The Experimental Field of the College of Agricultural Sciences offers an area of 507 ha equipped with Modules for Research and Learning (fruit growing, horticulture, sheep production), and Production Modules which are representative of the farming activities in the region (dairy farming, cattle and swine production, and agriculture). The proximity of these facilities to the classrooms and labs supports the teaching, research and extension activities, giving our institution a distinctive feature among other universities throughout the country.
Agricultural Production Module
This area has 77.8 ha devoted to crop rotation under a continuous no-till cropping system. The crops grown are the predominant ones in the region, and the sequence is: early soybeans followed by late wheat/soybeans, and then corn. The rotation in the dairy farm module includes soybeans in four of the nine years of the rotation.
Cattle Production Module
The main activity developed in this Module is breeding of Polled Hereford cattle. The herd is made up of 63 cows and the calves are sold upon weaning. Occasionally, in order to take advantage of favourable prices, intense fattening of the calves has been carried out. This activity is developed in an area of approximately 60 ha in the nor
Dairy Farm Module
The area devoted to this activity ranges between 90 and 100 ha in different years. Currently, the cattle herd is made up of 120 cows. Heifers are reared in the same field. The feeding resources include semi-permanent grasslands, green fodder, corn silo, corn and commercial feeds. The milk sold to local dairy factories gets the highest premium price.
Research Land Plots
Used for different research trials, services, and also for teaching purposes. Since 2001-2002, two crop rotations under no-till and minimum tillage systems are carried out in the teaching plots. They are used for teaching purposes, especially for the Soil Management, Cereals and Oilseeds, and Edaphology subjects.
Fruit Growing Module – Fruit Orchard
This area has a great variety of pome, stone, citric and other types of fruit trees. It is used for didactic and research purposes.
Area devoted to growing different horticultural species, both in the field and in greenhouses, using different technologies. This Module serves didactic purposes, and research and technological development activities.
It consists of a flock of 250 animals which are part of research projects aimed at improving the quality of lamb meat. A new genotype of lean lamb was obtained by the selection and crossing between the Ideal and Texel breeds under a CIURN project started in 1986. This genotype was registered under the trademark Magrario® – ‘The lean lamb of the College of Agricultural Sciences’- in 1999.
Swine Production Module
It consists of an open-field production system with some confinement stages (reproduction, gestation and grow-finishing). The group of mothers is made up of 30 sows. The module covers the full production cycle until the barrows reach an average weight 100 kg. This weight is obtained in 163 days on average. The area devoted to this activity is 4.3 ha.
The agro-meteorological station
The Zavalla Agro-meteorological Station was set up in 1973 by an agreement between the Rosario National University and the National Meteorological Service (SMN). It is managed by the faculty in charge of the Agricultural Climatology Department at our College.
It covers an area of 2,500 sq m, and is located at 33º01’ South latitude and 60º53’ West longitude, at an altitude of 50 m above sea level.
Since it is an agro-meteorological station, three daily observations are carried out. The variables measured are: effective heliophany (hours of sunshine) and cloudiness, air temperature (medium, maximum, and minimum in shelter, minimum temperatures in the open, soil temperature, air humidity (in shelter), wind intensity and direction, atmospheric pressure, rainfall (amount in 24 hours), depth of water table, number of hours of wet foliage, evaporation (in shelter and using evaporation tanks).
The data gathered is sent every month to the SMN along with the recording strips; the same data processed with AGROMET is sent to INTA Castelar, the institution that developed the software in 1992 and distributed it to each meteorological station.
Since 1973 the Agricultural Climatology Department publishes a monthly Meteorological Bulletin which includes all the data specified above. It is printed in paper and also stored as a spreadsheet in magnetic tape. This material can be consulted at the College library, at the Department office, or can be requested by subscription. The Department also offers a
weather and climate information service.
Started in 1982, it is used to study the vegetation dynamics after the field is no longer disturbed for any activity. This exclosure is used for teaching and research, especially by the Ecology and Agricultural Zoology Departments. Periodical evaluations and control of the progress of native species are carried out.
Flora in the Villarino Park
The park is an outstanding plant and animal biodiversity sanctuary in a region. About 160 species belonging to 47 plant families are found in the park, and species from different geographical areas coexist here. Native plants such as ‘tipa blanca’ (tipuana tree; Tipuana tipu), ‘lapacho’ (Tabebuia hetaphylla), ‘guarán’ (Tecoma Stans) and ‘tarco’ (Jacaranda mimosifia) are found growing next to exotic plants such a ‘bluegum’ (Eucalyptus globules), cedar, pine trees and London planetrees (Platanus hispanica) (Garcia R., 2002). This exceptional habitat is used for recreational purposes by local people and visitors from neighbouring cities.
The flora has been thoroughly surveyed and described by teachers and researchers at the College of Agricultural Sciences. A thorough survey was carried out in 1995 by Roque García, Leonor Dip; Mabel Esponda; Martha Gattuso, PhD; Maria Lusardi; and Jorge Mc Cargo, teachers of the Systematic Botany Department. It was updated in 2006 by Roque García.
The professional who has studied the park fauna most deeply is Carlos Périgo, who is also a teacher at our college. He has described about 55 different, both native and medium- and long-distance migratory species. The species move around the park and the surrounding area, utilizing both as feeding, reproduction, and shelter sites.