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Welcome to the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center


The Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center (TAREC) is located in the coastal plains region of southeast Virginia in Suffolk.  The center’s resources include 336 acres of agricultural land and associated buildings, equipment and laboratories.    

Applied research and Extension education programming at the Tidewater AREC is focused on economically important field crops including cotton, soybean, peanut, corn, small grains and alternative crops, and on commercial swine production.  Within program areas, emphasis is directed toward sustainable production that considers profitability for producers and processors along with quality of food and fiber products, and soil, water and air protection.  This mission is carried out by six resident faculty members supported by 18 state and grant funded technicians.  Seasonal part-time workers, graduate students and student interns funded primarily through research grants also support programs at the Tidewater AREC.   

Work is directed at real-world agricultural problems.  For example in collaboration with faculty on campus, researchers at the Tidewater AREC are developing cultivars of peanuts that are genetically resistant to sclerotinia blight, one of several economically important diseases of peanuts.  The TAREC plant pathology group also issues crop disease and frost advisories throughout the growing season; does extensive work in developing safe, effective approaches to controlling seedling and foliar diseases in cotton, corn, wheat and soybeans; and provides essential plant disease diagnostic service to growers, Extension agents, and crop consultants throughout the region and state.  An ongoing monitoring program is currently in place for early detection of soybean rust, a new crop disease working its way into Virginia.


The entomology team at the Tidewater AREC uses an IPM (integrated pest management) approach in developing systems to manage current and emerging insect pests of field crops.  Research programs determine economic treatment thresholds, new and safer insecticide treatments and cultural practices to control such pests as thrips and stink bugs in cotton, southern corn rootworm in peanut, and Lepidoptera caterpillar species in cotton, corn and soybean.  A new project is monitoring and preparing for an emerging insect problem, the soybean aphid, which is moving into soybean producing regions of Virginia and has potential to cause economic damage to this important crop.  

Scientists and technical staff at the Tidewater AREC have extensive programs in crop variety evaluation and development.  There are official variety assessment programs for cotton, soybean and peanut and cooperative programs with campus faculty for assessment of corn, wheat and barley.  Data collected in these programs are used extensively by growers, Extension educators, seed companies, and consultants to select crop varieties with the greatest potential for profitable yield, grade and quality.  Other work focuses on tillage and crop rotation systems to conserve soil moisture, prevent erosion and reduce weed competition to the crop.  A developing problem that is being addressed by researchers is prevention and control of herbicide resistant weed species such as Palmer Amaranth.  A new line of research is focusing on developing drought and cold tolerance traits in peanuts and other important field crops.

Animal scientists based address issues in commercial swine production including such areas as controlling excess nutrient excretion and waste management techniques that minimize potential for negative environmental impact.  The swine physiologist is developing management and nutritional approaches for improving swine fertility in artificial insemination (AI) programs used on commercial hog farms.  For example, a recent project demonstrated improved fertility in AI systems when breeding boars are supplemented with a unique source of the mineral selenium.  The work also demonstrated improved selenium retention and reduced excretion by the animal, factors with potential benefits in nutritional value of pork and in environmental protection.  Other work focuses on health and management of weanling pigs and determining physiological and welfare characteristics of housing systems for breeder swine, a current topic of debate and change in commercial pork production.