Research at Bradford

cover cropsEach year, 34 MU and USDA-Agricultural Research Service faculty members in various disciplines establish more than 25,000 plots at the Bradford Research Center.

Visit our videos page for some of the latest research projects.

Bobwhite quail management

Bradford has taken an active role in wildlife management with an emphasis on bobwhite quail management in a modern agriculture setting. One such project is examining alternatives to standard forage crops that are beneficial for wildlife and livestock.

native plant - black-eyed susanNative plant research and conservation

Due to the increased interest in native plants in landscaping and conservation during the past decade, researchers at the University of Missouri have initiated projects to evaluate the potential use of native plants as living mulches, forage, landscaping and conservation to provide food and cover for wildlife.


Biofuels research is in demand, and Bradford teams with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop mixes of native grasses, forbs and legumes that will provide sustainable biofuel production that is wildlife friendly and can be used by livestock.


A recent addition to Bradford Research Center are the Rainout Shelters where researchers across many disciplines can study drought and heat stress. These buildings actually move over the designated area within 70 seconds when as little as 0.02 inches of rain occurs. This research is important as MU researchers lead the way to feeding the world’s booming population.

Research at Bradford Research Center consists of:

  • 60% applied: Research that can be used directly by the farmer. This includes crop production, weed and other pest control, forage production, horticulture and soil fertility.
  • 30% genetics and breeding: Development of new varieties of wheat, soybeans, corn and forages with emphasis on increased quality, yield and nutrition.
  • 10% basic: The backbone of new discoveries in agriculture, though several years away from actual farm use. Examples include plant protection, plant physiology/genomics and molecular biology.

shrimpNew Initiatives

Additional projects are being established continuously, including work with algae and salt water shrimp, organic agriculture, and environmental sciences as well as renewed interest in cover crops.

The MU Gene Zoos and Crop Gardens are exciting places where you can view the diversity of some of the plants that are important to humans living in Missouri and the world. We have selected six groups of plants that serve human needs for food, feed, energy, and industrial products.

kale_bradford_0001Organic Agriculture

Organic agriculture has become a growing trend in the Midwest and across the country. Researchers at Bradford are working on improving efficient management practices and finding the best crops for producers out there. Visit our Organic Agriculture page for more information.

Hops Research Planting

Interest in hops has grown with the dramatic increase of craft brewers around the country and in Missouri. In 2017 a ¼-acre hop ‘yard’ was established at Bradford. There were more than 15 cultivars in the planting, and documenting the yield and quality characteristics of these cultivars were the main objectives. Three field days were held in 2017 and 2018. A report on the project and supporting documents are provided below.

2017 & 2018