The oldest among OARDC's outlying research sites, the Muck Crops Agricultural Research Station was established in 1948. A group of area producers called the Golden Rule Association purchased and donated 15.5 acres of prime muck soil near Celeryville to the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station (now OARDC) for use as an experimental farm. In 2009, new facilities were built, including offices, a workshop, storage areas, a laboratory with digital microscopes, and a new greenhouse.
The Muck Crops Agricultural Research Station maintains an intensive and relevant research program that addresses the profitability, quality, and safety of fresh vegetable crops grown in both muck and mineral soils in northern Ohio- including lettuce, radishes, parsley, green and bulb onions, squash, and other leaf, vine and root crops. Scientists help farmers overcome disease, insect, and weed challenges with new cultural practices and management techniques. The knowledge generated at the Station is also invaluable to other muck-crop growers in Ohio, across the United States, and around the world.
Diseases are a major challenge to fresh-market vegetable production. OARDC plant pathologists study chemical and biological alternatives to controlling disease organisms- including resistant cultivars, proper field site selection, crop rotation, controlled moisture in the fields, and chemically treated seeds. OARDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers continually test new fungicides and bactericides for their efficacy against profit-cutting diseases. Emphasis is also placed on integrated pest management (IPM) approaches to lower chemical use and disease-forecasting systems to reduce crop losses.
Insect and Weed Management
OARDC entomologists and weed scientists seek to help farmers produce healthy vegetables with fewer agrochemicals. Trials are conducted on insect life cycles and behavior, seed treatments, IPM methods, and pest monitoring. OARDC and USDA entomologists also test new insecticides for their efficacy against pests such as thrips and weevils that can decimate crops. Because weeds are particularly abundant in organic soils and tend to become immune to chemical herbicides, experts continually test new weed-control methods at the Station.
Transplant Production and Variety Trials
Area growers use transplants to lengthen the growing season and improve stand uniformity over direct seeding. The Station's greenhouse provides vigorous young plants for many of the research trials conducted on and off the farm. The Station also evaluates new vegetable varieties for quality, yield, and resistance to local pest populations.
Outbreaks of dangerous foodborne diseases on fresh vegetables have increased in the past few years, posing challenges for growers. Plant pathologists and microbiologists are studying the correlation between plant diseases and foodborne pathogens (such as E. coli) to try to reduce contamination at farm level. For example, researchers are evaluating the efficacy of various irrigation water-injection systems (chlorine gas, chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide) for sanitizing water.
The Muck Crops Station has a very close relationship with local farmers. In collaboration with OSU Extension, research generated at the Station is constantly shared with growers through field days, monthly breakfast informational sessions, and the annual Winter Muck Crop School.
4875 SR 103S
Willard, OH 44890
- Robert P Filbrun - Manager
- Herminio Perez - Agricultural Technician