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Sunbelt Ag Expo to open its research farm, invites farmers to come see

The Sunbelt Ag Expo is opening up its farm July 13, and farmers are invited to come see, hear and learn practical information.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo is opening up its farm July 13, and farmers are invited to come see, hear and learn practical information from the region’s top agricultural scientists about the newest farming technologies farmers can use to improve their operations this year and for years down the road.

Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day will be July 13 at the Darrell Williams Research Farm, located at the Expo show site at Spence Field in Moultrie, Ga. Registration is free for the half-day event for anyone who works in agriculture, and the day starts at 7:15 a.m. with breakfast followed by quick welcomes from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Farm Bureau.

Shuttles will be loaded at 8 a.m. to tour the farm, where 30 stops are scheduled with specific time allotted for each stop and crop, designed to make the most efficient use of time for the day and attendees. Farm Credit will provide water for the tour. Tour shuttles will return to the main building by noon and Ameris Bank will provide a lunch. For those who wish to stay longer, sponsors and company representatives will have booths setup where the shuttles unload passengers. There will be door prizes awarded, too.

The Sunbelt Ag Expo 600-acre research farm is the ideal place to investigate and demonstrate the best tools and practices used to grow important Southern crops in the most profitable, environmentally-sound ways possible, said Chip Blalock, executive director of the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

“On the Darrell Williams Research Farm, we are able to put together a unique blend of academic and corporate research in row crops and forages. Field Day is a one stop shop for the latest innovations in seed varieties, crop protection, soil fertility, water management and precision ag. For instance, with seed varieties, farmers can compare and contrast and already be thinking about which seed varieties they will plant the following year,” Blalock said. “Field day provides farmers a chance to see up close and personal the latest in agronomic technology. Farmers can hear the presentations on the tour before lunch and then are welcome to go back into the fields after lunch and take an up close look at the crops of their choice. They can touch and feel it, which you can’t do on the internet.”

University of Georgia researchers and Extension specialists conduct numerous trials at the Sunbelt farm for all major Southern agronomic crops. UGA Cooperative Extension specialists for cotton, soybeans and peanuts will be at the field day to talk strategies to better use fertility, manage disease and pests, and the best varieties to use when and where on a farm.

Herbicide resistance continues to be a major focus for cotton in the region. UGA weed specialists plus company representatives will talk about management strategies now to deal with the issue plus what is coming down the pipeline to help growers win the battle against hard-to-control weeds.

Corn remains a staple crop for the Southeast, fitting nicely into growers’ sustainable crop rotations and management strategies.

Monsanto representatives will be on the tour to showcase six top DeKalb corn varieties. Pioneer will also discuss six of its popular corn varieties. Dow Agrosciences will spotlight four Mycogen hybrids.

Fertilizer tests are being conducted on corn and most other crops being grown at the Expo. Maximizing plant nutrients use is a top priority for growers who want to shoot for a varieties top potential yield.

Southeast farmers showed a renewed interest in cotton in 2017 with acreage increasing slightly compared to the previous two to three years, mostly due to improved market prices. Cotton genetics and variety packages have also gone through resurgence with new technologies becoming more widely available and adopted by growers in 2017. The region’s best cotton varieties, based on annual variety tests across the Southeast, will be a primary draw at this year’s field day.

Bayer cotton experts will discuss six of their new Stoneville varieties. The Expo farm is a part of Monsanto/Deltapine’s New Product Evaluator program and many of the same varieties being grown by 200 or so farmers across the Cotton Belt will be shown during the field day.

Americot has developed new varieties that have performed well in OVT testing in the Southeast, and several of their new varieties will be on display at the field day.

Dow’s Phytogen brand cotton has made a push in the Southeast in recent years and company representatives will highlight six Phytogen cotton varieties during field day stops.

The Expo farm has several large-plot soybean OVT variety trials each year. Monsanto and its AsGrow brand soybean seeds will be planted and company representatives will discuss production opportunities for soybeans in the Southeast. Dow will have CZ varieties available for inspection. Pioneer will have six its soybean varieties in the test program at the Expo Farm.

Stoller will have three cotton and three peanut plots for inspection. Forquimica will have two peanut plots.

“A farmer can’t take a risk and just go out and plant a lot of acres of a variety based solely on hearsay. What we can do at the Expo is make it a place where they can come see new varieties and technologies in action on a farm, ask questions and see what they think about it firsthand. We can help take the risk out of how they might use or plant a new variety or better manage a variety they already grow,” said Cody Mitchell, farm manager for the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

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