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Agronomy Day     Send a link to a friend

[JULY 19, 2004]  URBANA -- Agronomy Day 2004 at the University of Illinois is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 19. Besides tours and tent displays highlighting the latest developments in agricultural research, this year's event will feature special ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of research on the South Farms.

"Agronomy Day serves as an annual showcase in which faculty have an opportunity to discuss their latest research findings with clientele from Illinois and neighboring states," said Steve Moose, assistant professor of genetics in the Department of Crops Sciences and chairman for Agronomy Day. "This year is also the 100th anniversary of research on the South Farms, so some of the historic research conducted during the past century will also be highlighted."

Agronomy Day will begin at 7 a.m. at the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, which is located off St. Mary's Road on extended Wright Street, south of the main Urbana-Champaign campus [map].  Hour-long wagon tours around the research plots will repeat every half-hour as groups are available, with the last tour group leaving at noon.

One tour will focus on soil fertility, with presentations on variation in corn response to nitrogen, a new nitrogen soil test, Illinois nitrogen recommendations, soil compaction and twin rows for corn.

A second tour will cover diseases and insect pests, including use of fungicides to control soybean rust, rootworm management, emerging disease issues, nematodes in corn and soybean aphids.

A third tour will focus on weed management issues. The stops will cover weed competition in pastures, weed competition from glyphosate-tolerant crops, herbicide injury in soybeans and variable-rate sprayers.

A final tour will concentrate on the past, present and future of research at the U of I. The presentations include long-term selection for grain composition in corn, miscanthus as an alternative bio-fuel crop, the effects of climate change on corn and soybeans, ozone effects on soybeans, and a Web tool for crop marketing.

The special presentation celebrating the 100th anniversary of research on the South Farms is scheduled for noon in the area near the main registration tent. The featured speaker for the event will be U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jim Moseley.


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As the deputy secretary, Moseley oversees the day-to-day activities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He has played a key role in developing public policy for agriculture, the environment and natural resources conservation at the state and national political levels. He was born in Peru, Ind., and holds a degree from Purdue University.

"The events celebrating the centennial of research on the South Farms provide a fitting addition to our other Agronomy Day activities," Moose said. "The research conducted here has played a major role in developing the modern agricultural system, which has been so successfully in feeding an ever-increasing world population while at the same time protecting the environment."

Moose notes that agronomy research was initiated on the present farm in 1904 on the 80 acres that lie immediately south of the Seedhouse. A system of crop rotations was started on the eight series of plots that were laid out from west to east.

"It is interesting to note that one of the rotations was made up of sugar beets, corn, vetch and potatoes, not all of which are common agronomic crops today," he said. "The 30-acre tract that reaches northward to St. Mary's Road and contains the present buildings was added to the original 80 acres sometime before 1925."

The South Farms continued to expand slowly but steadily in size to more than 400 acres by the mid-1990s. Acquisitions in the last 10 years have increased the area to nearly 1,000 acres, with a wide variety of research activities under way.

The 48th consecutive Agronomy Day is a partnership among several academic units in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the U of I.

For additional information, please contact Sharon Conatser at (217) 333-4256.

[University of Illinois news release]

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