Saturday, July 8, 2017

Ag PhD Field Day Learning Center Preview

So last Thursday I went on a Fertilizer Mission to Baltic, SD, the home of Hefty Seed Company and the Ag PhD Field Day coming up in three weeks.  AgroLiquid has shown at the field day for a number of years, and has always had some plot demos.  Well this year the plot has grown into a Learning Center.  What's that?  Well we have teamed with FMC, Farmers Edge and Hypro to provide a multi-team approach to learning more about various aspects of crop inputs.  Here is a view across part of the Learning Center showing soybeans, corn and sunflowers. There are also sugarbeets, date of corn planting (which will have a root pit), planter problems on corn emergence, interactions of crops and crop protection products, and probably lot's more.  It will be extra good because Stephanie and intern Adam went out in May to help get it established.  There will be a good staff of people from all of these partners to give a good overview of what is happening.  
 The guy in charge of getting the whole Field Day established for all vendors is our friend Glenn Herz from Hefty.  He is giving Retail Partner Chad Schlechter and I an overview of the Field Day layout.  I have never been here prior to the Field Day.  Usually we just show up and it all  looks great and ready to go.  But like everything, there is plenty of work in getting it that way, and Glenn does a great job every year.  
 At the Learning Center, there is a date of corn planting demo and the last date was the day we were there.  This is to see corn development all at the same time.  There is also another plot of different crops and the effects of different herbicides and other crop protection products on growth. Sort of a mode of action demo.  Glen is planting that below.  That wheat in the background will be the parking area.
This is a view from the Learning Center corn plots looking at the other crop demos below.  Varieties, crop protection, tillage, genetics and other ag aspects will be shown to the many thousands of visitors in just three weeks.  Of concern is the weather.  Well that is always a concern, but it is so hot and dry.  It was in the mid-90's when I was there, and calls for 100+ in the upcoming days.  And no rain before or after in the forecast.  Fortunately it was wet in May, in fact planting was delayed until May 18.  So the heavy soil is retaining far.  But I wasn't in the heat of the afternoon.  But I'm optimistic the Learning Center and entire Field Day will be great as usual come July 27.
There was one more task to complete.  I wanted to collect some soil samples from several of the sunflower plots here for some Haney Soil Health evaluations.  There are different nutrient inputs that may have an influence on soil health, so I will take some samples, send them off and find out. Although the dry conditions may have an effect, we will see and learn, which is why it's a Learning Center.  Chad is kind enough to bring me a small shovel and more importantly, some water.
I also had a chance to visit with several of the Hefty agronomists, Darren Hefty before the radio show, radio show producer Janelle, and the always delightful Marketing Director Matt.  So it was a good day.  See you at the Learning Center on the 27th.