PORTAGEVILLE - From computers to seeds, agriculture related information was on display at Lee's Farm near Portageville Friday as the University of Missouri Delta Center hosted the 41st Annual Field Day.
The purpose of the annual event is "to share our latest findings and research with the farmers," explained Thomas E. "Jake" Fisher, superintendent of Delta Center.
"It's just gone super," said Fisher following the luncheon, crediting the "outpouring of support" for the event.
As several schools are out for Labor Day, there were noticeably fewer bus loads of school kids than in previous years, but Fisher estimated 600 people had attended the breakfast earlier and around 1,500 were there for lunch. "It's been one of our better field days."
Field Day began at 7:30 a.m. with an appreciation breakfast which included comments from Senator Kit Bond, U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary Bill Hawks, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof and Gov. Bob Holden in addition to introducing the center's officials.
Charles Kruse, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, presented the 2002 Friend of Agriculture Award to State Rep. Danny Merideth.
The highlight of the appreciation breakfast, however, was the presentation of a check for $99,900 to the University of Missouri Delta Center from Greg Branum, state director of Rural Development.
Following the breakfast, tours on a variety of agricultural-related subjects were available until 2 p.m. by hopping aboard one of five colored trailers.
The Blue Tour focused on cotton production with Bobby Phipps speaking on replant decisions, Michael Boyd providing a cotton insect update advising on pest management and scouting, and Bob Hayes offering harvest aid strategies for a late crop.
The Yellow Tour's topic was weed management. Tom Mueller provided a weed control update, Andy Kendig spoke about conservation tillage weed issues, and Robert Cobill gave a cotton weed control update.
Soybean production was covered on the Red Tour. Grover Shannon discussed new soybean varieties and their flood tolerance, Eddie Adams advised farmers to "know what you're planting," and Allen Wrather shared the best method for soybean disease management.
On the White Tour, integrated crop management was the subject with Gene Stevens speaking on pharmaceutical corn production, Don Howard covering foliar fertilization of cotton, and David Dun offering advice on in-season nutrient management.
The Green Tour offered information on irrigation management. Greg Rotert introduced listeners to web-based irrigation aids, Ken Sudduth talked about using plant temperature to help schedule irrigation, and Joe Henggeler offered an update on additional irrigation information.
Up until the last couple of years, the gathering areas and information booths were all under tents, but with G.W. "Son" Rone Exhibit Hall now available at Lee Farm, participants have a place to cool down and visit at information booths in between tours in addition to having an enclosed area for the breakfast and luncheon.
In addition to the tours, there were over 40 informational booths inside and another 10 outside under tents. "It's one of the bigger field days I've been to," said Cortney Miller, communication specialist for the Thomas Jefferson Agricultural Institute in Columbia.
"There's been a constant flow of people," said Krissi Williams of Sikeston, a farm marketer at the Cargill booth.
Along with the booths offering information on banks, farm credit services, agriculture industry products, and government agricultural agencies, one booth had people lining up for free cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar screens.
Another popular booth demonstrated Power Line Communications, a broadband alternative to DSL and cable Internet access which sends the data over ordinary power lines by plugging a PLC "modem" into any grounded electric outlet.
"It's Internet service over power lines," said Cindy Bambini, engineer for Ameren services, explaining PLC can provide cost-effective broadband service to rural areas that haven't been able to get it. She said the said the price would be "competitive with DSL and cable" for typical users and the technology is able to provide bandwidth equal to a T1 line.