Breakout Session Directory 2023

Feb 22, 2022 by Renee McMahill in

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Early Lessons Learned – Delta Regenerative Row Crops

Presented by:  Danny Blalock, Chief Farm Operations Officer, Vayda
Presented by:  Justin Welch, Farm General Manager, Vayda

One year ago, the Vayda team took on a farm near Clarksdale, MS with plans to transform the land into a regenerative row crop operation; not because it would be easy, but because they knew it would be very, very hard.
Join Danny, Chief Farm Operations Officer, and Justin, Farm General Manager, as they share key learnings from their first year in operation and follow along through the many highs and lows of regenerative practice implementation on a historically conventional farm.
Discover how Vayda’s operations informed their experience, ultimately shaping the farmer service offerings available as an exclusive pilot this spring, kicking off at their Field Day on March 8th.

Moving Markets – Developments In The CPG Landscape Toward Regenerative Crop Value

Presented by:  Emily Lafferty, Impact Director, Vayda

Consumers are becoming more aware and invested in the origins and on-farm practices behind their favorite food and fiber products, creating ever growing demand for regenerative production methods and experimental programs for additional grain valuation. However, connecting the dots within agricultural value chains can be both confusing and risky for farmers.
Join Emily Lafferty, Vayda’s Impact Director, on a tour through our food, fiber and farming system to better understand some of the barriers to fully regenerative value chains and how you can be a part of leading initiatives.
For farmers ahead of the curve on Regenerative Agriculture, find out how you can be a part of the first producer groups to access higher-value emerging market opportunities through Vayda’s Regenerative Pathways Program.

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It Takes A Plan To Build A Legacy And An Estate Plan To Protect It

Presented by: Kevin Bearley, Principal, Pinion

The most common regret we see with farm families is not having a comprehensive estate and next gen plan when it’s time to pass the business on to family or transition to new ownership. It’s crucial that you make sure your planning fits with your desires and dovetails in with current and future situations that arise. Pinion estate plan advisor Kevin Bearley will provide an overview of the process, and the benefits of creating a plan that extends beyond having a will and/or living trust.

Turn Your Numbers Into Strategic Business Power

Presented by: Alan Grafton, Principal, Pinion

With the amount of factors limiting farm productivity today, it’s important to hone in on areas for improvement. Pinion agribusiness advisor, Alan Grafton, will discuss steps you can take to evaluate and manage your farm operation profitability to increase your margins and protect your legacy. Learn the recipe for creating true profitability and making valuable decisions.

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The Evolving Landscape Of Row Crop Insecticides

Presented by:  Keith Driggs, Agronomic Service Representative, Syngenta
Presented by:  Tripp Walker, Agronomic Service Representative, Syngenta

Insect pests are a continually evolving threat, and the changing environment makes it even harder for farmers to grow their crops. Syngenta researchers are developing targeted, blockbuster technologies for the crop protection pipeline. This session focuses on managing yield-robbing insect pests to protect valuable row crops.

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New BASF Workhorse Fungicide – A New Solution For Southern Row Crop Disease

Presented by:  Dr. Albre Brown, Technical Marketing Manager, US Agricultural Solutions, BASF

In the south, disease pressure is constant due to the presence of multiple yield limiters such as Cercospora blight, aerial web blight, frogeye leaf spot, target spot, and Septoria brown spot. The new workhorse is specifically formulated for southern areas with consistent disease pressure. It combines the systemic activity and metered residual control of Xemium® fungicide with the flexible application window and broad-spectrum disease control of Revysol® fungicide. These two active ingredients’ work in concert to manage the challenging disease spectrum that threatens southern row crop acres.

Advocating For The Industry

Presented by:  Max Moncaster, Manager of Public and Government Affairs, Agricultural Solutions North America, BASF

Learn about the tools and tactics you can use to navigate an increasingly challenging regulatory landscape. The session will provide an overview of the major forces driving regulatory change and help you understand what you can do about it. At the end of the session, you will be ready to advocate for yourself, your customers and your communities.

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Impacts Of Reduced Insecticide Options In ThryvOn Cotton Landscapes

Presented by: Dr. Tyler Towles, Research and Extension Entomology, LSU Ag Center

Currently, producers face the potential restrictions or complete loss of many insecticide classes commonly utilized for tarnished plant bug control in cotton. However, with the forthcoming commercialization of ThryvOn cotton varieties, a plant-expressed technology known for reducing the threat of tarnished plant bugs, it is important to measure how detrimental losing various insecticide classes would be in terms of yield preservation.

 

Considerations For The ThryvOn Technology In Cotton!

Presented by:  Dr. Rogers Leonard, Owner-Operator, Integrated Crop Consulting, LLC, St. Joseph, LA and Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University AgCenter

It remains difficult for agricultural consultants and producers to select the proper IPM strategy for the current complex of cotton arthropod pests. In fact, with all the issues affecting treatment efficacy, it is remarkable that cotton producers consistently maintain satisfactory control with available products. Several factors including changes in the pest spectrum, insecticide-resistant populations, novel products with uncommon modes of intoxication, the need for co-application of multiple products, difficulty in post-treatment evaluation of performance, and technology costs must be considered in the final selection of the most effective strategies. The recent availability of the ThryvOn technology for management of thrips and tarnished plant bugs is a welcome addition to available technologies in the cotton IPM toolbox. This paper will discuss two years of experiences with ThryvOn and common-sense suggestions for technology use on cotton farms during 2021-22.

Cover Crop Management Factors in a Peanut/Cotton Rotation

Presented by: Dr. Kip Balkcom, Research Agronomist, USDA-ARS – Natl. Soil Dynamics Lab.

Cover crops are a critical component of conservation systems and when combined with conservation tillage can provide benefits to southeastern soils. Unfortunately, cover crops are not free and require time and labor to plant and properly manage to maximize benefits associated with them. Cover crop management considerations with respect to a cotton/peanut rotation will be discussed to enhance return on invest and associated benefits from cover crops.

Using Poultry Litter On No-Till, Skip Row Cotton

Presented by: Nick McMichen, Alabama Farmer

Poultry litter has been a huge fertilizer saving asset for McMichen as he raises no-till, skip row cotton. In the area where he farms, poultry litter is readily available and he finds there’s about a $30 an acre savings in using this process. By applying the litter about 30 days prior to planting he can benefit from the full nitrogen in the litter, he says. He will share his experience of 33 years of farming to help others be more profitable.

McMichen attended Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, AL, with plans to work toward a degree in agronomy and soils. However, an opportunity arose to double the size of the farm, so he left school to pursue that opportunity.

Cotton Disease Identification And Management

Presented by: Dr. Tom Allen, Associate Extension Research Professor, Plant Pathologist

Diagnosing important yield-limiting cotton diseases can be an important first step in determining the necessary management practices. Information on the diagnosis of important yield-limiting cotton diseases will be presented in addition to information regarding important management strategies that are commercially available. The presentation will also include information on some of the resurgent diseases occurring throughout the southeastern U.S. including areolate mildew and target spot.

 

Cotton Fungicide Seed Treatment Considerations

Presented by: Dr. Trey Price, Associate Professor & Agronomic Crop Pathology, LSU AgCenter

Cotton fungicide seed treatments are crucial for stand establishment in the mid-south. Most seed companies have a few fungicide seed treatment options usually with multiple modes-of-action. We will discuss seedling disease pathogens of concern, review all available commercial options, take a look back at historical data, and provide recommendations for economically sustainable seedling disease management during the upcoming season.

Managing Field Variability In West Tennessee Cotton

Presented by:  Dr. Tyson B. Raper, Cotton Specialist, University of Tennessee

Variability within and across West Tennessee cotton fields provides several management opportunities. While variable applications of lime, P and K have become quite common, only a few have adopted variable applications of N and plant growth regulators. Walker Farms produces cotton in Fayette County, TN on variable ground around Longtown Gin. Walker Farms tackles variability in cotton fields from a multi-faceted approach; over the years, they have managed within field variability with variable rate applications of lime, P, K, N and plant growth regulators, among other things. The Walkers also run overhead, row and subsurface drip on their operation. During this session, Mr. Bob Walker, Mr. William Walker, and Dr. Tyson Raper will discuss their experiences and research conducted on these topics.

