Series of MU farm field days started with two in Columbia


University of Missouri field day season started with two one-day events at MU Bradford Farm, Columbia. Field days translate research, both old and new, into terms farmers need and understand.

An advantage field days have at MU farms is visitors see the plots growing current research. But this year, not so much. Scientists face weather and slow- growth problems hitting farmers. They have delayed and prevented planting also. MU isn’t exempt from odd weather plaguing the state.

After an early hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, we’ll see more weather impacts. In past drought years some leftover hurricane rains saved forage and soybean crops.

About every year beef herd owners with fescue fields receive a surge of fall growth from their cool-season grass from rains that come about Sept. 1. Fescue grows in two surges, spring and fall. The summer slump in between becomes severe in drought years.

In droughts, soybeans keep trying to set pods all summer. Corn can be done with one pollination season. Soybeans drop blossoms and then bloom again. We’ve made big bean crops on the fifth bloom.

This year, spotty thunderstorms with local rains keep coming right on through the slump. Even with so much rain, historical record amounts, some areas need rain. Maybe hurricane rains will be widespread.

Too many five inch rains, may just prolong flooding,

Weather forecast models just don’t seem to fit the modern climate.

So, who knows what we’ll see. Already, I’ve heard the hurricane- rain forecasts extended further north than told earlier.

We need moisture for winter stockpiled forage growth.

The other recent big news comes from USDA allowing use of cover crops on prevented planted acres. This may make a big difference. Both corn and beans can be planted as cover crops; but they can’t be harvested for grain. They are to be used for forage only. They can be grazed, baled, ensiled or used about any way possible after Sept. 1.

The field day speakers recognized the changes. Newly formed lessons were added.

In some cases, there’s no research to support growing forages with grain crop this late in the season, Farmers may become part of the experimenting.

An advantage of field days at the research farms in that the programs are largely by the MU Extension specialists. They have experience based on their previous research and in working with farmers to come up with proposed answers.

There will be many more field days. Each regional experiment farm will offer the latest needed information. This is a year not to miss the local field day.

The original intent of the two Bradford field days was mainly to update regional Extension specialists and to train the Certified Crop Advisors. These are employees of the local farmer cooperatives and commercial companies,

Along the way increasingly some top crop farmers came and tagged along to be trained as well. This is good.

The first field day on Pest Management is largely by Extension. Organizers know the value of communicating.

The second on Crop Management is more from the Experiment Station side. There was a slip up this year in getting the word out on.

Attendance at the first was overwhelming. At the second, not so much. To me, it’s a huge lesson in the importance of getting press releases to newspapers and magazines.

Some administrators think only in digital messages on the Internet. Not everyone connects this way out in rural Missouri. A major lesson here.

I’m biased, of course, but I see a place for a journalist who writes in farm talk that even newspaper editors understand. It’s just a wild idea. I’ll keep contributing my time. And, maybe take on the tough task of training administrators. How’s that for optimism?

Farm readers; let me know how you want to get information on field days.

Tell me at Or send snail mail to S133B Animal Science Center, MU, Columbia, Mo., 65211.


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