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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2009
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 Thimbnail of soil

November 2, 2009

AFSRC scientists are studying the effects of pasture management practices on the transport of nutrients and pathogens to ground water. This block of pasture soil shows numerous macropores that were found to be important for transport of Cryptosporidium oocysts to the subsurface. Results of the study were recently published.

 Thumbnail of employee showing his butterfly collection at WV State Fair

August 24, 2009

AFSRC’s presence in the West Virginia University building at the 2009 West Virginia State Fair generated a great deal of interest among many age groups. These state fair visitors were enthusiastically interested in the insect collections of Harry Godwin, Biologist.

 Thumbnail of employee collecting water sample

August 17, 2009

Derek Hall, Physical Science Technician, collects drainage water samples from plant microcosms. A variety of plants are being tested for their abilities to attenuate the movement of fecal coliform bacteria and metals beyond the root zone. The plants are also being tested for their abilities to survive repeated flood and drought cycles encountered in stormwater biofiltration systems.

 Thumbnail of employee labelling sample pots

August 10, 2009

Laura Cooper (Biological Science Technician) labels pots in preparation to study the drought hardiness and ability of various plants to filter contaminants from stormwater in bioinfiltration (rain garden) systems. Bioinfiltration systems are receiving a great deal of attention for management of stormwater runoff and AFSRC scientists are studying plant resources collaboratively with the USDA-NRCS Appalachian Plant Resources Center and constructed soil technologies to optimize the performance of the systems.

 Thumbnail of tourgroup

August 3, 2009

Dr. James Neel, Research Animal Scientist, discusses AFSRC silvopastoral research during a field day held as part of the conference Appalachian Workshop and Research Update: Improving Small Ruminant Grazing Practices. The workshop and field day were held collaboratively with Mountain State University. The workshop proceedings and speaker presentations are available for download at the AFSRC website.

 Thumbnail of employees weighing pots

July 13, 2009

AFSRC and West Virginia State University scientists are collaborating with NRCS Appalachian Plant Materials Center, Alderson, WV to test the drought tolerance of several species of plants considered possible candidates for use in biofiltration systems, commonly referred to as rain gardens. Gary Lambert, Agricultural Science Research Technician, takes notes as Jeff Peele, Biological Science Technician, weighs the growth pots.

 Thumbnail of sheep in Silvopasture

July 6, 2009

AFSRC scientists are studying silvopastoral systems for Appalachia. Silvopastoral systems provide landowners with a dual crop system. These sheep are benefitting from the lush spring forage growth under thinned Appalachian hardwoods.

 Thumbnail of pots in rain garden study

June 8, 2009

Dr. Amir Hass, a Post-doc Soil scientist with AFSRC collaborator West Virginia State University, has established a procedure at AFSRC for evaluating and selecting plants with qualities desired for use in stormwater biofiltration systems commonly referred to as rain gardens. 

 Thumbnail of two horses interested in data collection activity

May 26, 2009

While evaluating introduced forges for their response to amendments on a mine reclamation site, Biologist Harry Godwin, receives forage palatability comments from two ‘locals.’


 Thumbnail of pasture showing various growth stages

May 18, 2009

This photo represents part of a rotational grazing scheme used for the Pasture Finished Beef Research Project being conducted in Monroe County, West Virginia at the West Virginia University Willow Bend farm. As the steers, seen on the right side of photo, deplete the forage supply in one strip, they are moved to an adjacent strip as seen by the varying stages of the regrowth on these three strips.

Thumbnail of bluegrass showing guttation

May 11, 2009

Bluegrass leaves are displaying the process of guttation, which is the exudation of liquid water from the uninjured surface of a plant leaf. Bluegrass is a component of the mixed native pastures being utilized for beef cattle research in Monroe County, WV on the West Virginia University Willow Bend Research Farm.

 Thumbnail of sheep peering from behind a tree

May 4, 2009

Each spring brings a new flock of sheep to the silvopasture research sites at AFSRC. The sheep are initially cautious as they familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. This sheep decided it was best to keep track of the photographer from behind a tree.

 Thumbanil of team discussing research

April 27, 2009

Teamwork is a component of any successful research program. AFSRC has a multidisciplinary team of scientists and a technical staff with varied sets of knowledge and skills. The multidisciplinary nature of AFSRC personnel provides the teams that can most efficiently conduct research and solve problems affecting Appalachian agriculture, the environment, and rural issues. In this picture Dr. Douglas Boyer, Hydrologist, is teamed with Derek Hall, Physical Science Technician, and Laura Cooper, Biological Science Technician, for studying issues related to hillslope hydrology, livestock grazing, and water quality. This team works with a broader team of scientists and technical staff assembled to design environmentally benign grazing management practices, which capitalize on the dynamics of herbage growth in complex terrain.