Evaluation of 60-Inch Row Spacing in Louisiana Cotton

Presented by: Dr. Matt Foster, Assistant Professor, LSU AgCenter

Cotton grown on 60-inch rows has recently gained interest in Northeast Louisiana. Potential benefits include lower input costs, increased light interception, less boll rot, and standardization of equipment with grain crop rotation. To gain a better understanding of variety performance and production practices in the 60-inch row system as compared to a 38-inch row system, replicated field trials to evaluate popular cotton varieties, nitrogen rate/timing, and plant growth regulator rate/timing were established in 2022 at the LSU AgCenter Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph, LA. Currently, data collection is ongoing, and results will be presented at the conference.

A Consultant’s Perspective For Raising Cotton On 60″ Beds

Presented by: Hank Jones, Louisiana Consultant

Several farmers in Louisiana are already growing cotton on 60” beds which are rotated the following year with either 30” corn or 30” beans. “So there’s a dual purpose for the 60” beds,” Jones said. He will detail the data from experiments already done on the system.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Louisiana Tech, and a master’s in entomology from LSU. He has operated a 100-acre research farm and has done contract research for seed and chemical companies for the past 14years. He has been consulting for 19years. He was named Crop Advisor of the Year in 2019.

Managing Early Season Thrips in Cotton: Insecticide Resistance and ThryVon Performance

Presented by: Dr. Sebe Brown, Research & Extension Field Crop Entomologist, University of Tennessee

Tobacco thrips are the most economically important insect in Midsouth seedling cotton. With documented resistance to imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, growers are often forced to rely on foliar sprays of organophosphates or Intrepid Edge. ThryVon, a new Bt cotton technology, has the potential to eliminate thrips oversprays in cotton. This presentation will outline the location and severity of tobacco thrips resistance to organophosphates in the Midsouth and highlight the efficacy of ThryVon technology against thrips.

Managing Plant Bugs On Thryvon Cotton

Presented by: Dr. Ben Thrash, Extension Entomologist, University of Arkansas

This session will cover what to expect with Thryvon cotton and differences in tarnished plant bug management strategies between Thryvon and non-Thryvon cotton. We will also discuss the overall value of this new technology as well as potential changes in thresholds and insecticide programs.

Growing Cotton: Perspectives Of A Farmer And A Researcher

Presented by: Dr. Daniel Stephenson, Professor, Weed Science, LSU AgCenter
Presented by: Tim White, Louisiana Farmer/Consultant, Central LA Crop Consulting

Some years, growing cotton can almost be majestic. Timely rainfall to activate residual herbicides, low insect pressure, ½ to 1 inch of rainfall every 10 days. Seems like a paradise. However, cotton producers do not live in that world. Expensive seed and pesticides. Herbicide-resistant weeds. Multiple plant bug infestations. No rain when you need it and 4inches when you need 1 inch. Even through these problems, producers can successfully produce a cotton crop. To raise cotton, a producer must balance their pocketbook, what their experience teaches, and information provided by university scientists and pesticide dealers. This presentation will focus on the balance that must be struck between what the data says and what can actually be done.

Changes In Seed Size And Yield Components In Arkansas Cotton Over 20 Years

Presented by: Dr. Fred Bourland, Professor, University of Arkansas

Small changes in genetically controlled yield components can affect the magnitude and stability of lint yield produced. Data for lint percentage, seed index (weight of 100 seed), lint index (weight of lint from 100 seed), number of seeds per acre, number of fibers per seed, and fiber density (number of fibers per unit area of seed coat) have been collected from variety and strain tests for over 20 years. Over time, lint index and lint percentage have increased while seed index has declined. Changes associated with each these yield components and their relationships with lint yield will be presented.

Influence Of Seed Size, Seeding Rate, And Planting Speed On Cotton Stand Establishment

Presented by: Ray Benson, Program Associate, University of Arkansas

High-speed precision planters are capable of covering more acres per hour than traditional planters and apply variable rates of seed across different management zones. Planting populations can be lowered without yield or maturity penalties if stands are uniform. Recent large-plot studies were established to evaluate the effects of plant populations on 12 cotton cultivars that varied in seed size. The cultivars were planted with prescription rates of approximately 1.0 to 4.5 seeds per row ft at low and high speeds. Reduced accuracy was recorded at the higher planting speed, especially in the high population treatments.

Evaluation Of Cover Crops And Potassium Uptake In The Midsouthern Cotton Belt

Presented by: Dr. Brian Pieralisi, Extension Cotton Specialist, Mississippi State University
Presented by:  Will Rutland, Extension Associate 1/Grad Student, Mississippi State University

Field experiments were established at three Mississippi locations in 2021 and 2022 to evaluate soil K2O uptake and influence on cotton yield and fiber quality. Four winter cover crop treatments including no cover crop, cereal rye, crimson clover, and cereal rye plus crimson clover were seeded into 38” rows to determine K2O content in accumulated biomass. Phytogen 400 W3FE was planted at 42,000 seeds acre-1 to determine K2O leaf content at mid-bloom for all treatments. Soil samples were taken at cover crop initiation, cover crop termination, and harvest to track soil K2O levels throughout the growing season. Fertilizer treatments included no K2O, 150 lbs K2O acre-1 at planting, 150 lbs K2O acre-1 at pinhead square, and split application at planting and pinhead square. Harvest data collection included total node, first fruiting branch, and node above cracked boll.

Irrigation Water Management Using Automation And Drones

Presented by:  Mike Hamilton, Instructor-Irrigation Educator, UADA
Presented by:  Wes KirkPatrick, Arkansas Farmer, Rondo Farms

        While technology has positively impacted many aspects of production agriculture, labor shortages are still a growing issue on today’s farms.  Although many of these advances have          helped, irrigation is one of the most labor-intensive job on the farm.  In 2022, we began looking into irrigation automation with telemetry on 5 Arkansas Discovery Farms to see the          impact it could have on a large operation.  We will discuss the success and failures of the automation system as well as other Irrigation Water Management tools used, including                RTK drones for elevation designs to increase the irrigation efficiency.

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Barnyard Grass Is Challenging Sustainable Herbicide Management

Presented by:  Dr. Jason Norsworthy, Distinguished Professor and Elms Farming Chair of Weed Science, University of Arkansas

Weed control and herbicide resistance management are top concerns for all rice growers. Dr. Jason Norsworthy, University of Arkansas, will provide an update on the herbicide resistance screening research that he and others did this past year, specifically looking at barnyard grass. Practicing sustainable herbicide management is a key factor in ensuring growers have the solutions they need in the field.

Micronutrient Solutions In Rice

Presented by:  Dr. Irish Pabuayon, Rice Agronomist, LSU AgCenter
Presented by:  Matt Fryer, Agronomist, Koch Agronomic Services

Although essential micronutrients are needed by rice in smaller amounts compared to macronutrients, large problems can arise with limited access to these nutrients. Correcting zinc deficiencies is economically and environmentally inefficient due to delay in crop maturity and the extra irrigation and nitrogen inputs needed. Vital plant functions are dependent and catalyzed by micronutrients, and when these nutrients are limiting, so is plant growth and performance. Seed applied micronutrients and bulk fertilizer impregnation provide many agronomic and operational benefits for both the farmer and retailer.

Rice Market Outlook –The Swings In Supply And Demand

Presented by: Dennis DeLaughter, Market Analyst, VantageRM, LLC

The issue most concerning issue for the rice market outlook is demand. Certainly, supply is a factor but questions regarding the drought in China and India along with demand uncertainty from Iraq and Central America will dominate the marketing landscape near term, Longer-term the general farming economy will play into pricing for the 2023 crop. Then there will be questions of a recession and how high will operating interest rates go before the FED tames inflation? We will cover these issues and more in the swings of supply and demand for rice in 2023.

Reduced Tillage Decreases Soil Losses And Increases Probability Of Planting On Time. “Early”

Presented by: Dr. Ronnie Levy, State Rice Specialist/Associate Professor, Agronomy, LSU AgCenter

Research shows that reducing tillage can reduce soil losses.  Preparing your seedbed in the fall will allow time for vegetative soil coverage (reducing soil loss) while allowing to have fields ready to plant when conditions are favorable.  Drill-seeding, dry broadcasting, or water-seeding can initiate early planting as soon as weather will allow.  Early planting usually results in higher yields, less insect and disease pressure, and better harvest weather.

