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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

Biological Technician, Nick Adams (left) and Soil Conservationist, Allen Casey (right), collecting soil bulk density samples for the “Effect of Mixed Species Cover Crops on Soil Health” study.The Elsberry Plant Materials Center (MOPMC) develops plants and new planting technologies for areas of 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.

Major land uses include corn, soybeans, cattle, and swine farming. The primary resource concerns are soil erosion, water quality, cropland erosion; low forage production; shoreline/streambank erosion; point sources of pollution from concentrated animal by-products, storm-water run-off and waste water; 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.



Develop Forages for Pasture, Hay and Biofuels to Provide Permanent Cover
  • '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.
  • Forage Quality Testing of Warm-season Grasses Species Used for Pasture and Hay promotes the use of native warm-season grass.
  • Evaluate perennial warm-season grasses for vegetative barriers and herbaceous wind barriers.
  • Switchgrass for Biomass Production By Variety Selection and Establishment Methods for Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa, provides information on growing switchgrass for biomass.


Control runoff and increase wildlife habitat
  • 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.
  • Wear Tolerance Evaluation of Vegetation in High Traffic Areas at Ft. Leonard Wood provides recommendations to the Department of Defense military training sites.
  • 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.


Increase use of native plant material for government and non-government programs
  • Multiple native plants developed for roadside plantings, prairie restoration, wildlife, and urban landscaping. Partnerships are established with other agencies in developing ecotype programs.
  • Central Region Seedling ID Guide for Native Prairie Plants used by landowners and conservationists for NRCS programs, education, and by homeowners.
  • Plants developed for conservation cover to promote plant diversity, such as pollinator habitat.
  • Compatibility of species with seeding mixtures of native grasses, forbs, and legumes based on seeds per square foot.

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