University of Georgia, College of Ag and Environmental Sciences will showcase their latest research at Field Day 2017
By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
MOULTRIE, Ga. — World-renowned research by University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences scientists will be featured at this year’s Sunbelt Field Day in Moultrie, Georgia.
More than 600 acres of agricultural research conducted by various UGA commodity teams, as well as industry, will be on display during the field day, which is set for Thursday, July 13, at the Darrell Williams Research Farm, located at the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo site at Spence Field in Moultrie. The event is free and registration will begin at 7:15 a.m. Trams depart for the field tours at 8 a.m. and the event concludes at noon.
“This year’s field day will continue to focus on the latest cotton, peanut, corn and soybean seed varieties, crop protection, soil fertility and irrigation. We will also have a bermudagrass variety plot as well as alfalfa plots,” said Chip Blalock, executive director of the expo. “The goal of these research plots is to identify the best practices for our farmers and ranchers to (use to) become even more economically and environmentally sustainable.”
The field day will feature 30 stops; talks from UGA scientists like Stanley Culpepper, Glen Harris and Dennis Hancock; and will focus on commodities like cotton, peanuts and forages.
Agriculture remains the top industry in Georgia, with a farm gate value of $13.8 billion in 2015. With $713 million in farm gate value, Georgia ranks second in cotton production in the country, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. Georgia’s peanut production accounted for $684.6 million in farm gate value, leading the nation. Georgia row and forage crops generated $12 billion of the state’s economy in 2015 and employed more than 80,000 people.
The research done at farms across Georgia, like Sunbelt, contributes to the success of Georgia farmers.
Glen Harris, UGA Cooperative Extension soils and fertility specialist, focuses the majority of his research at the expo farm on cotton. Harris studies the effects of fertilizer treatments, specifically sulfur-based fertilizers, foliar potassium and sidedress nitrogen fertilizers.
“To be able to do research at Sunbelt is really valuable because the crew here is so easy to work with, and it’s also a very visible place. A lot of people know where Sunbelt is and come by,” Harris said. “Sunbelt is absolutely valuable to our work. Some of our studies wouldn’t be possible if not for the cooperation and help that we receive here.”
Managing weeds is a constant battle for farmers throughout the South. Research efforts at the expo farm involve maximizing weed control through new and old cotton technologies, minimizing cotton injury by herbicides and better understanding the volatility potential of the new auxin herbicides.
“The expo is unique in my research program because I am provided an opportunity to do large-acreage-plot research that more closely represents our growers. Additionally, the assistance from the expo staff is priceless,” Culpepper said.
Hancock’s UGA research team is involved in forage demonstrations and research activities at the expo farm. They will demonstrate alfalfa’s performance with bermudagrass, a plot that is in its 11th year of research. The forage team also conducts several weed management trials on expo farm plots. More recently, the UGA research team started a bermudagrass demonstration that highlights several varieties and their relative susceptibility to the bermudagrass stem maggot.
“It’s right in the middle of the season for us and it’s a good opportunity to see what our producers are facing at that point. The great thing about the expo is that you’ve got a large number of folks who are coming through, getting a lot of different pieces of information at one time and really covering the whole range of agricultural production,” Hancock said. “It’s a really good opportunity for them to get the latest products that are being studied at UGA and across the industry.”
Blalock concurs and believes that attendees will enjoy hearing from and talking with the UGA researchers who are helping to improve their farming practices.
“That’s the beauty of field day. We try to limit it to 30 stops on the tram tour, but when field day is over and they’ve had time to visit with the researchers during lunch, then they have the option to go back out to the fields and visit even further,” Blalock said.
“This is the one time of year when we focus on seed variety, crop protection, fertility, irrigation. While we already have this year’s crop in the ground, people can come see the new technologies and start making input decisions for the following crop year. They know when they come to field day, they’re going to see the latest technologies that are going to help their bottom line on the farm,” said Cody Mitchell, expo farm manager.