 

My Experiences In Raising Provisio Rice

Presented by: Michael Fruge, Louisiana Farmer

Fruge has been growing Provisio rice since it first came out in 2018, raising as much as 400 acres at a time and as little as 40 acres. He uses it frugally, with an eye on preserving the longevity of the technology, to keep it around as long as possible. “We use it as a tool to clean up a high population of weedy rice,” he says. Where that problem does not exist, other chemistry is used.

He grew up on a farm and raised his first crop on his own in 2010. He received a bachelor’s degree in agronomy with a minor in ag business in 2005. His crops include rice, soybeans and crawfish.

How are Southern US Rice Breeders Addressing The Specific Needs Of Latin American Customers

Presented by: Dr. Steve Linscombe, Director-The Rice Foundation, USA Rice Federation

A high percentage of U.S. long grain rice exports are destined for customers in Latin American countries. In the last 10 plus years, U.S. exporters to these countries have received complaints about the quality of rice they are shipping. These complaints range from appearance quality (amount of chalk, uniformity of grain size, translucency, and color) to cooking quality (primarily that the U.S. rice cooks too sticky). U.S. breeders have adjusted their breeding programs to address these quality concerns and new varieties are forthcoming that will address these quality concerns.

LSU AgCenter Rice Breeding Update

Presented by: Dr. Adam Famoso, Associate Professor, LSU AgCenter

The LSU AgCenter Rice Breeding Program is focused on the development of new rice varieties for the Louisiana rice industry. This talk will provide an update on the new and pending varieties being developed and released. Information on some of the new breeding research methods and techniques being deployed within the breeding program will also be presented.

New Obstacles In South Louisiana Rice Production

Presented by: Dr. L. Connor Webster, Assistant Professor of Weed Science, LSU AgCenter

Over the past few growing seasons, the amount of inquiries concerning the control of Fimbristylis littoralis has grown exponentially. Fimbristylis is often times misidentified as rice flatsedge (Cyperus iria L.), which leaves many growers in a dilemma later in the growing season.  Both Fimbristylis and rice flatsedge belong to the cyperaceae (sedge) family; however, chemical control of these two weeds differ greatly.  An on-farm study was conducted in 2022 in Abbeville, Louisiana to determine the most effective control measures for Fimbristylis.

 

Ineffectiveness Of Provisio Herbicide In Outcrossed Red Rice

Presented by: Barrett Courville, Louisiana Consultant

Despite all the efforts to retain control of noxious weeds in rice, Mother Nature often finds a way to get around them. Among the problems noted the past year in rice production in Southwest Louisiana, has been the resistance of outcross red rice to Provisio herbicide. Courville will discuss the problems he has seen in the recent Provisio rice crop. He will also present information on rice consulting in Southwest Louisiana. He holds a master’s degree from Louisiana State and a bachelor’s from McNeese State University. He spent 33 years as an LSU agricultural agent, 4 years as a consultant for Helena and 4 years with his own company, BC Rice Consulting.

Nitrogen Management Strategies And Timing In Flooded Rice

Presented by: Dr. Jarrod T. Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Rice Research & Extension Center

Nitrogen (N) management remains a primary focus for rice production.  The goal is to continue improving and refining N timing and rate strategies for rice.  Additionally, the release of new rice cultivars with different N needs necessitates continued evaluation of our management strategies.  Research-based recommendations for maximizing N management will be discussed.

Planting Considerations For The 2023 Rice Crop

Presented by: Dr. Justin Chlapecka, State Rice Extension Specialist, University of Missouri

Are new rice cultivars, in combination with the growing desire for early-planted soybean, challenging our past ideas of planting timing? While rice cultivars typically perform best when planted earlier, many cultivars maintain great potential moving as late as mid-to late-May planting. Then begs the question –if we choose to push the extremes on planting date, how does that affect our choice of seeding rate? Join this session to discuss planting date and seeding rate recommendations for the upper Mid-South moving into 2023.

“What Happens To Rice Trade In A Post Global Order World?”

Presented by: Milo Hamilton, CEO, Firstgrain, Inc.

The US Navy has guaranteed safe travel across oceans for all commodities, grain and ag inputs. We think all that is ending.  The massive trade benefits of the Global Order we have enjoyed for more than 70 years is coming to an end.

We live now in a post-Global Order world. So, we must ask now who wins and who loses in such a world?  The US wins and China and others fare less well.  China is the world’s largest rice producer and importer.

Best Management Practices For Alternative Rice Growing Techniques

Presented by: Dr. Hunter Bowman, Assistant Professor-Extension Rice Specialist, Mississippi State University

Historically rice produced in the United States (U.S.), has been grown in a flooded environment. This production practice requires zero-graded patties, contour levees, or straight levees in order to maintain flood depth in rice. Recently two new rice growing techniques have gained interest: alternate wetting and drying (AWD) and furrow-irrigated. These practices are intended to reduce water use, labor requirements, and field preparation work. However, reports of increased total nitrogen and herbicide application needs have been recorded. Therefore, research is needed to evaluate the best management practices in these techniques versus a traditional flooded environment.

 

30-Years Experience Farming Zero-Grade Rice

Presented by: Jim Whitaker, Arkansas Farmer, Whitaker Grain LLC/Trinity Farms Partnership LLC

Whitaker will look at the past while simultaneously keeping an eye on the future by presenting a picture of rice production from his point of view. Farming alongside his brother, Sam, with 30 years of experience producing rice, corn, soybeans, and cotton, he regularly explores additional avenues to increase the on-farm value. Whitaker will review conservation programs and what the future of those program holds, carbon credits, new opportunities and products, the challenges of creating profitability in rice production, and the opportunities and obstacles of creating SmartRice.

Controlling Insects In Conventional And Furrow-Irrigated Rice, And Changes In Rice Stink Bug Management

Presented by:  Nick Bateman, Extension Entomologist, University of Arkansas
Presented by:  Chase Floyd, PhD. Candidate, University of Arkansas

Multiple studies were conducted to determine the efficacy of insecticides for rice water weevil in flooded rice, as well as rice billbug in furrow irrigated rice. These tests show that combinations of insecticide seed treatments were the most consistent control options for both of these pests. Assays were also conducted on rice stink bugs to determine tolerance levels to Lambda cyhalothrin along with multiple in-field efficacy trials, and how to manage potential resistance.

Rice Disease Management:  Challenges And Solutions

Presented by: Dr. Xin-Gen (Shane) Zhou, Professor of Plant Pathology, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center
Presented by:  Cliff Mock, Texas Consultant/Rice Farmer, Cliff Mock Consulting

This session will discuss the challenges of disease management rice farmers face and the solutions developed from research and crop consultant’s experience. The topics will focus on using varietal resistance and fungicides for management of major and emerging rice diseases, including seedling diseases, sheath blight, narrow brown leaf spot, and kernel smut.

Mr. Mock graduated from Texas A & M in 1977. He has been doing consulting since 1981. He works primarily on rice and soybeans in Brazoria, Colorado, and Wharton counties on the Gulf Coast of Texas. He is also actively involved in a family farm partnership managed by his son, Wade, where they farm rice, soybeans, grain sorghum and wheat. He also serves on the Gulf Coast Water Authority as Vice President. He is past chairman of the industry panel for Texas Rice Research Foundation and former member of Texas Rice Improvement Association. He and his wife, Beth, have three children and two grandchildren.

 

Best Management Practices To Prevent Weedy Rice Outcrosses Developing To the ACCase-Inhibiting Herbicide Technology

Moderator:  Dr. Tim Walker, General Manager, Horizon Ag LLC
Participants:  Provisia Working Group Roundtable

Objective:  Discussing best management practices to steward the Provisia Rice System Technology into the future.
The Provisia® Rice System continues to prove it is the best system available today to control weedy rice, red rice, and resistant grasses. However, instances of weedy rice and resistant red rice outcrosses in Provisia rice, and where other ACCase-inhibiting herbicides were used, were reported in 2022. Representatives from the Provisia Working Group will discuss experiences and Best Management Practices to control the threat of weedy rice outcrosses developing to the ACCase-inhibiting herbicide technology.

