New U of I Alma Mater plots updating ag research

The University of Illinois has broken ground on a new 55-acre living lab that allows for modern ag research.

Andrew Margenot is an associate professor of soil science…

“To preserve the long-term nature of the Morrow Plots, we’ve kept treatments more or less similar, but agriculture has advanced and one specific way is tile drainage,” he says.

The Alma Mater Plots, or “Morrow Plots version 2.0,” are comprised of 64 tile-drained plots located near the headwaters of the Embarras River outside of Champaign.

Margenot tells Brownfield the plots are a long-term investment in research…

“Say crop rotations, cover cropping, how we manage our inputs of nutrients,” he says.  “How all these things together impact not just profitability, yield, soil health, crop growth, but also the water quality aspects.”

He says their team is currently polling Illinois agriculture groups to determine exactly what research will be done, and they plan to start trials in the 2026 growing season.

The Morrow Plots, located on 1.5 acres of the U of I campus, are entering their 148th growing season of research.

AUDIO: Andrew Margenot – U of I

Photo courtesy of Andrew Margenot

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