Bayer Environmental Science Launches Plant Health Lab

Bayer Environmental Science recently dedicated a laboratory at its Research and Training Center to study methods of evaluating and measuring plant health. The laboratory was established as part of a plant health initiative Bayer has launched in cooperation with North Carolina State University (NCSU).

As part of this collaboration, a post-doctorate turfgrass researcher from NCSU is working fulltime at the new laboratory. Dr. Danehsa Carley, a researcher with NCSU Agronomist Dr. Tom Rufty’s lab, now works at the Clayton facility.

The laboratory includes equipment for measuring photosynthesis and root biomass, as well as methods for visually evaluating plant health. In addition, areas on the four-hole golf course at the turf farm adjoining the research facility have been designated for turf quality evaluation.

“Our goal is to establish a center of excellence for plant health evaluation,” says Dr. Nick Hamon, director of research and development for Bayer Environmental Science. “We plan to identify parameters which best characterize improvement in plant quality. In addition, we will develop methods to quantify the effects on turf and ornamentals in a laboratory and field environment.”

The Clayton Research Facility, located 40 miles from Raleigh, N.C., sits on a 281-acre farm dedicated to the study of turfgrass weeds, diseases and insects. It has 10 interconnected greenhouses, as well as facilities for studying urban pests such as termites and cockroaches. With a new conference center that can accommodate up to 100 guests, the facility now hosts many global and national team meetings.

“We view this collaborative effort as a significant event in the turfgrass program at N. C. State University,” said Dr. Rick Brandenburg, professor of entomology at NCSU. “The opportunity to exchange ideas, share facilities, train students and collaborate on novel technologies at facilities within a few miles of each other is one that any program would be excited to be a part of.”

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