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Whole Soy Food Acceptability And Market Viability Study

Presented by: Dr. Karen Ballard, CEO, B&B  Legacy Farms LLC / Emeritus Professor-Program Evaluation, University of Arkansas System,
Division of Agriculture-Extension

Domestically and internationally the plant protein marketplace has exploded. With a 2021 record high 4.44 billion bushels harvested in the US, soy is one of only two complete plant proteins. In 2021 US plant-based retail food sales reached a value of 7.4 billion, growing 6.2% over record sales in 2020. The market increased 46% over the past four years with a 79% consumer repeat rate/purchasing pattern. Diverse market factors are driving this growth, including increased consumer understanding of the impact of plant protein in preventing, reducing, and managing diet-related disease. Food system and consumer research conducted through this study will be shared, exploring farmer and regional food system market opportunities.

Development Of Climate-Smart Practices Associated With Biological Inoculants And Repository Of Soybean-Related Microbiomes For Climate Resiliency

Presented by: Dr. Woo-Suk Chang, Associate Professor, University of Texas

The main goal of this work is to overcome barriers that may be present for implementing innovative climate-smart agricultural practices. While some barriers are fixed in place by regional practices and limitation of equipment, most are self-imposed due to an uneducated and misinformed public sector. Not only will we seek to increase the research behind climate-smart practices, but also we will create a communication nexus from private to public sector. This will help increase lab-to-field translatory research and ultimately provide small, beginning, and underserved farmers with the knowledge of how to incorporate which innovative techniques on their farm to bring the most success. In addition to the climate-smart practices, we have explored the rhizosphere microbiome that plays a crucial role in soil health as well as plant growth. We used a culture-independent method to compare the bacterial communities of the soybean rhizosphere between Nebraska (NE), a high-yield state, and Oklahoma (OK), a low-yield state. We hypothesized that differences in the soybean yield are attributed to the variations in the rhizosphere microbes at taxonomic, functional, and community levels. Soil physicochemical properties were also evaluated from each sampling site for comparative study. Our result showed that distinct clusters were formed between NE and OK in terms of their soil physicochemical property. Among 3 primary nutrients N-P-K, potassium is more positively correlated with the high-yield state NE samples. We attempted to identify keystone communities that significantly affected the soybean yield using co-occurrence network patterns. The network analysis revealed that communities formed distinct clusters in which members of modules having significantly positive correlations with the soybean yield were more abundant in NE than OK.

Managing Soybean Diseases And The Potential Impact Reduced Tillage Systems Have On Their Development

Presented by: Dr. Boyd Padgett, Extension/Research Plant Pathologist, LSU AgCenter

The foundation of a disease management program begins with identifying your enemy. Disease identification is key to management. After the disease(s) has/have been identified only then can management strategies be implemented. In Louisiana, soybean is plagued by numerous diseases that can negatively impact yield and quality. Reduced tillage systems can increase the risk to some of these diseases. This presentation will address identification, development, and management of the major diseases affecting soybean in the Mid-South.

 

An Ag Consultant’s Perspective; Adapting University And Industry IPM Recommendations For On-Farm Use!

Presented by: Dr. Rogers Leonard, Owner-Operator and Professor emeritus (LSU), Integrated Crop Consulting, LLC / (Retired) LSU AgCenter

Chemical control strategies are critical for Mid-South crop protection. The values of specific treatments should not be underestimated as environmentally acceptable components of an integrated pest management (IPM) system. Agricultural consultants and producers use all available information and carefully decide on the appropriate course of action. Action thresholds and pesticide use recommendations for crop pests promoted by Land-Grant University (LGU) extension specialists and Ag Chem industry representatives should be considered guidelines and only part of the decision-making process in a successful IPM program. Numerous operational, environmental, and biological factors interact during the production season and can greatly influence crop pests and the strategies used for effective management. With these factors in mind, this presentation will try to reconcile industry suggestions and LGU best management practices (BMP’s) for on-farm recommendations of pesticide use strategies.

Weed Management In Mississippi Soybean

Presented by: Dr. Jason A. Bond, Weed Scientist, Mississippi State University

Weed control is one of the primary inputs for soybean production in the midsouthern U.S.  Many challenges face soybean growers in the area; however, new tools are available that will assist growers in mitigating the negative effects of weeds in soybean.

 

General Agronomic Practices In Soybean Production With An Emphasis On Early Season Planting

Presented by: Tyler Hydrick, Arkansas Consultant, Ag Assistance, LLC

Hydrick will list some specific processes in order to prepare for early season soybean planting. Among them are fall tillage and adjusting the planting dates of other crops. As an example, soybeans have a very narrow window for planting to achieve maximum yields, whereas, with corn and rice, there’s a wide window to achieve maximum results. He is in his 5th year as a Certified Crop Advisor, consulting for Hydrick’s Crop Consulting of Jonesboro, Ark. This business covers the northeastern corner of Arkansas. Prior to this, he has been an employee at HCC since age 15. In 2014 he graduated from the University of the Ozarks with a B.S. in biology. In August 2017 he graduated from Mississippi State University under the advisement of Dr. Jason Bond with a Masters in weed science. He now consults on roughly 30,000 acres of corn, soybeans, rice and cotton while assisting his father, David, on other acreage as well.

Fertilizer Recommendations And Management Strategies In Light Of High Input Costs

Presented by: Dr. Rasel Parvej, Assistant Professor & Soil Fertility Specialist, LSU AgCenter
Presented by:  Dr. Josh Copes, Loan Officer (Cross Keys Bank), farmer (Copes Farms LLC), independent crop consultant (Delta Consulting and Management)

Considering recent fertilizer costs, soybean fields testing very low and low should at least be fertilized with K to protect against significant yield loss. Also, fertilization of soybean fields testing medium for P (21-30 ppm) and K (100-130 ppm) may be skipped for a year. Applying P and K in fall in fine-textured soils may not be a problem; however, for coarse-textured soils, it is better to apply both fertilizers just before planting. Both dry and liquid fertilizers are equally effective in increasing soybean yield in very low and low testing soils, but a half-rate of liquid cannot supply the full needs of the crop. Our current soil-test-based S fertilizer recommendations need to be reevaluated.

Louisiana On-Farm Potassium Trial

Presented by:  Dr. David Moseley, State Soybean Specialist, LSU AgCenter
Presented by:  Dr. David Smith, Lousiana Farmer
Presented by:  Dr. Rasel Parvej, Assistant Professor & Soil Fertility Specialist, LSU AgCenter

Research from the LSU AgCenter and the University of Arkansas suggest there is an almost 100% probability soybean plants will respond to K applications in fields with very low to low potassium (K) soil-test levels, and there would be up to45% yield loss in the absence of a K application. On-farm soybean trials can be effective ways to demonstrate research-based recommendations on a producer’s farm. Due to recent high prices of K, applications of 70-80% of the recommended rates of K were proposed to be economical. In-season K applications based on critical leaf K concentrations can mitigate K deficiencies and improve yield potential. In 2022, a potassium formulation, rate, and timing trial was established on a Beauregard parish farm consisting of a sandy loam soil with very low potassium (K) soil-test concentration (26 ppm Mehlich-3Kfrom0 –6 inch soil depth). In addition to yield, leaf samples were collected at different growth stages to determine how the yield responded to in-season K applications. In addition, whole plant and seed samples were collected to analyze the K uptake for each treatment.

Management Strategies For Insect Pests In Soybean Production Systems

Presented by: Dr. Whitney Crow, Assistant Extension Professor, Mississippi State University

Strategies for managing soybean insects to maximize profits in 2023. Soybean insect management focused around the use of chemical and cultural practices to best combat pest such as stink bug, soybean pod worm, and soybean looper.

 

Managing High Yielding Soybean Production From A Consultant’s Viewpoint

Presented by: Tucker Miller III, Mississippi Consultant/Farmer, Miller Entomological Services Inc.

