Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, firstname.lastname@example.org
THRALL – Farmers throughout Central Texas and the Blacklands region heard the latest tips on weed control, new cotton technology and forage management at the 51st Stiles Farm Field Day held recently at the Stiles Farm Foundation.
Dr. Larry Redmon, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service forage specialist, College Station, advised attendees to get a soil test before applying fertilizer on hay meadows.
“If you are cutting hay, apply the soil test recommendations,” he said. “A dipstick tells me do I have enough oil in my car, and if I do not have enough, I need to add some. A soil test is the same simple concept and tells me if I don’t have enough certain nutrients, then I need to add some. Fertilizer is so expensive and we want to make sure we apply the correct amounts.”
Dr. Paul Baumann, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service state weed specialist, College Station, discussed herbicide options, both pre-emergent and post-treatment when dealing with waterhemp, including Treflan. Overall, Baumann said it’s important farmers tackle weeds early and not ignore them. Though it will require spending extra money, Baumann said it will pay for itself in the long run.
At the cotton tour stop, Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension state cotton specialist, College Station, discussed new weed management in cotton technologies, their opportunities and challenges. Minimizing herbicide drift will be critically important to producers as the XtendFlex (Dicamba tolerant) cotton will likely become available in 2015. As the XtendFlex cotton becomes available, there will be spray application requirements to minimize the drift potential to susceptible crops, including non XtendFlex cotton and soybeans.
“Nozzle selection is one of the best ways to reduce drift,” Morgan said.
Other application requirements Morgan told the group include a boom height of 20 to 24 inches, wind speeds of 3 to 10 mph, and downwind distance to susceptible crops are still being finalized, but these requirements will be clearly stated on the herbicide labels, Morgan said.
Meanwhile, during the noon program, Dr. Doug Steele, AgriLife Extension director, College Station, reminded attendees that AgriLife Extension and Extension across the country is celebrating its centennial and that agency personnel look forward to serving another 100 years.
“It’s important we have field days like this to let you come out and see what is going on to make better decisions for your operation,” Steele said. “People think we have everything solved in research. The last time I looked we are doing with less land and resources as our population continues to expand at an incredible pace. I believe we are overlooked and taken for granted. I’m excited for what the next 50 years will bring for the Stiles Farm and the next 100 years for AgriLife Extension. The best is yet to come.”
Archie Abrameit, AgriLife Extension specialist and Stiles Farm, presented a plaque to the Greater Taylor Chamber of Commerce for its continued support of the field day and barbecue luncheon.
Youth scholarships were also presented. Karl Woelfel received a $4,500 scholarship and plans to attend Texas A&M. Mandi Berger also received a $4,500 scholarship to assist with college education needs.
The Stiles Farm Foundation was established by the Stiles family at Thrall in Williamson County. A visionary family, J.V. and H.A. Stiles wanted to commemorate their father, James E. Stiles, and the land he worked. They also wanted to help neighboring farmers and others throughout the Central Texas Blacklands region learn new farming practices. In 1961, the Stiles Farm Foundation was established and became part of the Texas A&M University System.
The farm is used by AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M AgriLIfe Research, who conduct field experiments and use the facility as a teaching platform.