In the last 10 years Clemson University has invested over $5,000,000 in upgrading the facilities and equipment at the Edisto Research and Education center. Eight different areas were targeted for improvement including the upgrading of equipment for specific programs.
- Precision Ag Team
- Irrigation Management Team
- Irrigation Systems for Controlled Research and Extension Projects
The new administration building was completed in 2004 as part of a $4,000,000 project to rejuvenate the facilities at the Edisto Research and Education center. Dedication of the new administration building took place in September of 2004. This facility includes 30 seat and 10 seat conference rooms fully equipped with Polycom capabilities. A 200 seat auditorium has the latest in computer controlled sound and projection systems. A cattle sale barn was completed in 2007 and is used to hold the Edisto Forage Bull Test Sale each year early in October. A computer lab has been set up by the Precision Ag Team in which hands-on classes can be conducted for up to 12 students. Return to top.
Three laboratory buildings have been completed so that now every project now has a new field laboratory. Inside each lab is 1200 square feet of floor space and a 400 sq. ft. loft. Each lab is custom fitted with whatever is needed to fulfill the project objectives including storage space for harvested crops and a field wet lab. Return to top.
All of the projects at the Edisto R.E.C. involve the growth and utilization of crops. To aid in the in-depth study of these crops a new greenhouse complex was built consisting of four 900 sq. ft. Units each with fully automated controls. Among the many uses of these units are growing Transplants for Vegetable Projects or Screening Pigweeds for Herbicide Resistance. A portion of an existing laboratory room in the insectory complex was modified with an enclosed, walk-in chamber capable of growing plants under controlled conditions in a semi-sterile environment. Because some experiments require specific limits on environmental conditions, the plant-growth chamber is an ideal facility enhancement that allows researchers at Edisto to grow plants in a cleaner environment than that found in a greenhouse. The plant-growth chamber is currently used by Dr. Greene and his post-doctoral research associate to conduct experiments with cotton and plant volatiles emitted in response to insect injury. The chamber was purchased partially by several Edisto faculty members and with funds from the Clemson University PSA Research Investment Fund Program. Return to top.
Entomology has been a part of the Edisto R.E.C. since the early 1960’s. A portion of the Insectory has been modified to produce the specialized environmental conditions needed to rear insects artificially. This walk-in, insect-growth chamber has the ability to maintain settings of temperature and relative humidity and has enhanced lighting on a timer to simulate summer sunlight. The insect-growth chamber was built and is currently used by Dr. Greene to hold and rear insects for his research program. Insects being raised include stinkbugs, boll worms, and bud worms. Return to top.
Under Dr. Khalilian’s guidance the precision ag team has assembled a vast array of equipment representing the latest advances in technology. Much of the technology revolves around utilization of GPS-GIS technology that makes it possible to pinpoint the location of any piece of equipment in a field. A 100-ft. tall calibration tower allows researchers to calibrate the GPS signal down to a tolerance of inches. Using a Soil Electrical Conductivity Meter allows rapid, continuous mapping of soil textures in an efficient and cost effective manner. One of the highlights of the Precision Ag Program has been the development of a prototype sensor-based, variable-rate crop input applicator. This modified hi-clearance sprayer allows variable rate applications of N, plant growth regulators, HA, and insecticides and is equipped with height sensors to adjust the sprayer height on-the-go to maintain a constant distance from the crop canopy to the spray nozzles. This technology can be combined with yield monitors and the soil electrical conductivity meter to generate maps showing the relationship between soil texture and yield, or soil texture and nematode or weed distribution. GreenSeeker technology is being utilized by this team to assist growers in making decisions on nitrogen applications in corn and cotton as well as cotton defoliants. Irrigations studies by this team include developing variable rate lateral systems, a LEPA system, and utilization of a NASA satellite based sensor for soil moisture.
After testing Will Henderson’s program delivers all of this technology to growers using field demonstrations. The Mobile Precision Ag Laboratory can be set up as an in-field classroom for growers and contains computers and GPS units used to give producers hands on experience with these systems. He also has portable yield monitors for corn and soybean that can be set up on growers combines to allow them to gain experience in using this valuable equipment. Return to top.
This major research and extension program was begun by Dr. Farahani in 2008. For the past year, Dr. Farahani has secured about $0.25 million for the necessary irrigation facilities, laboratory, and research equipment to establish the irrigation program. The goal of this program is to promote sustainable and efficient irrigation water management in the southeast. The irrigation program is cross-cutting and thus highly interdisciplinary and collaborative with other research programs at Edisto R.E.C. Precision and variable rate irrigation is a major component of the larger irrigation program. Use of advanced sensors in irrigation research is geared towards monitoring the soil-crop-atmosphere continuum for determination of crop water use and evapotranspiration, crop water use efficiency, yield response to drought stress, and soil water transport. The followings are examples of the facilities and equipment in current use:
Soil Moisture Sensors – An array of traditional (tensiometers and WaterMark) and advanced (neutron probe, TDR, and capacitance probes) soil moisture sensors for monitoring soil water content and pressure potential. Current sources of funding include Cotton Incorporated, South Carolina Cotton Board, and Irrometer Company.
A Large Automatic Rainout Shelter – To study the effect of irrigation regimes and drought stress on crop water use, yield, and water use efficiency with funding support from Clemson University (URGC-University Research Grant Proposal) and South Carolina Cotton Board (under construction).
Irrigation System Equipment, Upgrade, and Automation – Use of precision irrigation, variable rate irrigation, and Low Energy Precision Applicators (LEPA) are among the advances currently under investigation at Edisto.
Climate Monitoring - Edisto is one of two sites selected in South Carolina to host a state-of-the-Art NOAA US Climate Reference Network station (station name: SC Blackville 3 W) with automated measurements of air temperature, humidity, solar radiation, soil temperature and moisture, leaf wetness, and rainfall. (see data).
ScAgMet – Edisto is the lead Center in developing the first network of automated agro-meteorology stations across South Carolina. When completed, this new network called SC Agricultural Meteorology (SCAgMet) network is to include a minimum of 46 stations (one per county). The first station is to be installed at Edisto in fall 2009, with additional funding from the PeeDee R.E.C. to install two stations in the PeeDee area. Initial funding and sensor donation is provided by Southern Regional Water Resource Project, North Carolina State Climate office, Raleigh, NC, and Clemson PeeDee R.E.C. Soil & Water/Irrigation Management Research
Seven center pivot and 5 lateral irrigation systems are now available for use by projects to insure that drought conditions will not interfere with normal test procedures. An additional 4 lateral systems have been installed and modified for use in projects comparing effects of various irrigation regimes or for development of irrigation systems and sensors. Soil & Water/Irrigation Management Research
The greatest asset the Edisto R.E.C. has continues to be the land itself. The station consists of over 2,300 contiguous acres of land typical of the Savannah Valley and Coastal Plains regions of South Carolina. Approximately 1/3 of the station land is suitable for row crop and horticultural production. Another 1/3 is used for pastures and hayfields by the Cattle Program and the remainder of the land is in wetlands, roads, buildings, and cattle facilities. The station is managed to provide optimum usage for applied Research and Extension programs in row crop production, vegetable production, beef cattle and forage production, irrigation engineering, and precision agriculture. Seven Center Pivot and nine Lateral Irrigation systems are present on the Edisto R.E.C. to insure adequate test conditions even in a drought year and to be used as part of test protocols. All of the fields are in coordinated rotation schemes aimed at maintaining soil productivity and minimizing the development of soilborne weed, nematode, disease, and pest pressures. Return to top.