Consultants take a broad view in planning soybean production, keeping an eye focused on high yields. It all begins with optimizing such things as variety selection, planting dates, early season insect and weed control, use of fungicides and early and late-season weed control. Though he’s been consulting for the past 48 years, he first began checking cotton at age 15, making it 51 years he’s been in the field. Today, he consults on 25,000 acres of cotton, 5,000 acres each of soybeans and corn, as well as 1,000 acres each of peanuts and vegetables. He grew up on a farm where cotton, soybeans and rice were raised; on his own 2,000 acres, he raises soybeans, wheat and corn, but also raises cotton some years.

Soybean Yield Response To Nitrogen And Sulfur Fertilization:  Findings From A National Collaboration

Presented by: Dr. Jeremy Ross, Extension Agronomist-Soybean Professor, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Research on the effect of nitrogen and sulfur fertilization on seed yield of soybean has been done for years. However, soybean yield response to nitrogen and sulfur fertilizer applications remains inconsistent. This lack of consistent results could be due to the lack of standardized plot designs and a lack of understanding of the plant nutrition processes affecting grain yield. Twenty-six field trials in twelve states across the US tested five fertilization strategies that combined nitrogen and sulfur at different rates and timings. The objective of this study was to examine soybean seed yield response to nitrogen and sulfur across different environments and assess seed yield, plant N status, and the contribution of nitrogen fixation and soil nitrogen have on crop nutrition. For most locations, nitrogen and sulfur fertilization did not significantly increase soybean grain yield. Due to the high uncertainty in treatment response in the nitrogen treatments, nitrogen fertilization is unlikely to increase soybean grain yield.

The Importance Of On-Farm Research To Obtain High Yields

Presented by: Layne Miles, Arkansas Farmer, Double M Farms

You can use the research of others as a guide, but the true measure of what will work on your farm can be obtained only by your own onfarm research, which provides the best results in your soils, your fertility, your environment. “What works in Iowa, may not work in Arkansas”’ he says. Layne has been doing this type of research for about seven years, and his father, Matt, has used the same strategy for years before that. This year our test was “how early is too early”. We found a dry window and planted our first field of bean on February 18th. Not as something we thought we would really “make a crop in” but as a test to see what the limits of planting early.
The Miles farm recently grew to 10,000 acres when Layne and his dad, Matt, combined their acreage. On 1,500 acres they raise zerograde rice, and the balance of the acreage. 3500 acres each is in corn and soybeans with 1,500 acres in Cotton. Miles received his bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from the University of Arkansas in Monticello in 2016. He grew up on the family farm and is now farming for his 30th year.

Integrated Nematode Management In Soybean:  A Louisiana Perspective

Presented by: Dr. Tristan Watson, Assistant Professor of Nematology, LSU AgCenter

Plant-parasitic nematodes are a major yield limiting factor for Louisiana soybean producers. The southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) and reniform nematode (Rotylenchulus reniformis) are the most damaging and widespread species in the region. Management of plant-parasitic nematodes often requires a multifaceted approach. This presentation will highlight current research aimed at developing integrated management solutions for southern root-knot and reniform nematode on soybean in Louisiana.

 

Sustainability, Fertility And Water Conservation:  How To Make A Profit In 2023

Presented by:  Robb Dedman, Arkansas Consultant, Ultimate Ag Consulting

For the past nine years, Dedman has focused on lowering input costs while boosting soybean productions. Those efforts have paid off for his clients, as they have realized increases in their bottom line. He will point out in his presentation the things to watch closely that have been shown to product results. His first experience with consulting was when he started scouting rice while in high school under Dr. Nathan Slaton who was the Extension agent at the time. Dedman holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from the University of Arkansas, and presently owns his own ag consulting firm, Ultimate Ag Consulting.

Cover Crop Seeding Rate Impacts On Soil Nitrogen And Yield

Presented by: Dr. Donna S. Gentry, Coordinator, LA Master Farmer Program, ANR Agent, Southeast Region, LSU AgCenter

Cover crops have many practical applications including the protection of soil, increased water infiltration and soil nitrogen (soil-N) availability, and improved crop yields. Rising costs of nitrogen fertilizer and other inputs have encouraged producers to find alternative ways to improve production and soil health. The LSU AgCenter implemented cover crop seeding rate trials in central and northeast Louisiana (across various soil types) to evaluate impacts from variable seeding rates on soil-N and crop yields. Although research indicates cover crop species, biomass, management practices, and environmental conditions may impact nitrogen, results also indicated differences in soil-N levels based on soil type and year, while soybean yield differences were due mainly to year.

 

What I Have Learned About The Benefits Of Cover Crops

Presented by: Kody Beavers, Louisiana Farmer, Boeuf Prairie Farm

After four years of farming on his own and seven years in farm management working for his partner, Beavers has learned a lot about the beneficial effects of cover crops. He will discuss how to manage cover crops in a row crop system, how it has benefited his operation, and the economics of its use. “Understanding how to best manage cover crops for your operation can provide worthwhile benefits for the producer,” he said. Beavers holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ag Business from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA. He also has a Master of Business Administration from the same university.

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Minimizing Nitrogen Loss And Maximizing Corn Yield With UAN

Presented by: Cullen Minter, Territory Business Manager, Koch Agronomic Services
Presented by:  Matt Fryer, Agronomist, Koch Agronomic Services

Nitrogen (N) loss in agricultural systems is inevitable, but with proper knowledge and technology, N loss and environmental detriment can be minimized while maximizing economic return. The potential to lose over 30% of the applied N in urea ammonium nitrate via ammonia volatilization is present if proper application methods and proven urease inhibitors are not utilized. Appreciable N loss potential via leaching is also present if proven nitrification inhibitors are not utilized. Proven technology is available to provide the most economic and environmental value to the farmer and retailer.

Sulfur Fertilization In Mississippi Corn

Presented by: Dr. Corey Bryant, Agronomist, Mississippi State University

Since the adoption of the Clean Air Act have reduced the amount of atmospheric sulfur deposition. This reduction has led to increased incidence of sulfur deficiency in corn, especially on sandier textured soils. In response to this we have established a study to determine the proper rate, source, and timing for corn sulfur fertilization in the Mississippi Delta. Sulfur rates evaluated included 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40 lbs S per acre. Sources included no sulfur fertilizer, ammonium sulfate, MAP+MST, ammonium thiosulfate, and elemental sulfur. Timings included at planting, V4, V8, and tassel growth stages.

Using In-Season Tissue Tests To Help Manage Nutrients In Corn

Presented by: Dr. Trenton L. Roberts, Professor and Soil Fertility Extension, University of Arkansas

The number of acres dedicated to corn (Zea mays L.) in the south has been increasing for almost a decade presenting an opportunity for farmers to diversify their production systems. Nitrogen fertilizer and fertilization in general can represent the single largest input cost for corn production in the Mid-south. Newly developed in-season tissue tests can aid producers in nitrogen management to ensure that profitability and yield are not compromised.

Healthy Soil Results In Reduction In Chemical Nitrogen Fertilizer Inputs In Corn Production

Presented by: Dr. Steve Green, Professor of Soil & Water Conservation, Arkansas State University

Fertilizer nitrogen application is a substantial cost in corn production. Opportunities to reduce nitrogen fertilizer application rate will provide greater profitability and reduce excess nitrogen in soils. An on-farm study was conducted at 3 locations in the Arkansas delta region to assess nitrogen fertilizer requirements on fields with a history of minimum tillage combined with winter cover crops. This presentation will discuss the corn yield findings of this study that included seven site years and demonstrated that conservation managed fields don’t require as much chemical nitrogen fertilizer as is recommended on conventionally managed fields.

 

Healthy Soil Results In Increased Nutrient Availability

Presented by: Adam Chappell, Arkansas Farmer, Chappell Brothers Farms LLC

Fertilizer inputs are a substantial cost in crop production. Opportunities to reduce fertilizer inputs can provide greater profitability for producers and reduce potential nutrient runoff without reducing yield. The key to being able to reduce nutrient fertilizer inputs is having greater nutrient availability in the soil from better soil health and an active microbial population. Soil microorganisms cycle nutrients and are able to release nutrients from otherwise inaccessible forms. On-farm studies in Arkansas have shown that increased nutrient availability can result from improved soil biological activity and enhanced soil structure. This presentation will discuss 10years of observations in row crop systems showing reduced nutrient input requirements.

