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A visit to the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility – Audio


Tom Schwab
University of Wisconsin-Madison
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility

Total Time- 3:01

0:18- Research at the station

0:35- Focus of the station

0:53- Specific projects going on

1:03- What is rust disease?

1:23- What does rust disease look like?

1:45- The future of the station

2:11- Attributes of the station

2:29- The turf industry

2:49- Lead out




Sevie Kenyon: Tom, give us an idea of what kind of research goes on here at the station.

Tom Schwab: We’ve got soil science, horticulture, entomology, and plant pathology work going on here. At the present time there’s probably fifty different studies going on on the facility.  There’s just so much going on.

Sevie Kenyon: Tom maybe you can give us an example of the main focus of the station.

Tom Schwab: To serve the profession, so that the sports field managers, golf course superintendents, sod farms, lawn care companies, and of course homeowners, and anybody else that needs turf grass information. We try to serve everybody in the industry.

Sevie Kenyon: And can you give us an example of a research project going on out here?

Tom Schwab: A recent one that we just started this summer is looking at different rust. A disease that affects turf grass and it can be real bothersome and if it gets severe, it can do severe damage to turf grass. And in the past we just thought a certain rust was hitting turf grass, and now we’re finding out that there’s four or five different rusts that infect turf grass and we’re trying to map which ones do the most damage and where they’re located throughout the state.

Sevie Kenyon: While we’re talking about that, can you describe what rust does, what it looks like?

Tom Schwab: Rust tends to show up on grass when it slows down. These rust colored pustules show up on the outside of turf grass and until you get the grass growing again they can be unsightly and can do this damage to turf grass.

Sevie Kenyon: Tom maybe you can give us a little idea of where the station is going to go in the future.

Tom Schwab: Well it’s going to continue to do more and more studies, more environmental studies. Of these fifty studies that are going on, every one has an environmental component to it cause we want to maintain turf grass that can withstand drought better, use less pesticides and fertilizer. Breeders are breeding grasses that don’t need as many inputs.

Sevie Kenyon: And Tom maybe I can get you to paint a little picture of the station here.

Tom Schwab: We’re located in Verona, right next to University Ridge Golf Course. It’s about twelve miles west of campus. We started out as thirteen acres twenty five years ago. We’re now up to twenty-five acres, which I think will serve the industry for a long time in the future.

Sevie Kenyon: And Tom maybe give us a little snap shot of the turf industry here in the state.

Tom Schwab: It’s a billion dollar industry, and employing thirty thousand people throughout the state. So it’s about the fourth biggest agricultural industry in Wisconsin. The turf industry is growing, and very bright for the future, and we hope to keep serving Wisconsin’s citizens.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Tom Schwab, Superintendent of the O.J. Noer Turf Grass and Research Education Facility, University of Wisconsin, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin, and I am Sevie Kenyon.