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Forum staff reports, Published January 22 2010

Research focus of Central Grasslands Center program

A south-central North Dakota lake could reveal the mechanisms that trigger climate changes.

A report on research at Lake George will be one of the topics at this year’s Grass-N-Beef Research Review at the North Dakota State University Central Grasslands Research Extension Center near Streeter on Jan. 20.

The study is a collaborative effort of researchers from the center; the University of Nebraska; Brown University, Providence, R.I.; Duke University, Durham, N.C.; and the Illinois State Museum. The lake contains algae that produce organic compounds known as alkenones, which scientists use as biomarkers to reconstruct climate variables such as temperature and precipitation.

The research review will be held in the center’s conference room. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a welcome from Paul Nyren, center director. Ken Grafton, director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and dean of the NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources, will follow with opening remarks.

Also during the research review, Guojie Wang, who recently joined the center as a forage agronomist, will discuss the center’s new forage agronomy program. The program will include research to improve forages and develop sustainable management practices involving the evaluation and incorporation of improved grasses, legumes and annual forages into integrated forage-livestock-biofuel systems for the northern Great Plains.

Other research review topics include using annual forages to extend grazing, the Kentucky bluegrass and smooth brome invasion of the northern mixed-grass prairie, ecological site descriptions as a management tool, pasture monitoring techniques, production and quality of selected perennial biofuels crops, and livestock watering options and water quality for remote areas.

The daylong event will wrap up with a presentation from Sandi and Tim Dewald of Streeter titled “Vietnam Revisited: A Return to Vietnam After 40 Years.” Tim Dewald was stationed in Vietnam in 1970-71. He, his wife and some of his friends who also were stationed in Vietnam in the 1970s visited the country in May 2009.

The research review is free of charge and will include a catered lunch. Registration is not required.

The Central Grasslands Research Extension Center is four miles north of Streeter or 11 miles south of Interstate 94. From I-94, go south on North Highway 30 to 48th Street, go five miles west to 48th Avenue, then go one-quarter mile south.