Friday, August 24, 2012

Big RFD* Week (*-Research Field Days)

So this was a busy week with three Research Field Days at the NCRS.  With three this week and two before, that makes....wait a!  And the headcount is nearly 400 visitors to date.  There are two more on September 11 and 13, so there is still time if you want to make a visit.  When the NCRS staff gets all dressed up in our new shirts, this makes a good picture opportunity.  So on Tuesday morning, we smiled and posed for 1/400th of a second with the results below.  There is another version on the website, so I put this one here where far more people would see it.  In case you don't know, from left to right are Tim, Stephanie, Brian, New Tim, Doug, Ron, me, Phil and Dan.  When you look this good, of course the tours will go well!  (I have a lot of pictures on this posting, so you better be sitting down.....)
Every morning there is prep work to get things ready for the tour.  One job at the potato stop is to dig potatoes from the different fertilizer treatment plots to show.  Here are Tim, Dan and Brian doing that.
Last time I showed pictures of the afternoon field tour.  But in the morning are six "demonstration" stops where a different aspect of crop fertilitiy is featured.  The crowd is divided up and makes the rotations.  Here we see Field Agronomist Jay from Indiana help out with showing and explaining corn plots treated with different nitrogen fertilizers and rates.
Stephanie discusses the effects of different planter fertilizer placement on corn and soybeans.
Also at this stop Doug shows the different fertilizer placement options on our plot planter.
Brian had had a variety of topics at his stop including aspects of fertilizing transplants, in this case, butternut squash.
Navy beans are an important crop, but not many growers on the tour actually produce them.  So Tim gave a nice presentation on edible bean growth, as well as some fertilizer aspects.  In this case he shows the effects of foliar fertilization with ferti-Rain.
Growers always have a bunch of questions about everything from fertilizers to soils to general crop growth.  Here at the Q & A stop, our chief know-it-all Cory gives explanations of how it all works.
And at my stop on effects of different fertilizer P and K products and programs on corn growth, I show roots, ears and corn plant height.  There were some dramatic differences, especially here where there was no added P and K.  The corn was over 14" shorter with samller ears and roots than other P and K fertilized plots.  (Certainly worth the trip right there.)
On Wednesday we were happy to see that Mr. Darren Hefty had made the trip to the NCRS, accompanied by his son.  Darren said he enjoyed the tours and his son said he enjoyed the ice cream and candy bars.
Poor Darren.  There is no escape from the paparazzi even at the NCRS.
During the morning Troy prepared another batch of 2-cylinder ice cream.  That's Troy in the brown shirt on the left making sure nobody tries to get an early taste.
After the morning demonstrations, it was time to eat.  The meal was great, barbeque brisket and chicken.  And ice cream.
Our lunch entertainment was provided by our lunch sponsors.  Here is Jim from the Responsible Nutrient Management Foundation, or the RNMF if you prefer.  His message was to the effect that we need to get science behind farming practices before the uninformed non-farming public implements regulations.  Farm Guy agrees with Jim.
Another day featured Darrell Bruggink of the No-Till Farmer magazine talks about their publication and especially the National No-Till Conference coming up in January in Indianapolis.  He said that the last conference had over 900 attendees, a record.  Liquid fertilizer is a partner in this conference and attends every year.  See you there.  Farm Guy might even be there.
And after lunch there was a riding tour of some of the research plots around the NCRS.  At the stops we hoped to impress upon the grower visitors the vast amount of research that is conducted to support both existing products and practices, as well as the development of potential new products for the future.
So that was a week.  We will get rested and ready to do it again in September.