Several people with shovels at a groundbreaking ceremony.
Photo Credit:
Garrison Diversion Conservancy District

Oakes Irrigation Research Site groundbreaking ceremony during Field Day August 3

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Today the Carrington Research Extension Center conducts programming covering a wide range of plant and animal disciplines. However, in 1960, the CREC was originally founded as an irrigation research site.

In 1970, the CREC partnered with the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District to start the Oakes Irrigation Research Site. That site, and our partnership, have been maintained for 53 years, providing not only information on best practices for irrigation, but also developing top-end yield potential of row crops in North Dakota while conducting plant disease, weed, and fertility management research. The site also annually hosts development projects for high value crops such as potatoes, onions, and other horticultural species.

Over the past ten years, our Oakes site has been undergoing a make-over. Located five miles south of Oakes on the west side of Highway 1, the site has doubled in size and we’ve upgraded our linear irrigation system and several other pieces of equipment. The largest changes are yet to come.

August 3 was our annual Field Day at the Oakes site. During the Field Day, a groundbreaking ceremony introduced the start of construction on a new headquarters building and commemorated North Dakota Legislative approval for continued operating support for the site. Much collaboration was required to bring this project to fruition, and we were pleased to thank representatives from many of those cooperating entities in person. Guests included United States Senator John Hoeven, North Dakota Senator Robert Erbele, North Dakota Representatives Mike Brandenburg and Mike Beltz, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, several members of the ND State Board of Agricultural Research and Education (SBARE), many representatives from Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, NDSU administration, and valued community supporters from the Oakes area.

Construction on the building will begin very soon, with an estimated completion during the summer of 2024. This building will have an office workspace, a community meeting area, lab workspace for plant and soil processing, and a maintenance shop.

Before the groundbreaking, tour wagons transported participants through the Oakes Irrigation Research Site plots where several specialists described this year’s projects.

Tractor and sprayer near research plots
Photo Credit:
Carrington REC
NDSU Plant Pathologist Michael Wunsch described features, calibration, and operation of the custom sprayer developed and built by CREC staff for use in fungicide research plots.
Potato samples displayed ahead of plots
Photo Credit:
Carrington REC
NDSU Potato Breeder Susie Thompson showcased current and upcoming varieties of potatoes, including “Dakota Russet,” recently accepted for processing as a McDonald’s French fry variety.
Sling psychrometer
Photo Credit:
Carrington REC
NDSU Extension Ag Technology Systems Specialist Rob Proulx demonstrated a sling psychrometer calculating Delta T, a parameter for determining the impact of temperature and humidity on pesticide applications.
Researchers near soybean plots
CREC Agronomist Kristin Simons introduced NDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Wade Webster, who discussed his work with soybean foliar diseases.


Mike Ostlie, Ph. D.
CREC Director/Agronomist