Rock Port, Mo. – As its field day approaches, researchers and specialists at the Graves-Chapple Farm are excited to address some of the most pressing ag issues that farmers in the area face.

The August 24 event will cover topics from planting to yield and everything in between.

“These topics are based on things we know that producers are asking our specialists when they come into the Extension offices and address concerns farmers have faced recently,” said Jim Crawford, the superintendent for the University of Missouri research farm located in the northwest corner of the state.

Efficiency of resources will be a major point of emphasis during the day.

“We really need to focus on our inputs to keep costs down as input prices keep rising and yet still maintain yields,” Crawford said.

One way of doing that is using a soil electro conductivity sensor.

“Instead of guessing what’s in the soil, the sensor tests the conductivity, which looks at the water holding capability, as well as the organic matter and the cation exchange capability, and that is used to adjust the planter automatically based on fertility.”  

These precision agriculture measures could potentially save farmers money.   Mo Valley Ag is currently using this technology and will give a presentation on its benefits.

Supplemental nitrogen can be applied to corn in much the same way, looking at the crop on an as needed basis.  Larry Mueller, an MU plant science research specialist, will explain how real-time sensors can show a farmer what areas of each field need more or less nitrogen to optimize yield and reduce cost.  

“There are some areas of any given field that only need 20 pounds of nitrogen and other areas that require 150 pounds, so using these sensors you minimize cost and put the nitrogen where it’s needed to maximize yield,” Crawford said.

Other presentations will look at methods to refine planting. MU Extension agronomist Bill Wiebold will talk about optimum corn and soybean planting populations and row width, and an update on new MU soybean varieties by research assistant Cary Clark will follow that presentation.


Pest management will also be a topic of discussion with an insect update from MU Extension Entomologist Wayne Bailey and a crop disease talk by MU Extension Plant Scientist Laura Sweets.


As some sightings of resistant giant ragweed have showed up in the region, weeds are also on farmers minds. In that light, the ever-expanding subject of glyphosate and other weed resistance will be among the subjects that MU Extension Weed Specialist Kevin Bradley will address.


Moving away from crops, MU Extension State Forestry Specialist Hank Stelzer will talk about his research on production of woody biomass crops.


The first of three field day tours will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the last leaving the building at 11:30 a.m. Those who attend are welcome to stay for a free lunch.

More information on the Graves-Chapple Research Farm and the field day can be found at and at

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