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About

Address

167 East Alabama Highway 134,
Headland, AL 36345

Directions

The WREC is located at the intersection of Alabama Highway 134 and U.S. Highway 431 North.

Office Hours

7:30 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

FACILITIES

Public meeting facilities are available for ag-related groups.

Staff

Larry W. Wells
Director, Research/Extension Ctr
PO Box 217
Headland, AL 36345
brian-gamble
Brian E. Gamble
Associate Director, Ag Rsch/Extension Center
PO Box 217
Headland, AL 36345

Specialists

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Kris B. Balkcom
Research Associate IV
Wiregrass Station
P.O. Box 217
Headland, AL 36345
william-birdsong
William C. Birdsong
Extension Specialist
PO Box 217
Headland, AL 36345
334-693-3800
rickey-hudson
Rickey G. Hudson
Regional Extension Agent III
PO Box 217
Headland, AL 36345
334-693-2010

The Wiregrass Substation (now known as the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center) was founded in 1929 at Headland, Ala. Early work concentrated on cotton and corn, the traditional crops of the region, but the peanut crop soon began to absorb most of the research work at the station.

After WWII farmers in the southeastern portion of Alabama steadily turned toward the cultivation of peanut as it became the primary cash crop in the region. AAES researchers used the Wiregrass land to address a host of problems associated with peanut production, including mechanical harvesting studies that reduced labor requirements for successful cultivation from 30 hours to only four hours per acre.

During the 1950s and 1960s areas of peanut research included mechanization, insect and disease control, storage and marketing. An extensive peanut storage project was conducted to provide information for farmers, peanut handlers, and warehousemen on maintaining peanut quality during storage. Also during these decades work was conducted on mechanizing cotton harvest.

A study in the 1980s found that the seeding rate for peanuts could be reduced without a significant reduction in yield or net returns.

The foundation peanut seed organization is currently handled at Wiregrass.

The Wiregrass Substation was one of the first five 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.