MSU researchers have received grants to do further study on primocane raspberries, black walnut trees and Norton grapes.

Missouri State University's Darr College of Agriculture was awarded the three grants by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The program supports the enhancement of competitiveness of specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, according to its website

This year, the program gave $60.5 million to 678 sub-projects in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Missouri Department of Agriculture received $374,584.77 for 12 projects across the state.

The three MSU projects received a total of $79,356. They will be carried out at its Mountain Grove campus, which serves as the State Fruit Experiment Station, according to a news release. 

"I'm confident these projects will provide valuable information for producers raising these crops in Missouri and beyond," Ronald Del Vecchio, dean of the Darr College of Agriculture, said in a news release.

The primocane raspberries project received $13,200. Research from this project, led by Marilyn Odneal, will allow farmers to potentially add a profitable crop to their farming operation by rotating primocane raspberries in and out of high tunnel greenhouses. The trial is in its fourth year and is expected to conclude in 2019.

Jennifer Morganthaler leads a project that evaluates irrigation as a possible means of increasing black walnut tree growth. This long-term project received $16,568. The study will provide data on the potential production of black walnut trees in locations where they are not native.

The third project will test DNA from Norton grapes in grape hybrids to create crops that could grow better in colder climates. The study could increase production of a crop that is usually limited during cold temperatures, and it could strengthen the partnership with the wine industry as well. Chin-Feng Hwang and Li-Ling Chen lead the project and received $49,588.

Supervising editor is Taylor Blatchford.

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