Alabama farmers are gearing up to feed more people with fewer resources in the next few decades.

But, what skills will they need?

This question will be addressed at the 2013 Alabama Corn and Wheat Short Course, scheduled Dec. 16-17 at the E.V. Smith Research Center Conference Facility, located on 4725 County Road 40 in Shorter.

Brenda Ortiz, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System specialist and Auburn University assistant professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, says this short course will essentially serve as a forum for Alabama wheat and corn producers, crop consultants, Extension agents and specialists to meet and to share key strategies for addressing these challenges.

 

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“Farmers are faced with increases in human populations all over the planet even as they deal with spiking fuel and related farm costs and all sorts of environmental issues,” Ortiz says.

“Farmers are being called on to rise to these challenges, and that’s the reason for this meeting — to provide them as well as crop consultants and Extension educators with a forum through which they can share and discuss these issues and identify responses.”

“We are hoping for an eye-opening, freewheeling discussion on the future of wheat and corn production in Alabama,” she says.

Major focus

One major focus of the short course will be discussing how Extension recommendations formulated in other Southeastern states to address these key challenges can be tailored to Alabama crop conditions.

“The good news is that farmers in Alabama and throughout the country are consistently demonstrating it is possible to raise yields while remaining environmentally sustainable, and that’s one of the stories we want to tell at this short course.”

Ortiz says this short course will feature an all-star cast of Extension faculty from seven land-grant universities: the University of Arkansas, Auburn University, the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University and Oklahoma State University.

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service will also speak.

One of the highlights of the short course will be a growers’ panel.  The panelists will discuss how the various topics explored at the short course can be applied to their own farming operations.

The two-day course will cover all facets of corn and wheat production. The first day will begin with a discussion of the overall corn and wheat crop economic outlook, followed by presentations on planting systems and seeding operations, nitrogen fertilization, seeding and spacing requirements, weed management and climate forecasting.

Topics covered on the second day will include irrigation strategies and pest and disease management.

The second day will be capped off with a discussion of the role private industry will serve in helping growers meet these challenges.

The second day will also include a discussion of how growers can make more effective use of social media, not only how to follow trending farming issues more closely but also how to share their views with other growers and how to communicate more effectively with laypeople about farming issues.

Certified Crop Advisor Units (CEUs) will be available.

To register, e-mail hollokm@auburn.edu or call (334) 844-3899.

 

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