storage.
Following their break, visitors were then loaded up once again onto the centers trolly, shared by Forrest Keeling Nursery and headed to the pollinator species planting grounds.
Here Jerry Kaiser, a plant materials specialist, shows viewers the different varieties of plants that grow in the wet areas of the plot. Next they were led just across the dirt road, where they learned about the biological control of invasive species with goats. With help from the Lincoln University Research and Extension, the center uses this study to help address the invasive species in the understory of woodland areas and also areas not easily accessible by equipment. Along the same topic, PMC Supervisor Ron Cordsiemon showed the difference between an area maintained by the goats verse an area maintained by a bullhog.
There were a total of 14 stops made throughout the day, all of which allowed visitors to learn about the various studies preformed by the PMC, such as effect of mixed species cover crops on soil health and soybeans planted into roller crimped Cereal Rye.
For more information about the Plant Materials Center and their program visit http://nrcs.usda.gov or call 573-898-2012.
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