Faculty research


REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE IN DOMESTIC RUMINANTS

Shipka, M. P.

Situation and purpose:
Producers of domestic ruminants experience economic loss associated with inefficient reproductive managment practices. The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of extreme temperature and extreme changes in day length on a seasonal basis on high latitude domestic ruminants.

Impact:
Successful reproduction in herds of ruminant animals produced on farms in Alaska is paramount for the establishment of livestock production in the north and the economic viability and sustainability of Alaska livestock production enterprises. Results of these studies demonstrate the effectiveness of reproductive management technologies and techniques that can be used to improve reproductive efficiency on Alaskan livestock farms and ranches. Demonstrating the effectiveness of applying reproductive management techniques to diversified livestock provides the farmer low-cost tools without risking private stock. Not all technologies translate equally well from traditional livestock to more exotic species and our ability to identify those that are effective under Alaskan conditions enhances the producers ability to maximize productivity, and hence profits. The market value of the offspring (~$5000/muskox; $1500/reindeer) is a significant portion of the income generated by the Alaskan diversified livestock industry. Synchronizing and timing estrus results in highly synchronized, predictable calving, reducing costly labor, and maximizing calf survival. Enhanced understanding of reproductive biology and reproductive management of reindeer and musk ox will enhance the productive capacity of these animals and the sustainability of enterprises producing these northern latitude adapted species in Alaska.


Innovative use of natural and supplemental light for high latitude crop production

Karlsson, M. G.

Situation and purpose:
Light varies naturally from sunrise to sunset. The amount, the type or quality, and the length of light during a day are essential for plant productivity and crop yield. The purpose of this project is to learn more about the best light conditions for optimum plant growth.

Impact:
Technical, yet simple, modifications to traditional greenhouse and controlled environment production systems can significantly improve and provide for increased crop returns. Adding incandescent lamps to improve the spectral distribution of high irradiance discharge lamps results in more rapid production and increased profits. Opportunities for year-round controlled environment production of perishable high quality produce and ornamentals will be greatly increased if recommendations for optimal amount, daily duration and quality of light are known and utilized.


Cultivar Selection, Production Methods, and Market Quality of Vegetables in Alaska

Leiner, R.

Situation and purpose:
Cool season vegetables can be produced in abundance during Alaska's summer, but production costs and changing markets continue to be a challenge to local growers. The purpose of this research is to study cool season vegetables and provide data on production methods that can be used to produce profitable crops in northern latitudes.

Impact:
Salad vegetables are produced locally in cool soil and long day conditions, and production methods can be tailored to the local climate. The potential for high quality of leafy green vegetables is improved by the short time in storage and transport. Residents and visitors can include local produce in salads as part of a healthy diet.


PRODUCTION PRACTICES, CULTIVARS AND DISEASE OF POTATO AND OTHER HORTICULTURAL CROPS

Leiner, R., Smeenk, P. J.

Situation and purpose:
Potato, well adapted to generally cool conditions, constitute an important part of the commercial vegetable industry in Alaska. Oplopanax horridus (devil's club), a medicinal plant indigenous to Alaska has potential for economic development. To remain competitive, potato growers need to enhance productivity and quality while maintaining or reducing the cost of production. Cultivation of O. horridus would offer opportunities for existing or new farmers, whereas management and harvest of natural stands would offer opportunities for those living in more rural areas of the state.

Impact:
Data from field trials can provide local growers with information relevant to selecting varieties and production practices that forecast good yields in long cool days. Fresh market potatoes are produced locally and include niche markets for red-skinned potatoes and larger markets for white and russet skinned potatoes


HORTICULTURAL CROP PRODUCTION FOR ALASKA

Holloway, P. S.

Situation and purpose:
Horticulture has been the largest agricultural industry in Alaska amounting to more than 80 percent of cash receipts for all agricultural crops in the state. The purpose of this study is to provide information on landscape plant hardiness, wildflower seeds, and commercial lingonberry production to satisfy consumer and commercial demand.

Impact:
The vegetable research is designed for small market gardeners and homeowners. It provides comparative trial information that is useful in developing regional truck farms and expanding produce choices as farmers markets. Field tomato trial information was requested by Territorial Seed Co., annual and perennial vegetable trial information as well as breeders seed for Yukon Chief sweet corn, was requested by Denali Seed, Anchorage The annual and perennial flower trial research is used by seed companies, nurseries, growers, landscapers and home gardeners to identify hardy perennials, disease resistant annual flowers for home and commercial production. Specific trial information was requested by Johnnys Selected Seeds (ME), Territorial Seeds (OR), Pan American and Ball Seed Co.(IL), and Goldsmith Seeds (CA). Wildflower germination experiments were requested by Seeds of Alaska (Kenai) and will benefit anyone interested in Alaska revegetation, wildflower meadows and home landscapes.


Cicer Milkvetch, Forage Galega, and Lupinaster Clover as Potential Forage Crops for Alaska

Sparrow, S. D.

Situation and purpose:
There are currently no perennial forage legume crops which are suitable for use in Alaska. This project will test three potential new perennial forage legume crops.

Impact:
This project will provide farmers in central Alaska with expanded options by providing information about management of new forage crops.


Management Practices for Forage and Turfgrass

Mitchell, G. A.

Situation and purpose:
Forage grasses and legumes for animal feed and turfgrasses for recreation have been tested over the years with comparatively few demonstrating survival of the harsh arctic winters. New varieties and improved management strategies must continue to be developed and tested to meet the requirements of this subarctic region. Many perennial grasses grown at lower latitudes do not perform well in most regions of Alaska. This project will identify grass varieties and management that will enhance agricultural and recreational uses.

Impact:
Extensive damage to golf course greens over most winters results in damages in the six-figure range statewide most years. Results of this research are of immediate use to golf courses in surrounding areas. We have taken this research to an on-site demonstration of best performing cultivars to a major golf course near Anchorage. Golf course superintendents have this information, at their request, and the results of this years very cold winter will be extremely important to future turfgrass selections. Damage to fairways, other sports fields, and lawns were also very costly in 2002 and results from these trials will be useful for assessing remediation requirements.

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