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Rice, soybeans focus of virtual field day

by Special to The Commercial | October 5, 2021 at 3:11 a.m.
A farmer harvests rice in Monroe County near Brinkley in this September 2020 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staton Breidenthal)

Research advancements in rice and soybeans, two of the top agricultural commodities in Arkansas, will be the focus of a virtual field day from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will present the session.

The online field day is free, but registration is required. Those who are interested can register online at up until the start of the event.

The event will consist of prerecorded presentations with a question-and-answer session that allows viewers to ask Division of Agriculture scientists about how the research applies to their crops and operations, according to a news release.

Jeremy Ross, a professor and soybean extension agronomist for the Division of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension Service, said farmers may take a particular interest this year in the presentations on insect management.

"This year has been a struggle from the beginning on soybeans because of armyworm and corn earworms," Ross said. "It was surprising because we had really cold conditions in February that typically pushes insects farther south, but that wasn't the case this year."

Jarrod Hardke, professor and rice extension agronomist, said updates on the rice breeding program will also be of interest to rice farmers.

According to the 2020 Arkansas Agriculture Profile, the state ranks first in the nation in rice production. More than 1.6 million acres are harvested annually in more than 40 counties. Commodity value in 2019 for Arkansas rice was more than $985 million.

Arkansas harvests about 3.5 million acres of soybeans annually and is ranked 11th in the nation for production, according to the 2020 Arkansas Agriculture Profile. Soybeans are the No. 2 agricultural commodity in value for the state, surpassing $1.1 billion in 2019.

The field day will cover research on new rice and soybean varieties, soil fertility, weed management, and disease and pest control.

Field day topics and speakers on Thursday include:

• Billbug control in row rice -- Nick Bateman, assistant professor and extension entomologist.

• Update on rice breeding program -- Xueyan Sha, professor of rice breeding and genetics, and Christian De Guzman, assistant professor of rice breeding and genetics.

• Weed control in rice and soybeans -- Tommy Butts, assistant professor and extension weed scientist.

• Soil fertility, cover crops and fertilization in rice and soybeans -- Trent Roberts, associate professor of soil fertility and soil testing.

• Update from the soybean breeding program -- Leandro Mozzoni, associate professor of soybean breeding and genetics.

• Assessing nematicide effectiveness in soybeans -- Travis Faske, professor and extension plant pathologist.

• Insect control in soybeans -- Ben Thrash, assistant professor and extension entomologist.

Presentations from the online event will be made available on-demand afterward. An online field day for corn and cotton will be held Oct. 28.

To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow the agency on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch and Instagram at @ArkAgResearch.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without discrimination.

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