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Elsberry Plant Materials Center (MOPMC)
Serving areas in the States of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri

Established: 1934
Size: 243 acres
PMC Operation: NRCS
Land Ownership: NRCS

Mollie Herget, agronomist, evaluating seed production in a field of Ozark Germplasm little bluestemThe Elsberry Plant Materials Center (MOPMC) develops plants and new planting technologies for Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. The area includes; glacial till prairies, Mississippi valley; loess hills, Iowa and Mississippi deep loess heavy till plains; thin loess hills and plains, Mississippi valley slopes; and the Ozark highlands.

The priority resource concerns for the MOPMC are water quality and soil health.  In recent years, the focus has been on soil health, primarily looking at the benefits of a reduced tillage with a cover crop component.  Major land uses include corn, soybeans, cattle, and swine farming. Other resource concerns are cropland erosion, livestock forage production, shoreline/streambank erosion, point sources of pollution from concentrated animal by-products, wildlife habitat and wetland loss; and non-point pollution sources from agricultural lands.

The Center has developed more than 80 conservation plants including sideoats grama, big bluestem, prairie coreopsis, pale purple coneflower, thickspike gayfeather, tall dropseed, and stiff goldenrod. Technologies for hay and pasture management, native plant establishment, windbreaks, and wildlife habitat are developed.  There has been a shift in the work at the MOPMC from conservation plant releases to information technology and trying to provide answers to questions NRCS field staff have.



Promote the use of reduced tillage and increased plant coverage on the soil

  • Comparing cover crop seeding rates to the cover crop standard
  • Plants developed for conservation cover to promote plant diversity, such as pollinator habitat
  • Evaluating selected cover crops in new tree plantings 
  • Evaluating selected cover crop varieties to determine which work best for the service area


Develop Forages for Pasture, Hay and Biofuels to Provide Permanent Cover

  • Released Ozark Germplasm little bluestem for the southern service area (southern MO and IL) and finalizing the release of a northern selection of little bluestem for the northern service area (IA and northern MO, IL)
  • 'Cave-in-Rock' switchgrass, 'Rountree' and 'OZ-70' big bluestem, and 'Rumsey' Indiangrass improve summer forage for livestock and provide wildlife habitat, while controlling erosion.
  • Evaluate perennial warm-season grasses for vegetative barriers and herbaceous wind barriers.


Control runoff and increase wildlife habitat

  • Evaluating cover crops in a corn and soybean rotation and how it affects water quality and soil health
  • Native shrub species, 'Midwest Premium' American plum and 'Sun Harvest' American hazelnut provide field borders, wind breaks, and wildlife food and cover.
  • False indigo bush is a wetland species used for wildlife habitat, streambank stabilization, and upland covey headquarter plantings for quail.
  • Multiple use native species developed for native mixtures. 'Cuivre River' Virginia wild rye used for filter strips and wetland berms, and little bluestem and Grayhead coneflower used for upland buffers.

Elsberry Plant Materials Center
2803 N. Highway 79
Elsberry, MO 63343
Shipping address: 1/4 mile south of Elsberry
Phone: (573) 898-2012
Fax: (855) 830-4761