The Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day is the midsummer place to see the best products, varieties and on-farm research in action in the Southeast at one of the region’s premier educational facilities for top commodities.

Sunbelt Ag Field Day will be July 10 in Moultrie, Ga. Breakfast will be served at 7:15 a.m. with short welcomes and comments. At 8 a.m. shuttles will be loaded to tour the farm, where 30 to 35 stops are scheduled with specific time allotted for each stop.

“Last year’s field day worked great with the different schedule, so we didn’t see any need to change it much. We work to make things better each year but also keep what works best for our guests. Again this year we’re focusing on our core agronomic crops at the field day, especially our corn, cotton, soybean and peanut work,” said Michael Chafin, in his third year as the Sunbelt Ag Expo Darrell Williams Research Farm manager.

The tours will end by noon. Ameris Bank will provide a lunch for those who want a bite to eat before leaving. After the tour, sponsors and company representatives will be on hand at booths setup where the shuttles unload passengers for attendees to mingle and talk with as long as they like. There will be door prizes awarded.

Despite a wet spring this year which slowed planting in the area, 25 to 30 top corn varieties will be setting kernels for attendees to judge, Chafin said.

“We had some setbacks but not too much this spring here on the farm but not as bad as many other locations. We were able to get land prep done and get trials planted on time. But it wasn’t easy,” he said. “The farm crew really stepped it up to keep us on time and to get things done despite the rain we had that really did cause some problems for some growers.”

Land-grant answers

The Expo farm site is a primary site for University of Georgia research trials for all major Southern agronomic crops. UGA Cooperative Extension specialist for corn, cotton, soybeans and peanuts will share their on-site research in better fertility, variety trials and disease and pest management.

More and more Southern corn and cotton farmers are seeing the benefit of well-timed fungicide applications. Though some commodity prices have slumped this year, still investing in protecting yields against fungal diseases is something that can payoff for growers, Chafin said.

Herbicide resistance continues to be a major focus for cotton in the region. UGA weed specialists plus company representatives will talk about management strategies now to deal with the issue plus what is coming down the pipeline to help growers win the battle against hard-to-control weeds.

Top companies with top varieties

Monsanto will feature their DeKalb corn varieties. Pioneer will have popular corn varieties, often used by high-yield winners, on display. Syngenta will have their Norfolk King corn hybrids developed for the Southeast. WinField will showcase its Croplan corn and soybean varieties bred for the Southeast.

Fertilizer tests are being conducted on corn and most other crops being grown at the Expo. Maximizing plant nutrients use is always a top priority for growers who want the most from their variety choices.

Cotton will feature the top performing varieties based on annual official variety tests across the Southeast and representatives from the various companies that provide cotton seed and cotton technology will be on hand during the field day.

Bayer with FiberMax and Stoneville varieties will show old and new Liberty technology.

The Expo Farm is a part of Monsanto/Deltapine’s New Product Evaluator program and the same varieties being grown by 200 or so farmers across the cotton-belt will be shown during the field day.

Americot has developed new varieties that have performed well in OVT testing in the Southeast. The company is making a push to increase market-share in the Southeast. Several of their new varieties will be on display at the field day.

Dow’s Phytogen brand cotton has made a big push in the Southeast in recent years and several of the Phytogen varieties will be shown at the field day.

The Expo farm has several large-plot soybean OVT variety trials each year. Chafin says Monsanto and their AsGrow brand soybean seeds will be planted and company representatives will discuss production of soybeans in the Southeast.

Pioneer will have some of their soybean varieties in the test program at the Expo Farm. The company’s Y series of soybean varieties have shown promise in recent years for enhanced pest resistance and adaptability to a number of yield-limiting factors common in the Southeast.

DeWitt, an Arkansas-based company now with Bayer, will have soybean varieties there.

 “The field day is for farmers and for those interested in what is available to help make Southeast agriculture more profitable and efficient, and that is what we strive to do with the field day: make it profitable and efficient for those who attend,” said Chafin. “Come with your questions and leave with answers you can use on your farm.”