Since the early days of the University of Illinois, agronomic research has been conducted on or near its campus. From 1876 through 1931, most field research was conducted on what we know as campus proper. This involved work on the Davenport Plots, which were located directly east of the Morrow Plots. (The Davenport Plots were sacrificed in 1930 to allow the expansion of Goodwin Avenue.) From 1920 through 1936, the Department of Agronomy used the lands west of the stadium to the Illinois Central tracks.
The development of the present research farm can be traced back to the turn of the century; field operations began here in 1903. The original Agronomy Farm consisted of the 80 acres that lie directly south of the Seedhouse. Since then, the area - which came to be known as the South Farms - has expanded slowly but steadily in size to its present 800 acres. But the Seedhouse, completed in 1930, still serves as the headquarters for farm operations.
In 1984, the farm operations of the Department of Agronomy were combined with those of the Department of Plant Pathology. In 1995, the college reorganized, merging those two departments into one unit: the Department of Crop Sciences. When this occurred, the research facility also received a new name, becoming the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center (CSREC).
The CSREC's mission is to provide land, equipment, and facilities for plant/soil research in a field laboratory setting close to the University of Illinois campus. The CSREC assists scientists and extension personnel by providing a central place from which to plan, coordinate, and conduct field research. It supports on-campus teaching by providing field laboratory facilities for graduate students, as well as by educating undergraduates through work and field trip experiences.
Extension and international agricultural efforts are strengthened by organized field days, special tours, and training sessions to meet the needs of the agricultural community. The annual Agronomy Day provides a direct link between the agricultural grower, the consumer, and the research scientist.
The first Agronomy Day was held on June 27, 1957. It had the same objective as Agronomy Day today, that is to communicate research results that will benefit our clientele.
Enjoy your visit to the CSREC today. We invite you back at any time to view ongoing research projects.
Agronomist and Superintendent
Department of Crop Sciences