Agricultural Science A.A.S.
Instructional Soil Testing Lab
The Instructional Soil Testing Laboratory was officially inaugurated on 12 February 12 1997 by then president of Morrisville State College, Dr. Frederick Woodward. The laboratory is operated and managed by college students as part of their hands-on learning experiences. A five-member student board of directors runs the laboratory. The Board is appointed by the members of the Agronomy Club. The Instructional Soil Testing Laboratory is the only known soil lab that is operated and managed by college students.
Teaching and Research Farm
The Teaching and Research (T/R) Farm at Morrisville State College is located in close proximity to campus. The students who take soil and crop science classes use this farm as an outdoor laboratory. At the farm, they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in their classes. In addition, the students pursue research projects at the farm, interpret their data, and present their results at the annual meeting of the College's Agronomy Club.
The T/R Farm includes a gamagrass project where students are evaluating the effect of various crop covers on protecting gamagrass against freeze and thaw that damages this grass. It is a cooperative project between the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and Morrisville State College. The principal investigator of this project is Dr. Paul Salon from the USDA's Big Flat Plant Material Center in Corning New York. Two additional projects are being conducted by researchers from Cornell University. The first project entails trials on corn hybrids, conducted by Dr. William Purdy, while the second is on alfalfa by Dr. Julie Hanson.
The Morrisville State College Dairy Complex
Many state-of-the-art facilities exist on the campus of Morrisville State College. A freestall dairy complex was constructed in 2001. This dairy facility houses 200 milking cows and is being used for teaching, demonstration, and student projects. It is equipped with an electronically-enhanced milking parlor and student-managed computer system. In addition, two heifer barns were recently constructed along with a new calf barn. In addition, the construction on a new show barn has just been completed. These facilities along with a plug-flow anaerobic digester for handling animal waste and producing electrical power provide a tremendous learning environment for our students.
Students in the Animal Science - Dairy A.A.S., Dairy Management B.Tech., Agricultural Business A.A.S., and Agricultural Science programs utilize these facilities. Many of these students also visit, analyze, and evaluate progressive dairy farms and agri-service operations and attend a variety of university/extension and industry-sponsored conferences. These enable the students to apply concepts learned in their classes and provide them with valuable work experiences. Morrisville State College also owns more than 500 acres of cropland to grow their own forages.
GPS or Global Positioning System is being used in a variety of applications: from airplane navigation to precision farming. It utilizes specially-coded satellite signals that can be processed in a GPS receiver, thereby enabling the receiver to accurately mark its position. Morrisville State College operates a GPS/GIS computer laboratory to train students in this cutting-edge technology. The students use the laboratory to gain hands-on experiences on both GPS and GIS. The laboratory (located in 208 Bicknell Hall) is equipped with 16 state-of-the-art computer systems that run both ArcView GIS 3.3 and ArcGIS 9.1 (both a product of the ESRI).
Students who take precision farming, soil and crop science, photogrammetric mapping, and GPS/GIS classes use 204 Charlton for a variety of exercises and projects including field mapping and GIS. The students also collect GPS data using a variety of GPS systems (more than 18 Garmin GPS 12 and Magellan GPS 310 units) including real-time and post-processing differential GPS (DGPS). The real-time DGPS systems include a couple of Trimble GeoExplorer 3.0 units with a beacon-on-a-belt for receiving differential corrections from the USCG beacons. Numerous WAAS-based DGPS systems are also available for classroom instruction, laboratory exercises, and class projects. These include Garmin GPS 72, Garmin GPS 76, and Standard Horizon NAV 40 real-time DGPS systems. A post-processing DGPS system is also available. The Ashtech system is comprised of a roving unit and a base station located in Charlton Hall (computer software is utilized in this case to differentially-correct the collected GPS data). Finally, a John Deere GreenStar precision farming is also available for both teaching and demonstration. The system includes a StarFire GPS receiver that allows for real-time differential corrections of GPS measurements based on signals from a satellite or the WAAS operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Anaerobic Methane Digester
Anaerobic digestion can minimize odor, generate biogas, and allow more effective nutrient use by crops. To realize the potential energy, environmental, and cost saving benefits of anaerobic digestion, farmers need information to evaluate the energy, labor, land, and equipment costs.
The anaerobic digester project at Morrisville State College involves the design and construction of a hardtop plug-flow digester. The digester biologically treats dairy manure and other organic waste generated on campus to produce a stable effluent with improved physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. In the system, biogas (about 60% methane) is produced, captured, and combusted to generate heat and power using a 50 kW engine/generator set. A boiler that runs on either biogas or propane is also used to heat water during the startup phase of the system and anytime the engine generator set is not running.