University News

Alternative Crops Field Day July 21

July 19, 2005

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TO: Editors and News Directors

FROM: Darcie Shinberger
University Relations

DATE: July 19, 2005

RE: 2005 Alternative Crops Field Day

Neither blistering heat nor drought – or by some slim chance, a downpour – will bring the 2005 Alternative Crops Field Day to a halt at Western Illinois University.

The fifth annual WIU Alternative Crops Field Day will be held from 2 – 4 p.m. Thursday, July 21 at Western's Ag Field Lab, located on Ember Road, directly north of Western's Harry Mussatto Golf Course off of Tower Road.

WIU agriculture associate professor Win Phippen, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Peoria lab, is working on groundbreaking research to domesticate milkweed as a cash crop, as well as create domesticated crops of cuphea, nyjer (NIGH-jure) and okra; these crops will be the focus at the field day.

In addition to field plot tours of commercial and research milkweed plots and other research crops, Fred Iutzi from the Practical Farmers of Iowa will present information on the current efforts in producing flax in the Midwest. Phippen will also give updates on the progress and variety development of nyjer seeds for the birdseed industry, along with the recent developments in the cuphea breeding program. Terry Isbell, research leader of the USDA-ARS New Crops and Processing Research Division in Peoria, will discuss new products from cuphea oils.

This year’s field day will also cover post emergent herbicides for first year weed control in milkweed, plant population, changes across years, environmental influences on milkweed and second year milkweed production in a commercial field.

The field day is open free to the public. Information may also be obtained by visiting

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing