Energy savings theme at MU Delta Center field day, Sept. 2

The University of Missouri Delta Research Center will host its annual field day Sept. 2, at Portageville in the Missouri Bootheel.

“We’re going to continue our theme from last year, ‘Farming for the 21st Century,’ but look at new topic areas,” said Jake Fisher, superintendent of the Delta Center. “Technology is changing so fast, and we’re trying out a lot of new technologies here at the farm.”

With high fuel costs, saving money on the farm will be a focus of several tour stops, he said.

The field day will feature four tours, each with three stops, covering cotton and corn; energy and agriculture; soybeans; and pest control.

The cotton and corn tour will feature Peter Scharf, MU Extension nutrient management specialist, on variable-rate nitrogen application in cotton using on-the-go sensors; Felix Fritschi, MU plant physiologist, on variation in early vigor of cotton; and Earl Vories, agricultural engineer with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, on how to predict when fields are suitable for rain-fed corn production.

The energy and agriculture tour will feature Jim Heiser, MU research associate at the Delta Center, on how to save water and fuel using a pivot system to irrigate rice; Joe Henggeler, MU Extension irrigation specialist at the Delta Center, on ways to reduce irrigation costs from on-farm pumps; and Gene Stevens, MU Extension agronomist at the Delta Center, on the potential of sweet sorghum as an ethanol crop.

“The energy and agriculture tour is new this year,” Fisher said. “The cost of irrigating fields has really gone up with higher fuel costs. The cost of pumping water is what we’re really concerned about, so we decided we’d better talk about that at the field day.”

The soybean tour features Grover Shannon, MU plant science professor, on conventional soybean breeding at the Delta Center and how non-Roundup Ready beans can increase profits; Allen Wrather, MU Extension plant pathologist at the Delta Center, on soybean rust in Missouri; and David Dunn, supervisor of the Delta Center soil-testing laboratory, on mid-season potash management in soybeans.

The pest control tour will feature Kelly Tindall, MU research entomologist at the Delta Center, on Dectes stem borer and other pests in soybeans; Kevin Bradley, MU Extension weed specialist, on pre-emergence soybean herbicides; and Robert Byrd, USDA wildlife specialist, on managing blackbird damage.

For more field day information, contact the Delta Center at (573) 379-5431.

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