New topics added to annual MU conference

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Two days with 36 one-hour sessions only begins to describe the University of Missouri annual Crop Management Conference, Dec. 18-19.

Under his leadership, Kevin Bradley increased the crop-production topics for farmers and certified crop advisors to select. Bradley, MU Extension weed specialist, will talk about new research on increasing problems with herbicide-resistant weeds, particularly waterhemp.

The “Weed, Insect and Disease Management Update” remains one of the most requested topics, Bradley says. He’ll be joined by Wayne Bailey, MU entomologist, and Laura Sweets, MU plant pathologist. The session will be repeated to accommodate all.

Bill Wiebold, MU Extension crop specialist, will add a new topic: “Crop Management to Increase Yield Stability.”

To bring more new topics for Missouri producers, Bradley invites specialists from land-grant universities in adjoining states.

Mark Hanna, agricultural engineer, Iowa State University, will talk on uniform application of anhydrous-ammonia fertilizer and combine settings to cut grain loss. “That equipment topic is needed because we lost a lot of lightweight corn this year,” Bradley said. Too many drought-shrunken ears were lost during harvest.

Drought impact and follow-up will be covered by several speakers, Bradley says.

Randy Miles, MU soil scientist, will give an update on soil health. Peter Scharf, MU Extension soil specialist, will talk on erosion and the value of topsoil.

From the USDA research team on campus, Newell Kitchen will discuss “Long and Short Term Benefits of Cover Crops.”

Another session with repeat offerings is “Crop Insurance” by Ray Massey, MU Extension economist.

Later he will join MU climatologist Pat Guinan to discuss “Managing Field Work Days.” They are with the MU Commercial Agriculture team.

Guinan will return in a later session to talk about drought. He’ll be joined by MU forester Michael Stambaugh, who studies drought history in the central United States. He looks for variations in tree rings for the past 1,000 years.

For forage growers, Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia, will discuss fine-tuning pasture fertilization. He will also talk about “Evaluating Novel Grazing Methods” to separate fads from systems of merit, Bradley says.

Keynote speaker, who will open the program at 8:30 a.m., Dec. 18, will be Jon Hagler, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. He will speak on “The Future of Agriculture.”

The program runs until 4 p.m., Dec. 19. The meeting is at the Holiday Inn Select, Columbia. Call 573-445-8531 for special room rates.

Registration fee of $160 for the two-day conference includes lunches, breaks and educational materials. One-day registration is $105. Late registrations after Dec. 15 increase by $25.

Participants can register at the MU Conference Office. Details at

The crop management conference started as in-service training providing continuing-education credits for crop advisers. Increasingly, Bradley sees more farmers attending.

“I’ve been assured by farmers that the information is worth the registration fee,” Bradley says.

The conference is a program of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

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