Western Illinois University’s Third IPREFER Pennycress Field Day Planned for May 26
The third IPREFER annual Pennycress Field Day will be held from 10 a.m.-noon Thursday, May 26 at the Western Illinois University Agriculture Field Laboratory. Prior to the field day, a ribbon cutting will be held at 9:30 a.m. for the University’s new Agronomy Shed, at 285 Ember Road. There will also be a networking opportunity, with refreshments, from 9-10 a.m.
The WIU Agriculture Field Laboratory is located just north of the Harry Mussatto Golf Course on Tower Road. No registration is required, and the event is open free to the public.
From 10-10:30 a.m., WIU Agriculture Professor Win Phippen will give an update on the previous pennycress growing season. From 10:30 a.m.-noon, there will be a field tour of research plots. Some walking is required to tour the plots, so appropriate footwear is required.
This year’s plots includes trails of breeding lines and wild populations. It will also include details for the timing of spring nitrogen application, and demonstration of the new plot combine and planter. There will be updates from CoverCress, Inc. on the commercialization and supply chain efforts, along with details on their agreement with Bunge.
In 2019, Phippen was awarded a five-year, $10 million bio-fuel federal research grant to investigate pennycress as a new cash cover crop for the Midwest.
The grant is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and is titled, “IPREFER” (Integrated Pennycress Research Enabling Farm and Energy Resilience project (iprefercap.org). The project is addressing breeding, agronomics, ecosystems services, supply chain and outreach activities all associated with commercializing pennycress for the Midwest region. The goal is to produce billions of gallons of biofuel in the next 25 years.
For more information on the WIU project, visit wiu.edu/pennycress.