Sunbelt field day to feature natural resources

Two natural resources linked to farming — land and water — will highlight the 2003 Sunbelt Expo Field Day, scheduled for July 15.

A “living” wildlife management area, created last year and sponsored by Southern Forestry Consultants, The Wildlife Company, The Quality Deer Management Association and BASF, is devoted to the integration of economic land use — forestry and farming — with wildlife, recreation and environmental concerns.

A 9-acre tree plot will compare survival and growth rates of popular tree varieties and the effects of weed control. A wildlife food plot sponsored by Monsanto, and new this year, will give visitors the opportunity to learn how biotechnology and conservation-tillage contribute to managing agricultural areas in ways that benefit wildlife and the environment.

Another study examining the dual use of land will be a part of the Field Day tour. Research scientists conducting a grazing trial — in its third year — will share results about the costs and returns of joining winter beef grazing with summer crop production, rotating cotton and peanuts. Cattle weight gain and the effects on the soil are two factors being evaluated.

Addressing another valuable resource, Field Day will host an on-site demonstration of an irrigation water meter system, covering the how-to basics of installation and operation. With news coverage of voluntary, or possibly required, monitoring of water use, this topic is particularly timely. However, the exact figures produced by the simple metering system also make it an important management tool, particularly for those with irrigation software programs.

Field Day — a preview of the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in October — offers an in-depth analysis of seed varieties, chemical applications, irrigation options, precision agriculture and forestry/wildlife for cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum.

A tour of fields in covered shuttles begins at 8:30 a.m. EST, followed by a complimentary lunch including a grand prize and door prizes. The event is held at Spence Field in Moultrie, Ga., located on Highway 133, three miles southeast of U.S. Highway 319.

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