Field Day June 1, 2017
The goal of the event was to connect the stakeholders to our research here at Grassland Soil & Water Research Lab and Texas A&M AgriLife Blackland Research.
There were 12 stops in four hours in the fields. Field days used to be held regularly at the Temple research center, but not recently. Dr. Hal Collins, who came to Central Texas about two years ago from Washington State, said he’d like to have field days scheduled every two years, so there’s new information to share.
The grassland research on the Field Day program included: bioenergy crops, diversity and competitions in grasslands, grassland restoration, fertilizing native prairies. Cropping systems research involved cropping systems modeling, safflower production trials, Sunn Hemp/cowpea cover trials, cotton row spacing and switchgrass response to changing precipitation.
One direction plant research is going is the use of drones to measure plant activities in fields, such as transpiration, the process in which moisture moves through the plant. Sensors are being developed to collect the information.
With 90 percent of the grassland prairies converted to agricultural use, functions of the prairies have been lost, including the ability to rebuild soil and maintaining water quality.
The USDA Agricultural Research Service has 10 acres of remnant prairie, land that hasn’t been plowed, and it’s used to study how the ecosystems function.
One study involves 80 sites around the world, including Temple, and is looking at what happens to grasslands when fertilized. Each site is using the same fertilizers in the same amount.
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