  Thumbnail of colorful samples of plant extracts

April 20, 2009
These extracts of plant samples will be subjected to ORAC analysis. The samples in the picture are from Acai sp., Artemisia annua, Lespediza cuneata, and Oregano sp. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), is a measure of the overall antioxidant capacity of a plant material. Antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, flavenoids, and certain tannins are believed to block or retard the formation of oxygen free radicals which are believed to play an important role in aging. Thus, it is believed by some that foodstuffs with high ORAC values might be beneficial in slowing the aging process in people and animals. AFSRC scientists are identifying non-traditional plant resources and associated management methods with potential to enhance nutrition and health of small ruminants produced in central Appalachia.

  Thumbnail of employee using microscope

April 6, 2009

Nematodes (Caenorhabditis elegans) are a common internal parasite of ruminants in central Appalachia, especially sheep and goats. The nematodes are being used as indicators to assess the potential of different forages and combinations of functional plant groups that would destroy or severely limit their reproductive capabilities in animal guts. J. Mark Peele, Biological Science Technician, is checking to make sure that nematodes growing in a nutrient broth are still alive and well.

  Thumbnail of award winner and sponsor

March 23, 2009

Successful research programs usually have a team of support personnel that make the research possible. AFSRC is no exception and is fortunate to have a highly-qualified and motivated support staff. Mr. Kelly Alley, Maintenance Worker, was recently honored at a national awards ceremony where he received the 2008 Administrative and Financial Management Support Award for Excellence Gold Award for his ‘exemplary efforts to reduce energy costs and protect natural resources through conservation and recovery practices’. Mr. Alley was sponsored by Dr. Joyce Foster, Research Chemist, when she was serving AFSRC as the Acting Research Leader

  Thumbnail of cardinal, junco & chickadee

February 23, 2009

As spring approaches, winter is slow to end in central Appalachia. These wild birds (Northern Cardinal, Dark-Eyed Junco, and Black-Capped Chickadee) congregate in an apple tree near bird feeders. Arrival of spring will start new plant growth and replenish fresh food sources for livestock and the local wildlife.

  Thumbnail of Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Dr. Orus Bennett

February 16, 2009

The Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center opened in 1980 as the Appalachian Soil and Water Conservation Research Laboratory. A great deal of personal initiative by U. S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, the Center’s first Laboratory Director, Dr. Orus Bennett, and others made the opening possible. Senator Bryd said in his 1980 dedication speech for the new research laboratory “By applying out technological and scientific skills, it will be possible for us to produce more life-sustaining food and energy from a more limited resource base.” Those words are still reflected in the Center’s mission statement.

  Thumbnail of employees preparing samples from a sinkhole

February 9, 2009

AFSRC is well-known for it’s expertise on soil nutrition and karst hydrology. In a study of spatial distribution of soil nutrients in karst sinkholes, Derek Hall, Physical Science Technician, operates a tractor mounted soil sampler while a former AFSRC employee and Laura Cooper, Biological Science Technician, prepare the samples for transport back to the research laboratory where chemical analyses will take place. Edward Lester, Agricultural Science Research Technician, operates the tractor.

  Thumbnail of field

February 2, 2009

Although AFSRC is dealing with midwinter snow depths of several inches, plans are well underway for the new growing season that is quickly approaching in central Appalachia. Forage growth to be stockpiled for next winter will begin in a few short weeks.

  Thumbnail of employees collecting samples with a lysimeter. January 26, 2009

A renewed national interest in energy issues emphasizes some of the AFSRC’s history of groundbreaking research on the safe and efficient use of coal combustion by-products as soil amendments. This vintage photo shows a former support scientist and Mr. C. E. Lynch, Biological Science Technician, collecting samples from lysimeters used to study coal combustion by-products used as soil amendments. AFSRC scientists are still researching uses for coal combustion by-products by developing and testing approaches to modifying the rhizosphere through constructed soils utilizing agricultural and/or industrial by-products as amendments for amenity grasses

  Thumbnail of sheep in icy pasture

January 19, 2009

Winter in central Appalachia is harsh and can stress the region’s livestock. AFSRC scientists are developing small-scale ruminant production systems for the humid temperate Appalachian Region by managing interactions among forages, environment, and grazers. Adequate nutritional supplies of stockpiled forages will relieve the stress on small ruminants carried over winter.

  Thumbnail of employee working in greenhouse

January 12, 2009

AFSRC scientists are studying non-traditional plant resources for grazing ruminants in Appalachiaand identifying plant resources and plant management strategies that can help control gastrointestinal worms which infect small ruminants. Forage plant research in controlled environments like greenhouses is important because it provides fast results for narrowing down the most promising treatments for field scale evaluation. In this photo, Biological Science Technician Sean Green is growing prairiegrass (Bromus catharticusVahl.)seedlings that will be used to study the ecology of the free-living stage of the small ruminant gastrointestinal worm Haemonchus contortus.

  Thumbnail of prototype stemflow collector

January 5, 2009

AFSRC scientists are studying dissolved organic compounds in Appalachian in pasture, silvopasture and forest soils. This prototype mobile stemflow collector mounted on a sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree is filled with a dark and rich-colored resulting from one winter rainstorm. The stemflow will be analyzed for phenolic and tannin content.

AFSRC Picture Gallery, 2011

AFSRC Picture Gallery, 2010

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2008

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2007

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2006

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2005

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Last Modified: 5/5/2011