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Wheat field day offers look back, forward


Wheat producers have tackled a tough year of drought, pests, disease and a late freeze. A field day scheduled May 21 at the research farm near Bushland will provide some insight on what lies ahead for area small-grains growers, according to program coordinators.

"Wheat Issues and Challenges" is the theme of the small-grains field day to be hosted by Texas AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and West Texas A&M University.

The program will begin with registration at 9 a.m., in the Porter Wheat Building, and field tours will follow at 9:25 a.m. The program will conclude after lunch, which will include a keynote speech by Laura Sands of the ClarkGroup titled "Carbon Credit Policies and Their Impact on Agriculture."

As in the past, during the tour Dr. Jackie Rudd, AgriLife Research wheat breeder, will discuss new varieties being developed. And Dr. Brent Bean, AgriLife Extension agronomist, will talk to producers about management decisions to consider now and for next year.

The tour-stop topics will be:

--Stop 1: Wheat varieties, wheat breeding program, certified seed supply and wheat production issues in 2009.

--Stop 2: Irrigation equipment and application technologies, irrigation automation and plant sensors, and grass control in winter wheat.

--Stop 3: Wheat streak mosaic virus resistance, greenbug and Russian wheat aphids, seed treatment and fungicide, and field bindweed mites.

During the luncheon program, local producer David Cleavinger will give an update on his year as president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and discuss top issues facing the industry.

Additionally, a special presentation will be made to recognize Dr. Nolan Clark, who will be retiring as director of the USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory at Bushland.

Two continuing education units will be offered at the program: one in integrated pest management and one general.

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