Research, innovation and education — you’ll hear these three words repeated time and again when describing what a visitor will find at the Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day. 

Scheduled for Thursday, July 12 at Spence Field in Moultrie, Ga., site of the Sunbelt Expo, Field Day is an annual preview for the big show held in October and it’s an opportunity for farmers to see the latest seed varieties, chemical applications, irrigation technology and precision ag technology — all in an applied research setting.

UGA Extension agents are partnering with the Sunbelt Expo to continue research and development of cucurbit (cantaloupe and watermelon) and cotton, grown in an intercropping management approach. Intercropping is the cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field. It also means the growing of two or more crops on the same field with the planting of the second crop after the first one has completed its development.

The rationale behind intercropping is that the different crops planted are unlikely to share the same insect pests and disease-causing pathogens and to conserve the soil.

Ag Technologies LLC and Trimble continue to be at the forefront of precision agriculture. In the fields will be a demonstration of The GreenSeeker RT200, an on-the-go plant sensor system that determines the health of a plant in real time and delivers the optimum amount of nitrogen or plant growth regulator to improve yields. 

The GreenSeeker RT200 allows on-the-go zone management of top/side dress nitrogen. It “talks” to the plant instead of the soil… effectively giving the plant a physical.

It verifies the amount of the nitrogen the soil has made available in season, then writes a nitrogen prescription for the sprayer to deliver. This helps eliminate costly excess application. The RT200 can deliver improved yield, lower nitrogen cost and increase profits!

Irrigation technology is a key factor in the success of many farming operations, especially in drought prone areas. As with most innovations in farming, the bottom line in determining whether or not to adopt is cost, and subsurface drip irrigation has proven no different. 

As irrigated acres continue to increase in the Southeast, growers are looking for the most efficient method, and they want to know how the cost of drip irrigation compares to the tried-and-true center pivot system.

Answering this question at Field Day will be BB Hobbs, a leader in the irrigation, waste water, and fertigation industries. The company specializes in large automated irrigation systems with a major emphasis on drip irrigation and solid set irrigation. 

Advanced soil moisture sensors

Advanced soil moisture sensors could lead to farmers adopting a more precise irrigation scheduling method. Flint River Basin Partnership with Rad Yager will discuss the advantages of incorporating soil moisture sensors into irrigation management.

Demonstrations on commercial farms show the potential for more efficient irrigation with sensors as compared to standard irrigation scheduling methods. Additionally they highlight the dramatic impact irrigation makes on crop yields and grade.

The Expo farm has embarked on a precision drain tile project to remove excess water and make fertile fields more farmable. The first phase of the newest drainage project took place in a small field where University of Georgia Extension weed scientist Stanley Culpepper conducts research on controlling difficult weeds such as glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.

A nearby second field behind the Expo farm shop will be used for an additional precision drain tile demonstration and educational seminars during Field Day. Visitors will learn why and where precision drain tile will benefit land in the Southeast.

The University of Georgia Peanut Team is conducting a research trial comparing eight runner-type peanut cultivars for their response to single and twin row planting patterns.

Five currently available cultivars and three newly released cultivars were planted in late April and will be on display.

Peanut producers have a lot to be excited about in regards to peanut cultivar selection. The peanut breeding programs at the University of Georgia, USDA-ARS, and the University of Florida have developed and recently released cultivars that provide producers with a higher yield plateau compared to the old standard, Georgia Green. Early results indicate these new cultivars can, on average, yield 500 to 1,000 pounds per acre more than Georgia Green.

Field Day will also include a look at the latest varieties of cotton, corn and soybeans. Feed grains and corn are the most widely grown crops in the U.S. Despite high stockpiles, supplies for corn remain tight because of its use for fuel production. All of the companies that sell corn hybrids have new and improved varieties that will be on display. 

Cotton remains a staple crop in the Southeast and companies are excited to showcase some of the improved varieties that are new to the marketplace. 

The University of Georgia Cotton Team will discuss experiments across several disciplines including soil fertility, weed management, entomology and plant growth management.

• Trams depart starting at 8:30 and a complimentary lunch is served at 12:15.

• Biscuit Breakfast Reception from 7:15am-8:15am with Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.

• Register before 8:15a.m. for a chance to win a $100 early bird cash prize.

• Grand Prize and Door Prize Giveaways. Every attendee receives an Expo cap.