Practical Use Of Cover Crops In High Yielding Corn Systems

Presented by: Dr. Erick Larson, Professor & Extension Corn Agronomist, Mississippi State University Extension Service

Cover cropping is hot topic primarily driven by the goal of improving soil health and water quality. However, grower adoption of cover crops remains rather limited. Despite their conservation benefits, cover crops can challenge the dynamics with the subsequent cropping system, especially for corn. This is because corn is normally planted early in the spring and is very sensitive to stand issues. Consequently, cover crop growth coincides with key corn planting time, which is already limited in our high rainfall climate. Thus, we are investigating methods to successfully integrate cover crops into Midsouth corn systems without increasing production risk or sacrificing economic return. Our research has identified cultural practices and cover crop species which can reduce complications or interference with corn production systems.

 

Computerized Hole Selection And Implementation

Presented by: Will Hart, Mississippi Farmer

With irrigation, one trick for saving time and money is utilizing computerized hole selection. Hart has implemented and operated such a system for eight years and has been very pleased with the results. He will explain the initial application procedure, overall benefits, and provide a brief cost analysis. Hart attended Mississippi State University where he studied Agricultural Engineering and Technology Business. A lifelong farmer, he works for his grandfather, Terry Maxwell, on Hope So Farms Inc. which includes 3,000 acres, with one-third dedicated to corn and the additional two-thirds to soybean production.

Performance of Bt Corn Against Corn Earworm In Louisiana

Presented by: Dr. James Villegas, Assistant Professor-Field Crops Entomology, LSU AgCenter

Corn hybrids expressing pyramided Bt proteins were evaluated against corn earworms in field trials conducted in Central and Northeast Louisiana. Although non-Bt and 2nd generation Bt hybrids experienced higher ear and kernel injury than Vip hybrids, yields were generally unaffected. Corn earworms were collected for use in bioassays against commonly utilized Bt traits in corn and cotton. The implication of widespread adoption of Vip corn hybrids on corn earworm management in cotton will be discussed.

 

A Crop Consultant’s View On Corn Inserts

Presented by: Harold Lambert, Louisiana Consultant, Lambert Agricultural Consulting Inc.

Lambert will focus on insect pests commonly encountered in corn production in south-central Louisiana, and their detection and management. The gradual change in pest status of several insects will also be discussed. Lambert has been consulting for 41 years, presently helping farmers fight problems on about 20,000 acres. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s in entomology, both from LSU.

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Pivot Irrigation Strategies For The Mid-South

Presented by:  Dr. Dave Spencer, Assistant Professor, Water Resources Research Institute, Mississippi State University

Pivot irrigators in the Mid-South lack regionally specific information to optimize use of overhead systems. This research was conducted to determine whether applying lower irrigation rates more frequently or applying greater irrigation rates less frequently is more effective in meeting crop demand. Lower irrigation rates were insufficient to replenish soil moisture and often could not keep pace with crop demand. These results are extrapolated to field situations to give examples on holistic irrigation management.

How Our Trials With Irrigation Ponds Solved Moisture Needs, Keeping Cropping System Sustainable

Presented by:  Annie Dee, Alabama Farmer, Dee River Ranch

Beginning in 2011, Dee River Ranch put in a four-sided pond, like a catfish pond, to use for irrigation purposes on droughty ground. Later, they added another pond covering 115 surface acres which is 50 foot deep at its deepest. “We built it to put 7 inches of water on our irrigated acres,” says Annie Dee. “It’s really helped us be sustainable. Previously we were having a good crop until about May, then the crop would dry up for lack of water.”The Dee farm raises 4,000 acres of row crops, with a combination of corn and soybeans, depending on market conditions. Dee River Ranch was owned by 11 siblings, including Annie and is presently owned by Annie and her brother, Mike. The diversified family farm also includes a cattle operation and a timber operation. Annie and her youngest brother, Mike Dee, actually manage the place, assisted also by Annie’s twin sons, Seth and Jesse. Annie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Industries from Clemson University in Clemson, S.C.

Irrigation Management For Corn Production In The Southeast

Presented by:  Dr. Wesley M. Porter, Associate Professor, Extension Precision Ag & Irrigation Specialist, University of Georgia

Due to water being so critical in corn production, low water holding capacity of soils, sporadic drought, non-irrigated acreage is low in Georgia. Typically, sensors and scheduling aids produce some of the highest yields, and Water Use Efficiency. Checkbook methods are typically the most used methods by growers. Adoption of more advanced irrigation scheduling systems is low due to cost, complexity, and uncertainty in expected economic benefit. Growers tend of over-irrigate corn as an insurance policy to prevent yield loss, however, it should be noted that even if yield is not reduced, can be reduced by over-irrigating the crop needlessly.

Using Soil Moisture Sensors To Increase On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency In Georgia

Presented by:  Joshua K. McCormick, Georgia Farmer, McCormick Farms

On McCormick Farms in Sylvania, GA we grow cotton and peanut in a conventional rotation and focus on conservation methods and take them seriously. One of the technologies that we utilize on the farm are WaterMark soil water tension sensors. We have accomplished this by placing soil moisture sensors at a spacing of every 40 acres and using them to predict when irrigation should be initiated. Similar to most situations in Georgia, multiple center pivot irrigation systems share single wells, and moisture sensors have been proven effective to aiding us in being logistic and on time with our irrigation applications.

Characterizing Drought Stress While Optimizing Irrigation Amount For Cotton Cultivars

Presented by:  Dr. Avat Shekoofa, Crop Physiologist-Water Stress & Irrigation, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee

Producers have few options to mitigate drought stress on rainfed acres; must cope with it by either adopting cultural practices which improve water saving or by selecting drought-tolerant cultivars. Our 5-yr research at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson indicated that applying semi-irrigation [flower to peak flower (0.5”/wk), and peak flower to open boll (1.0”/wk) when -75 to -80 (kPa) range is considered as the onset of stress] can increase the lint yield by 33% compared to rainfed in dry years. In relatively wet years, the semi-irrigated out-yielded the rainfed treatments by8.5%. Our cultivars’ responses to rainfed conditions indicated that cultivars with higher water saving rates had significantly higher lint yield (29to 31%) compared to others. Selecting suitable cotton cultivars for rainfed conditions also choosing an appropriate irrigation strategy can improve cotton yield.

Eliminating The Guesswork Of Irrigation In The Mid-South

Presented by:  Andrew Kwasigroh, Agronomist, Irrigation Consultant, ABK Agriculture

The ABK Agriculture goal is to assist growers with using precision irrigation technology that will help them to “eliminate the guesswork of irrigation” on their farms. Our main focus is helping growers understand the technology of soil moisture sensors and how to implement that into their daily irrigation water management and scheduling. I assist growers in navigating and taking advantage of the various programs that NRCS has to offer, focusing on Irrigation Water Management. Our mission is to help dedicated land stewards obtain access and maximum benefit from USDA conservation programs which result in more conservation of water and land.

Informing Future Irrigation Strategies Using Drought Status, Hydrological Conditions And Historical Rainfall Patterns

Presented by:  Dr. Stacia L. Davis Conger, Assistant Professor, State Irrigation Specialist, LSU AgCenter

Louisiana is prone to naturally high rainfall variability and extreme weather conditions. The objective of this project was to develop more informed irrigation strategies using statistical regionalization of historical rainfall patterns, current drought status, and current hydrological conditions of water sources used for irrigation purposes. Results from the regionalization model showed that there are two distinct regions, representing North and South Louisiana, with differences occurring only during the irrigation months of June, July, and August. Combined with drought status and hydrological conditions, a webtool that notifies irrigators of recommended schedule adjustments was developed.

How To Use Technology To Gain Efficiency In Irrigation

Presented by:  Nathan Holmes, Missouri Farmer

Lifelong farming experience in the mid-South has shown that irrigation takes more time and effort than is available in any given crop season. Though product costs may remain mostly stable, variable costs associated with time and effort can quickly overtake profitability of that crop season. A possible solution for minimizing these costs is to retrofit pumps with automated pump control (APC) technology. During this talk, Holmes will provide an overview of APC and how he has implemented this technology on his own farm. He will then explore alternative farm scenarios to establish a range of expected cost savings as well as water savings estimates attributed to using APC.
Nathan Holmes holds a B.S. in Agribusiness from Southeast Missouri State University and was raised on a Missouri farm where he began growing some crops as early as age 15. In addition to the family farm operation, he owns and operates Bold Cypress, LLC through which he has designed, developed, and now sells an automated pump control product called PumpTrakr.

