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'Behind the Scenes' Research Team Supports Consulting

Posted Jun. 1, 2006

People's first contact with the Agricultural Division is usually through a phone call, which may lead to a face-to-face visit with a specialist or one of the consulting teams. Most folks don't realize the Ag Division has a support group that complements the consulting staff. This group the research team is comprised of several men and women who have been divided into subgroups to focus on specific areas of research and demonstration.

A big challenge for one of the research team groups is taking care of about 12,000 acres of land owned by Noble. These acres include six different farms and research areas. Most all these areas have livestock for grazing and research purposes; this may include cows and calves, heifers, stocker steers and sheep. Noble has about 450 cows, 300 heifers and processes up to 900 stocker steers a year. The sheep are used by the Forage Improvement Division for fescue grazing trials. On two of the research areas, Noble has five irrigation systems two center-pivot systems and three linear systems. These irrigation systems give Noble's researchers a better opportunity to study forages and crops. Another research team group takes care of the research plots on Noble property, as well as on land owned by Noble cooperators. These plots may include small grains, alfalfa, bermudagrass, summer annuals and cool-season perennials. In a year's time, they may harvest up to 6,000 plots. In addition to harvesting, most of the plots are soil-sampled and fertilized. A large portion of the samples are processed by the research group and then sent to a lab for analysis.

Many people are interested in having wildlife on their properties. After a busy week of work, they want to get out and spend time with nature. They like to hunt, fish or just watch wildlife in general. The wildlife research group spends a lot of time gathering information on white-tailed deer, pond management and bird habitat. They spend several nights a year doing spotlight surveys for deer. They also like to do the hook and line surveys, but who wouldn't? They get paid to fish all day!

The Noble Research Institute is known for growing great fruits and vegetables. The horticulture research group starts early and stays late to get the crops planted so we can all enjoy the harvest. They harvest strawberries in the early spring, and later they will harvest corn, okra, squash and maybe even some peaches and pears. It seems like they have a lot more friends this time of year...

All these projects require a lot of data collection. After the data is collected, it is passed to our data management person. She has the large task of inputting all the data in the computer. After she finishes, she passes the data on to the specialists, who then pass it on to Noble cooperators and the public.

While each member of the research team has specific responsibilities, we all are available to help with any and all projects. We have a great working relationship within our group and strive to provide the best service to anyone who needs our help. If you are interested in more information about Noble's farms or research areas or would like to set up a tour, please call (580) 224-6500.

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