Southwest Research and Outreach Center - Lamberton, MN

Southwest Research
and Outreach Center

23669 130th Street
Lamberton, MN 56152

Phone: (507)752-7372
Fax: (507)752-5097

Welcome to the Southwest Research and Outreach Center

Dr. Albert Sims named SWROC Director of Operations


The Southwest Research & Outreach Center (SWROC) is pleased to introduce its new Director of Operations Dr. Albert Sims, Ph.D. Sims brings four years of experience as Director of Operations at the Northwest Research & Outreach Center (NWROC) in Crookston, Minn., to the SWROC. He will serve as Director of Operations at both the NWROC and SWROC, splitting time between the two locations.
“There will be challenges splitting my time between the two places, but finding solutions to challenges is what we do. Though I will still participate in some research, I have essentially traded two jobs at one location for one job at two locations,” explained Sims. “I am honored to be a part of the SWROC team and look forward to getting to know and work with the faculty and staff at the SWROC and those we serve in southwest Minnesota.”

Prior to being named Director of Operations at the SWROC, Sims spent half his time in an administrative role and the other half on research. His research at the NWROC focused on nitrogen and phosphorus management associated with sugar beet and spring wheat production.

Sims holds a doctorate in soil science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh and both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees are in agronomy from University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He joined the NWROC in 1995, earned tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 2001, and was named the NWROC’s Director of Operations in October 2010.

Sims replaces Pauline Nickel, who retired from her position as head of the SWROC after 19 years of leadership. “Pauline has been a great administrator of the SWROC,” Sims said. “Though it will be difficult to fill her shoes, I know I am becoming the director of a ship that is already headed in the right direction.”

Winter Crops & Soils Day to be held at 3 locations February 3-4

The Southwest Research and Outreach Center will host Winter Crops and Soils Day Tuesday, February 3 in Luverne and Wednesday, February 4 in both Lamberton and Granite Falls. Winter Crops and Soils Day is a public event highlighting current University of Minnesota research that is specific to southwestern Minnesota. Leading experts from the University will be on hand to present information and answer questions.

Speakers from the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus and Research and Outreach Centers will cover topics including understanding risks when reducing pest management inputs in corn and soybeans, improving waterhemp management, input management related to soybean production, phosphorus movement from fertilizers to waterways, factors impacting crop production and profitability. Speakers are: Bruce Potter, Tom Hoverstad, Dr. Paulo Pagliari, Dr. Seth Naeve, and Don Nitchie.

SWROC’s Winter Crops and Soils Day is open to the public. The event’s $30 registration fee covers handouts, refreshments and lunch. Pre-registration is required. ´╗┐Continuing education units for certified crop advisers will be provided in the areas of Integrated Pest Management (1.0 CEUs), Professional Development (0.5 CEUs), Nutrient Management (0.5 CEUs) and Crop Management (0.5 CEUs). 

Winter Crops & Soils Day will also be held in two locations during the month of March. Watch for more details on these events on March 17 in Olivia and March 19 in Fairmont.

Click here for more information & to download the registration form.

SWROC now accepting applications for Summer Plot Technicians


The SWROC is now accepting applications for Summer Plot Technicians. High school & college students are encouraged to apply, with students studying Agronomy, Soils, Environmental Science & related fields preferred. Students normally work 40 hours per week Monday-Friday & assist in preparation, planting, caring for, sampling, and harvest of crops & collection of research data. Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled & interviews will begin in March.

Download the full job description & application here.

SWROC Head Pauline Nickel Retires  

After 19 years of leadership at the University of Minnesota Southwest Research & Outreach Center (SWROC), Pauline Nickel retired from her position as Head at the end of 2014. Passionate about providing strong education programming, Nickel will continue working at the SWROC on a part-time basis to provide leadership of K-12 education outreach programs and develop new models in her retirement.

swroc2014paulineAs Head of the SWROC, Nickel has created extensive models of outreach supporting diverse audiences. All models focus on content areas fundamental to the vitality of rural communities and support the University of Minnesota’s statewide goal to enhance K-12 education and support Minnesota’s rural communities.

Nickel coordinated the first ConnectU workshop in 2001. Today, ConnectU continues to offer professionals working with children, youth and families the opportunity to connect with University resources without having to travel outside the region. Other successful education models developed by Nickel at the SWROC include the ten day Improving Teacher Quality summer workshop for teachers which includes the option for participating teachers to earn three graduate credits, the University on the Prairie program for high school students interested in science, and the Fall Elementary Field Day held for fourth grade students each September.

In 2010, Nickel began her efforts to fund an endowed chair focusing on research, extension and education effort of production agriculture in southwest Minnesota. This position would ensure responsive collaboration in support of agricultural industries and production agriculture while working with the Southwest Research and Outreach Center. Nickel has raised over $2 million dollars during the past four years in support of this endowed position, which was filled in August 2014.

Nickel began her career with the University of Minnesota in July 1962 as an Extension Agent in Cottonwood County. In March 1973, she left to pursue other opportunities but returned to Extension in April of 1983 as the Watonwan County Extension Director. Nickel was named the Southwest District Extension Director, based out of the Southwest Research and Outreach Center, in July 1987. Nickel’s administrative and programmatic experience for Extension and her connections to southwest Minnesota made her a natural fit to be named Co-Head of the Southwest Research and Outreach Center in October 1995. She took over as Head of the SWROC in October 1997.

The Southwest Research & Outreach Center has been fortunate to have a dedicated leader like Pauline Nickel as Head for nearly two decades. A passionate leader, she has served as an advocate for southwest Minnesota and will continue to support rural communities and rural vitality in her retirement.


Field Crop Trials website updated 

2014 Minnesota Field Crop Trials reports area now available: Click here. Trials include alfalfa, corn silage, barley, corn grain, oat, wheat - hard red spring, wheat - hard red winter, canola and soybean.

Corn Grain & Corn Silage Performance Trial Results Available 

Results from the 2014 University of Minnesota corn grain & corn silage performance trials are now available:

Daily Weather

2015 Summer Student Plot Technicians

SWROC is now accepting applications for 2015 Summer Plot Technicians. Click here to download the full job description & application.

2015 Drainage Design Workshops 

This year's Extension Drainage Design Workshops will be held in three locations and registration is now open. Click the following link for more information: 2015 Drainage Design Workshops

2014 Minnesota Field Crop Trials 

Results of the 2014 Minnesota Field Crop Trials are available here.

Wheat, Barley & Oats Variety Preliminary Report

A 2014 Wheat, Barley, and Oats Variety Performance in Minnesota Preliminary Report is available from the U of M Extension Service, CFANS, & the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

FairRent at CFFM

FairRent is a free web-app from the Center for Farm Financial Management that allows farmers to quickly and easily evaluate land rental decisions. Use it to evaluate cash, share and flexible rental arrangements.

Insecticide Resistance Management in Soybean

´╗┐Insecticide ´╗┐(and miticide) resistance is a heritable decrease in a pest population's susceptibility to a pesticide, meaning the genetics are passed from generation to generation. As pest populations become less susceptible to a pesticide, the utility of that pesticide becomes less and less effective to a point where the pesticides may become effectively lost as tools for management of that pest. Read the entire Extension Fact Sheet "Insecticide Resistance Management in Soybeans" (pdf) to learn IPM strategies recommended for insect and mite pests in MN soybeans. This face sheet was written by Robert Koch and Ian MacRae, Extension Entomologists, as well as Bruce Potter, IPM Specialist.