Mississippi Delta Fields Benefit From Drain Tile – And Just Might Benefit From Subsurface Irrigation

Presented by:  Darla Huff, Director of Agriculture, Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.

Agriculture market fluctuations across farm inputs continue to cloud what decisions can guarantee improved profitability while farmers are challenged to do more with less. Now, more than ever, drainage water management could take the guesswork out of increasing long-term ROI in the Delta: it improves crop yields, raises land value, lowers break-even price, reduces necessary water use, and decreases nitrate loss –all while serving as a conservation practice. What if it irrigates, too?

My Experiences Using The Advanced Drainage System For The Past Year

Presented by:  Matt Miles, Arkansas Farmer

After one year of using the Advanced Drainage System, Miles gives a “thumbs up” on the drainage piece. Installation of the irrigation part of the system is still underway. He will discuss some situations he dealt with the past year, showing slides of some of the installation progress.
Matt, his wife, Sherrie Kay, along with their son and daughter in law, Layne and Ryane Miles, farm over 10,000 acres of the Mississippi delta located in the southeast corner of Arkansas in Ashley, Desha, Drew and Chicot County. They began farming in 1989 and are fourth generation farmers. Matt and Sherrie have a combined 70 years of experience in agriculture. They began their operation together in 1989, using their savings to put a down payment on an old tractor, with the help of both their fathers loaning them equipment and advice, but mostly being extremely blessed by God. They have over 35 dedicated employees that has become a “farmily.” They harvested 108.6 bushels soybeans in their first 10-bushel plot in 2013, which broke the state record. Their current record is 122 bushels harvested in 2022.Together with son, Layne, they have reached 100-plus bushel soybeans 13more times in 8 years. Sherrie is the first woman, and Layne is the youngest farmer to break 100 bushels in the state soybean challenge. Matt and Layne are also multiple state winners in the National Corn Growers Association Yield Contest. Matt is a Board Member of the Agricultural Council of Arkansas, he was appointed to the Arkansas State Plant Board in 2021 and was recently selected to serve on the Rabo Agri Finance Advisory Board. Matt speaks at many destinations around the country to farmers on different agricultural topics and is now in his third season on “The Podfather”, a reality/educational TV show, that airs on RFD TV showcasing what he does as a producer. Both Matt and Sherrie hold bachelor’s degrees from University of Arkansas at Monticello, Matt in Ag Business and Sherrie in business management. Matt spends any spare time he has testing new theories and technologies to help teach others and further the advancement of production agriculture.

Irrigation And Fertigating Technology For Row Rice, Going For Climate Smart 300 BPA

Presented by:  Dr. Chris Henry, Associate Professor & Water Management Engineer, University of Arkansas

A novel system has been developed to improve the furrow irrigated rice production system. A yield gap of 16 BPA currently exists between FIR and flooded rice production systems. A pit-less pump system is being used to fertigate UAN and liquified urea in an effort to close the yield gap, reduce greenhouse gas emission, reduce water use, and reduce fertilizer use. Cover crops successfully improved the yield of FIR when strict notill was used. Significantly higher yields were achieved in 2022 compared to every 3-day irrigations (1024 BPA penalty), suggesting that water availability and delivery to FIR may be the main component of the yield penalty. The highest yield (192 BPA) was a result of cover crops, notill and daily fertigation using the pitless pump system. Daily fertigation of nitrogen delivered by the pitless system shows promise in reducing greenhouse emissions and providing a mechanism to minimize nitrogen cost and easily addressing nutrient deficiencies midseason.

Sensors Help Achieve Most Crop Per Drop

Presented by:  Chad Render, Arkansas Farmer

After several years of using his own observation as a means of determining a plant’s stress, Render began using moisture sensors, and he learned he had been overwatering. Following the sensor’s direction, he has found the extra water he was adding didn’t provide a better yield. Now with the sensors, he’s using less water and maintaining the same yields. Render was raised on the family farm in Craighead County. He received his bachelor’s degree in business from Arkansas State University and moved to Jefferson County in 1999 to begin farming on his own. He operates a 6,300-acre farm, raising rice, corn, soybean, wheat and black oats. “I’m happy to be an Arkansas farmer,” he says. Render is the first and only farmer in Arkansas to win 1st place in every crop division (corn, soybeans, and rice) of the Arkansas Most Crop per Drop Irrigation Contest.

On-Farm Irrigation Water Management Automation Evaluation

Presented by:  Dr. Drew Gholson, Assistant Professor/Extension Irrigation Specialist, Delta Research & Extension Center

Water levels in the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer continue to drop in the Mississippi Delta while irrigation acreage continues to increase. Adoption of irrigation conservation practices or Best Management Practices (BMPs) is imperative to help sustain our groundwater supplies. The Row-crop Irrigation Science Extension and Research (RISER) is an on-farm program that demonstrates to growers how irrigation water management (IWM) practices reduce irrigation water use up to 40% while improving profitability by $40/acre. Starting in 2020, the RISER program began identifying and evaluating innovative sensor and automation technologies that can assist producers with improving their on-farm irrigation management strategies and scheduling.

 

Sentek Soil Moisture Sensors Take Guesswork Out Of Irrigation

Presented by:  Andrew Lewis, Mississippi Consultant, High Yield Ag Solutions

Lewis will describe the benefits of using the Sentek Soil Moisture Sensors to keep track of the crop’s moisture needs. He has five years’ experience with these volume metric sensors that are placed in the field after planting and removed before harvest. The sensors alert one when to turn irrigation on to keep the moisture levels constant. He works with High Yield Ag Solutions, a precision technology irrigation company. The company helps farmers from the Midwest to the East coast make more money through irrigation technology. Andrew holds a master’s degree in Agribusiness Management from Mississippi State University. He has been helping farmers in the Midsouth make irrigation decisions with volumetric soil moisture sensors for 8 years.

Saving Water By Using Cover Crops And No-Till In Cotton

Presented by:  Carson Roberts, PhD. Candidate, Mississippi State University

Reducing irrigation frequency and quantity can save time, money, and water. Cover crops with different tillage regimes were researched for their potential ability to reduce the need for supplemental irrigation water. Findings show soil moisture was higher with cover crops and no-till. Low soil moisture in conventionally treated cotton resulted in more irrigation events and greater water use. Lint yield, water use efficiency, and soil water relations during the 2021 and 2022 growing seasons will be discussed.

 

Using Cover Crops, No-Till And Soil Moisture Probes To Increase Water Retention For Irrigated And Non-Irrigated Crops

Presented by:  Sledge Taylor, Mississippi Farmer

Taylor has been farming 50 years and has used many methods to improve soil health while raising crops. He began no-tilling about 30 years ago on some of his thinner soils, then expanded the no-till to his better soils, later trying no-till on the irrigated soils. Taylor began irrigation in 1988 and continues to expand his irrigated acres. About 65% of the crops he grows are non-irrigated, so he uses cover crops and no-till to help add organic matter and moisture-holding capacity to his soils, helping offset the lack of irrigation. After experimenting with cover crops over the years, he began using that method extensively the last three years. He will discuss all he has learned from each effort and how it works on irrigated land.

Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Mississippi State University in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business. He grew up helping his father farm, and presently farms some of the land his father worked. He farms with two of his sons and raises 3,600 acres of cotton, 700 acres of corn and 150 acres of soybeans.

