Skip Navigation

History of the Rutgers Plant Science Research Extension Farm

The Plant Science Research and Extension Farm, often referred to as the Adelphia Farm, is a 206-acre facility that has been owned by NJAES/Rutgers University since 1962. It was originally an active dairy farm. In 1965, the first agricultural field day was held at this farm for the agriculture community hosted by the Soils and Crop department of Cook College/NJAES. At that time, they had large programs in cereal crops, forages, soybeans, corn, weed science, and soil fertility.

During the 1980's the turfgrass breeding program started to expand under the direction of Dr. C. Reed Funk. As the farmland in the area began to be used for housing the need for better turf was growing. The Adelphia farm was the ideal site to develop more drought, heat, and pest resistant cultivars of cool-season grasses. The landmark cultivars Manhattan perennial ryegrass as well as Adelphi, America and Midnight Kentucky bluegrasses were developed at Adelphia. This program was recognized from its inception as a very productive and leading program. In 1996 Dr. William Meyer became the director of Turfgrass Breeding at Rutgers. Under his leadership, this program has evolved into the leading turfgrass breeding program in the world. It also maintains the largest germplasm pool of cool-season turfgrasses available for breeding.

At the Adelphia farm there are currently omore than 36,000 individual turf plots under evaluation. Over 25 acres are used each year for spaced-plant nurseries for seed production and clonal germplasm evaluation. Since the inception of the Rutgers Turfgrass Breeding Program, more than 500 improved cultivars have been developed and marketed in cooperation with the seed industry.