From cleaning 35 bushels an hour to 200 bushels an hour: That makes a big difference when you routinely clean 40,000 bushels of seed per year, says Kyle Dragseth, Williston Research Extension Center (WREC) farm manager.
That is just one of the features of the new, state-of-the-art WREC seed cleaning facility that opened with a ribbon cutting on July 14. In addition, a new seed cleaning facility at the North Central Research Extension Center (NCREC), near Minot, also celebrated its grand opening on July 21.
“We believe it is essential to rapidly produce, clean and condition Foundation-grade seed in the amount and types needed for area producers,” says Shana Forster, NCREC director. “Our new facility will be capable of handling the pulse, oilseed and small grain varieties that help make this region profitable.”
“The new WREC facility more than triples our cleaning capacity and helps us guarantee the highest purity of seed varieties grown at the center,” says Jerald Bergman, WREC director.
Bergman adds, “Because cropping patterns in the region have become much more diverse, we are able to grow 26 different crop varieties for seed for area producers and contracted seed companies. Being able to increase our volume of cleaning specialty and traditional seeds will add income to the WREC for research and will offer grain producers improved opportunities to enhance their soil health and increase their profitability with new and improved crops and crop varieties.”
Bergman, along with Tom Wheeler, a producer in the Ray area, other farmers in the Williston region, northwestern North Dakota state legislators, and county and city commissioners, worked for years to champion the need for the WREC facility.
The $2.5 million WREC facility was made possible in part by a legislative appropriation of $750,000 in 2019. The $2.25 million NCREC facility also was made possible by a legislative appropriation of $750,000. Each facility raised the additional funding needed from a wide array of community groups, local government, private businesses, community leaders and local producers.
“We truly appreciate our communities stepping up to make these world-class facilities a reality for our regions of North Dakota,” says Forster.
These new facilities will make the seed production process more efficient and provide consumers with easy access to more crops and adapted varieties of seeds from public breeding programs and seed companies in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Minnesota and Canada.
"The facility will allow us to clean, sort and deliver seed, leaving the highest genetic purity of new and higher-yielding/value-added crop varieties for MonDak area growers,” says Dragseth. “We are excited to put it to use.”