If the tradition holds, then thousands of producers, agribusiness representatives, and interested participants are expected to attend the 25th Milan No-Till Crop Production Field Day July 24 at the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center at Milan, Tenn.

The event includes 19 tours featuring the latest developments in topics ranging from no-till crop management, bioenergy crop production, and agritourism.

Gates open at 6 a.m., and visitors are encouraged to arrive early to take full advantage of the day’s activities, which also include the No-Till Antique Tractor and Engine Show and the National Cotton Women’s Committee cotton fashion show and luncheon.

A featured topic will be the production and management of switchgrass as an energy crop. “Milan was at the forefront of development of no-till technology, and we are once again poised to be a leader in the research and production of a new agricultural commodity, switchgrass,” said Center Director Blake Brown.

UT AgResearch and UT Extension experts from a variety of departments, including biosystems engineering and soil sciences, will be on hand to explain the latest information and technologies for production of switchgrass for conversion to cellulosic ethanol.

An overview tour of the Milan AgResearch and Education Center will also be available to visitors during the field day. This riding tour will highlight the various research projects examining the region’s agriculture.

“The Milan No-Till Field Day is an opportunity to showcase a portion of the work we are doing. It allows crop-growers and community members to learn how to use the no-till method and its importance to the region,” said Brown.

Producers will also be interested in the economics of no-till production. “Not tilling the soil allows crop growers to make fewer trips across the land, which ultimately decreases the amount of fuel they use,” explained Brown. “Because of the increased cost of fuel, the no-till method can save growers money.”

The UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan was at the center of the development of no-till technology. No-till was started during the 1960s, during a time when west Tennessee had the highest rate of soil erosion in the country. Crop-growers literally lost tons of top soil annually, and they needed a way to keep topsoil in the field, instead of allowing it to be carried off into streams and rivers.

The UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan is one of 10 outdoor laboratories operated by the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station system as part of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. In addition to its agricultural research programs, the UT Institute of Agriculture also provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

For more information about the field day and associated community events, visit the Web site: http://milan.tennessee.edu/ or call (731) 686-7362.