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By Echo Menges,
NEMOnews Media Group
After shifting to a virtual presentation lineup of annual field day activities in 2020, the University of Missouri shifted back to an in-person gathering for this year’s lineup and late summer start of the 2021 field day season.
Last week’s Field Day at the Lee Greenley Jr. Memorial Research Center packed a technological punch, which was delivered to approximately 125 attendees and coincided with some of the most agreeable weather this reporter has ever experienced during the event.
Each of the three tours kept with the traditional themes of beef, crops and pests, and offered three specific stops along each route. Attendees climbed aboard one of three trailers, which have been fitted with bleacher style seating and a canopy for shade.
Essentially, classrooms full of students were pulled by tractors to respective areas of the farm and educated while physically being in the field and at the study area being featured.
The tours were staggered in a way that an attendee could get on a trailer and eventually see every presentation being offered.
The “Beef and Forage Management Tour” featured presentations on strip grazing milo as a winter feed alternative by Anita Ellis and Rusty Lee, a cover crop forage study on yield and economics by Zac Erwin, and a veterinary breakdown of parasites in cattle including Anaplasmosis, Deer Flukes and Haemolyticum by Dr. Tim Evans and Dr. Lauren Delaney.
The “Agronomic Management Tour” featured presentations on industrial hemp production by Allyson Rumler, drainage water recycling study updates from Dr. Kelly Nelson and Harpreet Kaur, and the impacts of cover crops on corn and soybeans by Dr. Dhruba Dahkal.
The “Integrated Pest Management Tour” was the most technology heavy attraction featuring presentations on new solutions for managing the Soybean Cyst Nematode by Jefferson Barizon, using drones for spraying, seeding and spreading by Taylor Moreland, and Dr. Kevin Bradley hosted a stop on non-conventional weed management tools including an electric shock and grinding seeds down to a fine dust to prevent germination.
A couple of the most notable tech heavy offerings came in the form of two drones that gave live demonstrations for spraying, seeding and spreading. Attendees got to witness the drones at work in the field, which was impressive, and discuss the ever evolving applications of drones in agriculture, battery life and pricing for what’s available right now.
Greenley’s Annual Field Days have consistently gotten better over the lifetime of the center’s existence, and this year’s offering was no different.
The years of hosting on-farm tours and onsite presentations, which continue to be fine-tuned, have hit on an educational sweet spot – something the late Hortense Greenley would have loved. The 2021 offering was a digestible accumulation of knowledge with enough high-impact students and professors to keep it exciting without overloading attendees.
The research center was donated by and carries the namesake of the late Hortense Greenley’s father, and has now logged 44 years of carrying agricultural education directly to the public through on farm presentations by some of the best and brightest minds the university system has to offer.
In years past, a lot of emphasis was placed on the traditional lunchtime gathering inside the center’s main barn on the property. Greenley’s annual field day luncheon has been used as an announcement avenue for university programs and has been known to host lecture style educational presentations during the event. The luncheon has also been a hot spot for State and US legislators doing everything from campaigning to giving legislative updates.
This year, breakfast was served by Miller Catering from Edina and the luncheon served by Nolan’s based in Macon. The luncheon was the last offering of the day and hosted one main speaker, University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Vice Chancellor and Dean Christopher Daubert.
Daubert spoke briefly and mainly about the coming reorganization of the university research center model and highlighted the hard work of the staff that went into organizing the event.
Minus the bells and whistles of a packed building and lineup of speakers, this year’s luncheon served as an extension of the outdoor classrooms. Many attendees took the opportunity to sit with university researchers and presenters to delve deeper into the studies that interested them most.
The Greenley Field Day traditionally kicks-off the University of Missouri’s field day season. Visit https:// cafnr.missouri.edu/ research/field-days/ online for a list of field day offerings throughout the state, which are being offered through October 8.