Monday, August 13, 2012

Research Field Days Are Underway!

So this past week was the first of our seven Research Field Days at the North Central Research Station.  The tours consist of a morning session rotating amongst six different "hands on" type of demonstrations.  The one that I was hosting was root digs, where we dug up around corn roots that had different fertilizer programs.  So last Monday, Doug got a mini Track hoe from one of our plot sponsors (Miller Brothers Excavating) and dug out the soil between plot rows.
Then it was my job to wash the soil from the roots to see if there were differences.  There were.
We had ten different fertilizer plots where we dug out the roots.  Besides roots, we also observed effects on ear development and stalk height, which is what that white PVC pipe is for.  It told a pretty good story.  I may do a feature on this in the future.
The first tour on Tuesday was great.  We had a good crowd and good weather.  But the second tour on Thursday had a good threat of rain, and so we had several charter flights postpone their visit.  But wouldn't you know it, despite some occasional drizzle and a little mud, it was a good day to be in the field.  Farm Guy welcomed our visitors.
After a great and filling lunch break, it was time for the research plot tours to give visitors an idea of all of the new things being researched at the NCRS.  With the cancellations due to weather, we combined the groups into one tour.  So I got to see what Tim and Stephanie were saying.  Below Tim talks to the group about the sugarbeet plots. 
And here he is talking about the Navy Bean plots.  Now only a few in the tour group grow these crops, but there is always something to learn.  I think growers like to see other crops anyway.  Tim did a great job of explanation, calling on his many years of USDA plot work in these crops.
Below Stephanie talks about soybeans and the different foliar programs and products being tested here at an experiment on Farm 7.  Stephanie is a tour pro, this being her 13th season at the NCRS.  I'm sure that whatever she said was true and correct.
Here is a strip-till plot where the nitrogen was purposely left off for a few feet at the end of a plot to show the effects of no N.  OK, maybe it wasn't on purpose, but it makes a nice demonstration.  That N source here is our experimental nitrogen product N-10 which may be a new product someday soon.
There was plenty too see and comments from the visiting growers has been very positive so far.  We will take a week off and then have three more the following week.  In the meantime, I am off on another fertilizer mission and hope to provide updates here in the days to come.  Have a great week.