The facilities comprising the David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center include:
- animal science holding facilities and a grazing paddock system
- a 100 acre controlled drainage irrigation system intended for row crop and forage research
Undergraduate students participate in all aspects of the beef herd management. The beef disciplines that are emphasized at the beef farm are reproductive physiology, genetics of food animal improvement, ruminant nutrition and beef production management. The herd is a cow-calf enterprise with all calves being marketed through specific programs. Heifers are sold as bred heifers in the Show-Me-Select Bred Heifer Sale. The herd has the highest selling pen average and herd sale average. Steer calves are grown to harvest weight and sold on a beef quality grid marketing system with U.S. Premium Beef. The national average for choice plus calves is 53 percent. Southeast Missouri State University averages 75 percent choice + quality grade.
The grazing paddock system consists of 140 acres partitioned between tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and bermudagrass (Cynodon spp) pastures. The tall fescue pastures have underground water conduits, equipped with freeze preventive cattle watering outlets, to provide water for grazing beef. The beef herd is a 60 head, mixed breed (primarily Angus) cow-calf operation. Beef studies center on time-breeding studies and the Show-me heifer development program. The Show-me heifer development program is a cooperative venture involving the University of Missouri-Columbia Extension.
The animal pavilion is a 60’ by 80’ structure equipped with a corral and head shoot for animal health evaluation and reproduction. Two other structures are used for hay storage and equipment storage/maintenance.
Animal Science- Beef Research Facility
A semi-confinement finish facility for demonstrating and research on value adding to beef cattle. Research is done cooperatively between the Agriculture Department at Southeast Missouri State and Missouri University Extension Center.
The Controlled Drainage Irrigation Row Crop and Forage System
The controlled drainage and irrigation row crop and forage system involves a 100 acre controlled drainage system, with 25 acres dedicated to forage research and 75 acres devoted to primarily corn (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) research.
Important research is being done on sweet sorghum for use as an emerging biofuel crop.
Cotton research emphasis earliness using phosphorous fertilizer and cultural methods. The goal is to extend cotton production through out souther Caper Girardeau County.
The controlled drainage system consists of a series of parallel 4 inch subsurface conduits having a spacing of 30’ collecting into 8 inch conducts for transport of surplus water to field ditches. Irrigation is monitored by stop log boxes, arranged in the field to permit the restriction of water flow, allowing well water to be added and dispersed throughout the system by gravity flow. The center piece of the irrigation pumping system is a solar panel array having the capacity to pump 70 gal min-1 (265 liter min-1) during the daytime.
The rolling uplands generally consist of soils of the Menfro series (Fine-silty, mixed, superactive, mesic Typic Hapludalfs). The Menfro series are deep, well-drained, moderately permeable soils on loess-covered uplands having A-E-Bt-BC-C horizon sequences. Soil pH ranges from neutral to slightly acid in the silt loam surface horizons to acid and strongly acid in the silty clay loam argillic horizon.
The controlled drainage and irrigation research site generally consists of soils of the Wilbur series (Coarse-silty, mixed, superactive, mesic Fluvaquentic Eutrochrepts). The soils of the Wilbur series are deep, moderately well-drained, moderately permeable soils formed in silty alluvium. These soils show an A-Bw-C horizon sequence with pH values ranging from medium acid to neutral.