It’s chilly in south Georgia, and the farm is damp. While we anxiously await warmer spring days and the aroma of freshly turned dirt awaiting the planting of the season’s crops, let’s take a few minutes to think about the prep work that goes into preparing the research farm for the season.
The Darrell William’s Research Farm at the Sunbelt Ag Expo is a 530-acre farm where we grow corn, cotton, peanuts, sorghum, and hay. This will be the 45th year that the team has been leading industry research conducted by University of Georgia agronomists and as well as other ag company researchers.
While most of the research on the farm won’t start for 2022 until the spring, Dr. Glen Harris, UGA Extension Agronomist, is working with the Sunbelt farm manager to conduct a cover crop study. The team is observing three plots – one with rye grass, one with crimson clover, and one with a mixture of both cover crops. They are looking to determine how much nitrogen is absorbed by the cover crop. Cotton seed will be planted behind the cover crop. Differing amounts of nitrogen will be applied during the growing season. At the time of cotton harvest, yields of each plot will be compared to ultimately determine if planting the cover crop in the off season is worth the expense or if it absorbs too much of the nitrogen requiring an increased cost of fertilizer to make the cotton produce a high yield. This is an important study as farmers are continually working to decrease input costs for the purpose of increasing profitability.
Stay tuned this spring to learn more about all of the crops and studies going on at the farm in Moultrie!