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Marion Junction, Dallas County, Ala.
Land Area: 1,116 acres
Major Soils: Houston clay, Sumter clay and Vaiden clay
Rolling prairie land and unique soil formations make the Black Belt Research and Extension Center in Marion Junction an excellent location for research on beef cattle and forages. The BBREC’s primary research focus is in the areas of grazing and animal breeding.
Beef cattle — Effects of early weaning on two-year-old heifers
Forage production — Influence of stocking rate and density on the nutritional quality of Dallisgrass
The Black Belt Research and Extension Center (formerly known as the Black Belt Substation ) at Marion Junction was established in 1930 and immediately focused upon restoring soil fertility to this much-abused land in an attempt to establish pastures to encourage the livestock industry.
The substation was the site for dairy demonstration units in the 1940s and for beef cattle nutrition research in the 1970s.
In the 1970s, researchers at the center were the first to associate poor cattle performance with endophyte fungus in fescue. That discovery resulted in new management strategies that allowed producers to dramatically increase weight gain in their herds and, subsequently, boost their profits.
Beef cattle, dairying, forages, soybeans and other crops adapted to the area continue to receive research emphasis.
BBREC was one of the first substations established in Alabama by the Legislature to create research facilities in five main areas of the state: Tennessee Valley, Sand Mountain, Black Belt, Wiregrass and Gulf Coast. Three of the five went into operation in 1929: The Tennessee Valley Substation at Belle Mina, the Sand Mountain Substation at Crossville and the Wiregrass Substation at Headland. The remaining two, the Black Belt Substation at Marion Junction and the Gulf Coast Substation at Fairhope, began operating in 1930.
History adapted from the following publications:
Kerr, N.A. 1985. A History of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station: 1883-1983. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama.
Yeager, J. and G. Stevenson. 2000. Inside Ag Hill: The People and Events That Shaped Auburn’s Agricultural History from 1872 through 1999. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama.
Last Updated: October 13, 2011