A Decade Of On-Farm Water Resources Research:  Lessons Learned And Future Efforts

Presented by:  Dr. Michele L. Reba, Research Hydrologist, Lead Scientist, USDA-ARS

Impactful agricultural research can be accomplished through many avenues. One path is to work at a smaller plot scale with control on several variables and multiple replicates, while another is to work at the farm or field-scale. Working at this larger scale often reduces control of multiple variables and limits the number of replicates. However, the link to management and current management challenges can be more readily related to findings at the larger scale. Communication between producers and researchers is also key to success. The Delta Water Management Research Unit began working at the field-and farm-scale in 2011. They have grown these research efforts since then to work with multiple producers in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. Now, a decade later, lessons learned and specific findings from on-farm research will be highlighted and include field-scale greenhouse gas emissions, field-scale and farm-scale runoff water quality, and rice irrigation impact on water use efficiency, yield, grain quality, and arsenic, and impacts of cover crops in a rice-soybean rotation. Additionally, future research studies will be described.

Carrying On Tradition Of Rice Farming Through Weed Control, Water Management. The Keys To Sustainable Agriculture

Presented by:  Scott Whitaker, Arkansas Farmer, Trinity Farms

Whitaker will present the methods used on the Whitaker farm to reduce water usage, such as zero-grade rice fields, automated irrigation wells along with water sensors in the field; he will also discuss the reduction of greenhouse gases through practices such as alternate wetting and drying, along with reduced or no-till methods for preparing fields for the following year, while also speaking about the importance of timely herbicide applications to reduce trips across a field. A sixth-generation Southeast Arkansas farmer, Scott David Whitaker is a 2021 graduate from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Plant and Soil Science with a minor in Sustainability. During his time in Jonesboro, he was employed by Lance Ramthun for two years, scouting rice, beans, and corn throughout northeast Arkansas. He was also employed one year by Dr. Michele Reba and the USDA, assisting with collecting and testing water samples throughout Arkansas. “I am proud to be back in Southeast Arkansas on my family’s farm, working on many sustainable efforts. My primary role is rice consulting on 8,000 acres +/-of zero-grade continuous rice. Created through a collaboration between RiceTec, and Whitaker Grain, SmartRice® is the first third-party verified sustainable rice product grown using more sustainable methods to reduce agricultural resources and provide more rice to meet the growing worldwide appetite. SmartRice® answers consumers’ call for more sustainable products. The Whitaker family is a multi-generation farming operation in South Arkansas, raising rice, cotton, soybeans, corn.

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How Choice Of Soil Sampling Strategy Impacts Application Accuracy And Economic Of Site-Specific Nutrient Management In Cotton?

Presented by:  Dr. Simerjeet Virk, Assistant Professor and Extension Precision Ag Specialist, University of Georgia

Proper nutrient management is important to attain high-yielding cotton. Several soil sampling strategies including both traditional and precision methods –grid and zone –are commonly used by growers across the Cotton Belt to determine nutrient requirements prior to fertilization. With high fertilizer prices, it is important to utilize a soil sampling strategy that not only effectively depicts the actual nutrient spatial variability within a field but is also cost-effective. Information on how different precision soil sampling strategies, especially different grid sizes and zones based on different spatial layers, influence the application accuracy and economics of variable-rate fertilizer applications in cotton will be shared.

Ladder:  Large Agricultural Database That Drives Extension And Research

Presented by:  Zach Reynolds, Mississippi State University

Big data capture and analytics may be foundational to addressing a multitude of research and Extension areas in the Mid-South. Analysis of large-scale, agricultural data can be used to determine the effects of agronomic practices, management philosophies, and environment on crop productivity and profitability. Therefore, the LADDER program will collect, process, and securely store geospatially specific agronomic and environmental data for the purpose of addressing some of the Mid-South’s primary research and Extension concerns.

On Farm Precision Experimentation And Its Connection With Crop Management

Presented by:  Dr. Luciano Shiratsuchi, Associate Professor, LSU AgCenter
Presented by:  Mead Hardwick, Louisiana Farmer, Hardwick Planting Company

Practitioners of Precision Agriculture technologies often conduct large plots, long strips experiment on their farms due to the easy yield monitoring capabilities of harvesters to compare treatments. Larger experiments are more reliable than small plot in research station, since they are less prone to human error. The objective of this talk is to present how farmers that own and are equipped with yield monitors and variable rate applicators can get most of the data collected if they design a spatial design to evaluate treatments. We will show some preliminary results of an entire farm seed rate study using variable rate technologies to set up on farm precision experimentation without interference in the operational farm routine.

 

The Potential Of Precision Agriculture Technologies To Support Implementation Of Site-Specific Management Of Cotton Production In Alabama

Presented by:  Dr. Brenda Ortiz, Professor & Extension Specialist, Auburn University
Presented by:  Michael Mullek, Alabama Farmer, Mullek Farm

The use of precision agriculture (PA) technologies tomonitor crop, soils,and weather conditions and precisely place inputs such as seeds, fertilizer,and water according to within-field variability is allowing farmers to meet 21stcenturychallenges. In Alabama, PAextension specialists are working closely with stakeholders on evaluation and demonstration of PA technologies. In 2022 at a 64 acres field from the Mullek farms, we demonstrated several PA technologies. A 12-row John Deere planter retrofitted with Precision Planting® technologies was used to evaluate the impact of three downforce treatment (95, 120, and 150 pounds) on three cotton seeding rates. These treatments arranged on a split-split plot design received two nitrogen placement treatments. A Sentera drone was used to collect multispectral images to monitor crop growth. Preliminary results showed as the downforce increased, seeding depth increased, and plant height decreased. The impact of downforce on plant height changed within the field, zone, and with seeding rate. We were able to show the potential of drone images to capturing changes in plant height, crop biomass, and crop yield. These results showed the potential that PA technologies have on addressing within-field variability and adjusting management to that variability.

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Developing A Digital Strategy For Your Farm

Presented by:  Dr. Ed Barnes, Director, Agricultural and Environmental Research, Cotton Incorporated

Large amounts of data now flow through agricultural equipment and there are increasingly more ways to capture site specific field characteristics. To generate value from these data, standard operation practices are needed, data have to be collected and stored in a central location and translated into management decisions. And then there are data backup and sharing issues that have to be addressed. In this roundtable, we will discuss what needs to be considered when developing a digital strategy for your farm and ask participants to share what has and has not work for their operations and provide questions to the experts in the room.

Using Soil Moisture Sensors Across The Entire Farming Enterprise:  Lessons Learned From Those Who Are Doing It

Presented by:  Dr. Chris Henry, Associate Professor and Water Management Engineer, University of Arkansas
Presented by:  Dr. Drew Gholson, Assistant Professor/Extension Irrigation Specialist, Delta Research & Extension Center
Presented by:  Travis Senter, Arkansas Farmer
Presented by:  Will Hart, Mississippi Farmer
Presented by:  Sledge Taylor, Mississippi Farmer

Utilizing Soil Moisture Sensors across the entire farming enterprise is challenging and is potentially a capital-intensive process. Lessons learned from utilizing soil moisture monitoring, the successes and pitfalls will be shared in this farmer panel session.

Understanding Your Soil Test Recommendations

Presented by:  Dr. Nathan Slaton, Assoc. Vice President for Agriculture, Assistant Director of the AAES, (SOIL)-Soil Testing, University of Arkansas
Presented by:  Dr. Rasel Parvej, Assistant Professor & Soil Fertility Specialist, LSU AgCenter
Presented by:  Oscar Ruiz, Jr., Agronomist, Waypoint Analytical

Consistent high yield cotton and rice production often requires supplemental fertilization. In this roundtable, the details of how a soil test recommendation is constructed will be discussed. This information can be used to make more profitable fertilizer decisions.

Learning To Live With Insects – Understanding The Economics Of IPM

Presented by:  Dr. Tyler Towles, Assistant Professor Entomology, LSU AgCenter
Presented by:  Dr. Whitney D. Crow, Assistant Professor, Extension Entomologist, Mississippi State University
Presented by:  Dr. Sebe Brown, Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist, Field Crop Entomologist, University of Tennessee
Presented by:  Dr. Scott H. Graham, Extension Entomologist, Auburn University
Presented by:  Dr. Ben Thrash, Extension Entomologist, University of Arkansas

This roundtable will be an open discussion about major insect pests in multiple crops, using them as examples to understand the proper implementation of integrated pest management. Topics will include understanding the ability of the crop to tolerate or compensate for insect injury, the development of economically sound treatment thresholds, and debating if and when treatment thresholds should be adjusted ‘on the fly’ based on real-world practicalities of crop management.