Thursday, May 21, 2015

Springtime at the NCRS: New Growth and New People

(So this was supposed to be in the company newsletter this week, but was mysteriously left out. Maybe they're trying to tell me something.  So I decided to post it in the research blog where it will reach infinitely more people.)

As crop researchers, we are all glad to be outside now at the NCRS establishing a new year of fertilizer testing.  All the planning is done, the cold weather is gone and just like farmers everywhere, optimism reigns as the seeds are put into the ground or the trees and vines begin leafing out in the new year.  This is the 22nd year of field research at the NCRS, and it gets busier every year.  There are also some new personnel on board.  The pictures below tell the story of last week.

We have a new soil scientist at the NCRS is Dr. Zouheir Massri who will be conducting a series of tests to monitor nutrient movement in the soil.  Dr. Massri is a native of Syria and has been in the US for several years conducting soil chemistry and physics research.  Most recently he was at Michigan State University and we are very fortunate to have this internationally famous researcher on our staff.  As a native of Syria, Zouheir and his family were fortunate to barely escape the terrible civil war and unrest there.  He had to leave behind most of his books and research material.  So wish him luck here.
 Stopping to re-fill the planter with the next load of fertilizer being tested is the field crop crew.  Here are Tim and Stephanie with MSU interns Quinten and Chris helping out.
And off goes the planter which will plant another fertilizer treatment in the replicated plots.
 Dr. Levene makes a soil application of Liquid fertilizer in the apple orchard.  There are two varieties and a number of nutrient comparisons being evaluated.
 With thousands of apple trees all needing training of branches along the wires and stakes, researcher Jacob Emling uses an electric tying tool to hold the stem in place.  This is a great addition to the specialty crop equipment where hand tying of limbs used to take forever.
MSU interns working in specialty crops are Ryan and Seth, who are applying Roundup and pruning lower branches in the apple orchard, respectively.  There are actually six college interns working this year in what is being called a “diversified” internship program.  They will all rotate time in the two crop teams at the NCRS as well as in Sales/Marketing and Agronomy.  So it should be a great program for them as well as AgroLiquid.    
We will profile all of the interns later like we always do.  But that's the way it is up here at the NCRS.