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Tours added to show expanded research at field day


This year's Southwest Center field day, Friday, Sept. 11, includes a grapes tour. Listed as a "special" tour last year, the grape tour now joins the field day's regular lineup.

A new vineyard across the road from the headquarter will provide growers, and potential growers, a view of the new grape variety plantings, said Richard Crawford, superintendent of the University of Missouri research farm.

Traditional tours of dairy, beef, forages and horticulture also will offer new research at the center on Highway H, four miles southwest of Mount Vernon.

¬ There will be a new special tour on "Greener Agriculture," requested by the center advisory board. With the U.S. Congress debating climate change legislation, agricultural environmental issues are in the news.

Ray Massey, MU Extension agricultural economist, will lead off with a talk on potential "cap and trade" markets for farmers.

Walking and wagon tours start at 9 a.m. and continue until 1 p.m.

¬ A ticket for a free lunch, with pie extra, will go to the first 1,000 visitors to register, starting at 8:30 a.m. Exhibitors will fill the machine shed and the grassy midway behind the administration building.

¬ The grazing dairy herd and its paddocks, which have been receiving international attention, will be the site of the dairy tour. Joe Horner, economist with the MU Extension Commercial Agriculture Program, will talk about new career paths in dairy through "Sharemilking."

¬ On the beef tour, calves from the beef herd will be on test at the GrowSafe feeding system, which helps measure residual feed intake. Monty Kerley and Justin Sexten, MU nutritionists, will explain studies underway with the new 100-cow beef herd.

¬ The forage tour will be of interest to both dairy and beef farmers, Crawford said. Craig Roberts, MU Extension forage specialist, will tell of new research on toxins in tall fescue.

¬ On the horticulture tour, Andy Thomas, MU horticulturist at the center, will lead walking tours of his fruit, vegetable and flower research plots.

¬ In the exhibit area, MU specialists will open shop for walk-in customers with questions. "Ask the Experts" panels have been long favorites at the field day, Crawford said. Homeowners and farmers can bring samples of plants with insect or disease damage to illustrate their questions.

Visitors with questions about computers can ask those at a "Computers on the Farm" session. John Travlos and Greg Rotert of the MU Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board (AgEBB.missouri.edu), Columbia, will be there to demonstrate their service.

For driving directions, see aes.missouri.edu/swcenter/scdir.stm. For more information, call the center at 417-466-2148.

The annual field day is co-sponsored by the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and Ozark Electric Cooperative, Mount Vernon. The co-op will hold its annual meeting under the big top tent on the center grounds.

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