Penn State Researchers, Extension Educators, and Faculty use the 2,200 acres of the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center for workshops, field days, and to study plants, pests, and production practices. Research and educational programs serve to advance our food and fiber systems, benefiting citizens of the Commonwealth and the World. For the 2020 Virtual Ag Progress Days Show this was developed as a supportive resource. For Ag Progress Days 2024, in-person tours will be hosted again. Click on Research Tours on the right navigation for the list of in-person tours and times when they are available in May.

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Tour Descriptions-Virtual Tours of 2020

High Tunnel Research Tour 

  • High tunnels are inexpensive structures used for extending the growing season and improving yields and quality of vegetables, berries, and cut flowers. At Penn State's High Tunnel Research and Extension Facility, strawberries and raspberries are being grown in containers in 15 tunnels with five different types of plastics to better manage plant growth, temperatures, and pests. To learn how to better manage heat load, four additional tunnels are equipped with various types of solar-powered automated venting options, including a ridge vent, roll-up roof, roll-down sides, and roll-up sides. Tomatoes are also being grown in three tunnels to better understand tomato nutrient needs.

Riparian Buffers 

  • What is a riparian buffer? How will it enhance your property and improve water quality in your community? Find out about the benefits of forested and grassed stream buffers as well as how to install and maintain them, see a prairie grass demonstration, and learn how to establish and maintain native grasses with wildflowers for wildlife habitat, biofuels, and more.

American Chestnut Foundation Plantings Tour

  • See American chestnut breeding orchards. Learn about the history and demise of the American chestnut tree, how to plant and maintain chestnut trees, and The American Chestnut Foundation's breeding program and volunteers working to restore the species.

Dairy Beef Feedlot Tour

  • This tour will provide participants with information regarding the practice of rearing Holstein calves for beef. Management and nutrition of calf-fed Holsteins in a feedlot setting will be emphasized. Observe cattle fed by this system. Hear about marketing strategies and techniques for Holstein steer calves. Gather information from, and pose a question to nutritionists, the PA Beef Council, and cattle buyers. This demonstration is being brought to you by the PA Beef Working Group (a collaboration of: Penn State Extension, PA Beef Council, Center for Beef Excellence, and PA Cattlemen's Association) and the PA Department of Agriculture with support from JBS.

Woodlot Management Tour 

  • Woodlots provide a great deal of value, but requires some level of time, commitment, and planning. Every decision and activity raises new challenges and opportunities. Explore Penn State's Demonstration Forest and gain valuable insights into how woods are managed for timber production, wildlife habitat, water quality, recreational activities and research. Forestry and wildlife professionals lead the tours and will be available to answer your questions and find resources to effectively steward Pennsylvania's woods.

Industrial Hemp Tour

  • The objective of the research is to identify the best autoflower and photoperiod sensitive CBD hemp varieties commercially available evaluating their performance in terms of yield and quality in Central and Southeast Pennsylvania.

Tomato Irrigation 

  • The objective of the project is to develop and evaluate the efficacy of sensor-based automated irrigation systems in comparison with conventional irrigation management practices using fresh-market tomato as a test crop under Pennsylvania growing conditions. Sensors measuring soil water potential installed in the root zone and below the root zone are used to decide when to and for how long irrigate the crop. A Decision Support System called GescoN and the web platform developed by Prof. Antonio Elia are used to define when to irrigate and/or fertigate the crop on the basis of local weather conditions and using models that estimate plant growth and plant water and nitrogen uptake.

Penn State Deer Research

  • The Penn State Deer Research Center exists to provide research and educational opportunities for students and faculty of the university, and to share information about white-tailed deer with the public. Over the years, research projects have focused on antler growth, nutrition, repellents and exclosure fences.

Habitat Management for Deer and Other Wildlife Tour

  • This tour will focus on food plots and natural habitat management practices used on public or private property as part of a Quality Deer Management System to improve habitat for many wildlife species while producing healthier and larger deer. Visit habitat demonstration plots in the woodlot and neighboring fields.

Managing Livestock Pastures with Alternative Forages 

  • Join us for in-depth discussion about adaptive grazing management, where tall grass or high-density grazing and the use of diverse cover crops can transform mediocre fields into highly productive ones with optimal soil health.

Managing Equine Pastures and Dry Lots 

  • Gain an understanding of rotational pasture management to help equine operations. We'll introduce you to two non-industry horse farms and talk about grass varieties and managing grass on limited acreage, the benefits of increased pasture management, and designing dry lots and fencing for horses.

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2024 Event Information


August 13, Tuesday 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
August 14, Wednesday 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
August 15 Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center
2710 W. Pine Grove Road
Pennsylvania Furnace, PA 16865


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