• By Fred Miller •
Rice will lead off a series of online commodity-based field days designed to give Arkansans a first look at the latest University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture research and Extension from the safety of their homes.
The rice field day will be held at 6 p.m., Aug. 20, and will be followed at two-week intervals by corn on Sept. 3, soybeans on Sept. 17 and cotton on Oct. 1.
Social distancing protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic led the Division of Agriculture to take its annual agricultural field days online, said Nathan Slaton, associate vice president for agriculture and assistant director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.
“Field days are an important activity for the Division of Agriculture,” he said “They provide our farmers and other Arkansans an opportunity to hear directly from our scientists about research and extension programs that are important to them. Visitors also have an opportunity to ask questions and speak to us about the agricultural challenges they face and how we can assist them.
“In keeping with physical distancing precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are moving our field days online to maintain that face-to-face interaction without the risk of spreading the virus.”
The rice field day will cover new varieties, the latest research in hybrid varieties, soil fertility, weed management, and disease and pest control.
The event will open at 6 p.m. with a welcome from Bob Scott, former director of the Rice Research and Extension Center and new Division of Agriculture senior associate vice president and director of the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Roger Pohlner, chairman of the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board, will give an update on the board’s activities.
Online presentations by Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station researchers and Extension Service specialists will include:
• Weed Control in Rice — Jason Norsworthy, professor of weed science
• Hybrid Rice Breeding — Ehsan Shakiba, assistant professor of hybrid rice breeding
• Managing Potassium in Rice — Trent Roberts, associate professor and Extension soil fertility specialist
• Foliar Fungicides / Fungicide Seed Treatments — Yeshi Wamishe, Extension rice pathologist
• New Rice Varieties — Xueyan Sha, professor and rice breeder
A live question-and-answer session following the presentations will give participants an opportunity to interact with scientists and learn more about how the research applies to their crops and operations.
The field days are free, but registration is required to connect. Register for the rice field day here: https://bit.ly/ArkRiceOnline
For more information about the online field days and to register for the later commodity events, visit the 2020 virtual field day website: https://aaes.uark.edu/field-days. A recording of the field day will be available on demand from the website after the live broadcast on Aug. 20.