Cotton Field Day could change production practices


KEISER – A Sept. 9 Cotton Field Day will feature new research that could alter the way farmers in northeast Arkansas irrigate their cotton and other crops.

Arkansas farmers harvested 305,000 acres of cotton in 2013, much of it in northeastern Arkansas.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cotton Field Day at Manila begins at 8 a.m. with registration and runs through lunch, which starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Manila Airport, farmed by Costner & Sons Farm as cooperator.

“The uniqueness of this property is that we don’t have this soil type on any of our experiment stations,” said Fred Bourland, director of the Northeast Research and Extension Center in Keiser. This is important since “it is a major soil type used for cotton in northeast Arkansas.

The spur for the field day was a study initiated by Ray Benson, Mississippi County extension staff chair, who looked at irrigation timing on the soil type in question.

”He quickly determined that our current irrigation practices are not effectively watering the soil profile - thus optimum timing and termination cannot be accurately evaluated,” Bourland said. “Such research could directly affect how crops are irrigated in this area and indirectly affect all aspects of crop management on these fields.”

Ray Benson, Mississippi County extension staff chair for the U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the new location for a demonstration plot has “the potential to have some very meaningful work.

“Its proximity to a large percentage of our county’s and state’s cotton acreage, as well as the willingness of the local farmers, city government and airport officials to work with division to support research can make this site an important part of the experiment station’s efforts to improve cotton production in our state,” he said.

On the agenda:

Featured presentations include experts from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Northeast Research and Extension Center, the Lon Mann Cotton Station in Marianna, Arkansas State University and the Mississippi County Extension Office.

⦁ 8:30-9 a.m. - Fred Bourland, professor and director of NEREC – “Cotton Variety Testing”

⦁ 9 a.m.-9:30 a.m. - Morteza Mozaffari, assistant professor-Crop, Soil and Environmental Science, “Field evaluation of controlled release nitrogen fertilizers in sandy soils.”

⦁ 9:30-10 a.m. - Bill Robertson, Extension cotton agronomist, “Cotton Defoliation and Foliar Feeds”

⦁ 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. - Jason Osborn, Mississippi County extension agent, “Phaucet Irrigation

⦁ 10:30-11 a.m. - Ray Benson, Mississippi County Extension staff chair, “Pitfalls of Irrigation in Cotton”

⦁ 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m. - Tina Gray Teague, Professor of Entomology, Arkansas State - University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, “Tools for Managing Plant Bugs”

⦁ 11:30 a.m. - Lunch

Also on the program are student research presentations, including developing of a wireless sensor network to monitor irrigation; environmental cues for timing irrigation in soybeans, and production impacts of using edge of field monitoring.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.