By Echo Menges
I would be remiss if I didn't admit I'm handicapped in the Ag department. I imagine most local circles would consider me somewhat "city-fied" and uneducated in the art of farming and raising cattle. Never the less I braved Greenley Research Farm's Annual Field Day event, held Tuesday, August 10th, 2010, anyway.
It was my first visit to the gathering that's been going on every summer at the Greenley Farm for the past 33 years.
The event is free to anyone who wishes to learn about what's going on at Greenley complete with a complimentary lunch served there on the farm and a keynote speaker who was Dr. Jon Hagler, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
The Greenley Research Farm is part of the University of Missouri and gives students and researchers the kind of place they can learn and experiment on everything from cattle reproduction and nutrition to plant science and chemical effectiveness.
Greeley’s Field Day gives Missouri farmers the chance to tour and learn about what Greenley specialists are working on and take a sneak peak at what's around the corner in the advancement of agriculture. It's an up close look at the cutting edge of agriculture.
The day began at 7:30am at a registration booth for guests. Each guest was asked to fill out a card with a minimal amount of personal information and was given a fairly thick book entitled, "2010 Field Day Report", a 109-page wealth of information. I won't pretend to understand even part of the information inside.
After registration guests were given the choice of climbing aboard one of three rolling tour trailers, which were hooked up to tractors. Two of them had shade and one did not.
I chose the Beef Cattle Tour, which was basically a long row of hay sitting on top of an uncovered trailer. About 20 other people were already on board and I took a seat near the end.
My thinking was to get on the un-shaded tour first, before the heat got too bad. Of course I was the only guest without some type of hat on my head and I was wearing a black T-shirt. Not the recommended gear to be wearing out into the field on a day that had an expected heat index of 108. I should have taken more time to think about my attire.
On board I sat next to a gentleman named Bob Baker who raises beef cattle and grows his own hay in Cuba, Missouri. It was his second visit to Greenley and he told me the wealth of information he acquired at last years event brought him back this year. To be there for the event he had to leave his home at 3:00 in the morning and drive nearly 200 miles.
The beef tour was my favorite. The hay was soft to sit on, the wind was gentle, and the heat wasn't bearing down on us just yet. The tour stopped at four different stations. Each station was manned by a different specialist and equipped with charts and information on feed, protein and energy ratios of feed, artificial insemination, reproductive management, and how to store wet distillers.
The Beef Tour lasted a little over an hour and ice-cold bottles of water were in good supply to anyone who wanted one. It was obvious the folks over at Greenley have been doing this for some time.
Once the beef tour concluded I hopped on the Pest Control Tour opting for a shaded tour trailer this time. The sun was climbing and the temperature was rising. There were more seats on this tour and about double the amount of guests.
The Pest Control Tour stopped at three stations. The areas covered were pre-emergence herbicide for weeds like water hemp, fungicide application, and Dicamba resistant soybeans, which are expected to emerge on the market by 2013. I noticed many of the people on tour with me were marking and following along in the book given to us at the beginning of the event.
By the time the time the Pest Control Tour concluded the last tour which was on crops had already left without me. I spent the last 45 minutes or so milling around a shaded area where several booths were set up.
The Missouri Seed
Association had a booth on the far end of the tent. They were promoting two different types of soybean seeds, MPGH415CN and Patriot Seeds.
The Missouri Conservation Department had an unmanned booth set up with a slew of information, booklets, and pamphlets on Bobwhite Quail.
The USDA had a booth set up with information about the Federal Pesticide Record Keeping Program stocked with information about how to keep the required records for Restricted Use Chemicals.
And Prinsco Pipe, out of Bethany, had a booth set up with samples of storm water drainage pipes on display.
I was able to briefly speak with the Superintendent of Greenley, Randall Smoot, who told me they try to arrange the tours to go over what's currently happening in Missouri agriculture. He said this event brought in just over 200 people and recounted years past, which had over 300 guests on the farm for the Field Day event.
It would be a long shot to say the event was as beneficial to me as it was to the many Missouri farmers who attended but I would be lying if I didn't say I walked out of there knowing a heck of a lot more about Missouri agriculture than I did when I walk in.
I look forward to next year when I'll be sure to bring a hat and wear a lighter colored shirt to their Field Day event.
The Greenley Farm Field Day was a good look into what's going on out at the farm. While I don't know much about agriculture I know a lot more now that I've been.
I thought the property was well kept, well marked, and beautifully maintained. It's obvious the folks over at Greenley eat, sleep, and breathe agriculture even to a city girl like me.