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Farmers' rugged independence and tendency toward experiential learning make them the ideal candidates for conducting their own on-farm research. UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors will provide the basic tenants for conducting such studies during the Alfalfa Field Day, Thursday, Sept. 8, at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
Though farmers don't have to employ the rigorous scientific processes used by UC academics conducting agricultural research, following certain techniques in planning the study, gathering and evaluating data will help ensure valid results.
"We're encouraging farmers to take a scientific approach in a realistic way," said Carol Frate, the UC Cooperative Extension field crops farm advisor for Tulare County. Frate and Shannon Mueller, the Fresno County field crops farm advisor, developed the presentation. "We'll suggest that the farmer do some replication, take notes and follow through. We'll show them how to evaluate the economics of different treatments."
Frate and Mueller's presentation will be made in the classroom following a three-stop field tour with the following presentations:
- Alfalfa variety development and selection for high yields and pest management by Dan Putnam, Extension Agronomist and Forage Specialist, UC Davis
- "Forage sorghums: Not what your parents grew!" by Jeff Dahlberg, Director, Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Parlier
- Growing Roundup Ready and conventional alfalfa side by side without contamination - is it possible? by Dan Putnam, UC Cooperative Extension agronomist and forage specialist, UC Davis
In addition to the presentation on DIY on-farm research, the following topics will be covered during the classroom session:
- An IPM approach for controlling pocket gophers and voles in alfalfa by Roger Baldwin, IPM wildlife pest management advisor, Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Parlier
- What do you want to know and how do you want to know it? by Shannon Mueller
- "Got weeds? Let's talk." (Bring your weeds and questions) by Kurt Hembree, farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County
- Sclerotinia crown and stem rot of alfalfa and date of planting – Carol Frate
- Optimizing small grain yields (herbicides, stripe rust) – Steve Wright, farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County
Registration is at 7:30 p.m. The field tour will be from 8 to 9:45 a.m. and the classroom session from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
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