UACES Facebook Severe storm damages turfgrass research, cancels field day
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Severe storm damages turfgrass research, cancels field day

By Fred Miller
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • A brief but violent storm caused thousands of dollars in damage to research structures
  • July 25 turfgrass research field day cancelled
  • Registration fees for the field day will be refunded

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A brief but violent storm that swept through Fayetteville Monday damaged research structures on the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center, resulting in the cancellation of a turfgrass research field day and likely loss of a year’s worth of data.

DOWN BURST --  A brief, violent storm damaged structures used in turfgrass drought research at the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville. (Photo by Mike Richardson)

Mike Richardson, professor of horticulture and turfgrass researcher for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said three hoop houses used for drought research were destroyed. Each structure cost about $25,000.

A fence around a turfgrass tennis court used for sport field research was also damaged.

Richardson said the damage is still being assessed, but he anticipates the total cost could go as high as $100,000.

The destroyed structures were used to keep rain off turf research plots to test drought tolerance, Richardson said. “Obviously, they are no longer protected from rain,” he said.

His most optimistic guess, Richardson said, is that the hoop houses might be replaced by the end of August. If September turns out to be hot and dry, he said, researchers might still get some drought tolerance data for 2018.

It’s just as likely that no data will be collected for this year, Richardson said. Other turf research plots are undamaged, he said.

Richardson said a turfgrass research field day scheduled for July 25 has been cancelled.

Persons who preregistered for the field day have been notified by email of the cancellation. Richardson said they should contact Shelby Hanson, horticulture department fiscal manager, at 479-575-6680 about refunds.

Vaughn Skinner, director of the Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center, said the damage seems to have been localized to the north end of the research farm, where the turfgrass research is located.

Skinner said initial checks of the 725-acre research farm, located on Garland Avenue near its intersection with Interstate 49, revealed no other damage to the buildings, equipment or research plots, although a tree limb fell on an employee’s personal vehicle, he said.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.


Media Contact: Fred Miller
U of A Division of Agriculture
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
(479) 575-5647

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