April 30, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman

This year’s University of Kentucky wheat field day will include a traditional look at wheat variety trials as well as a glimpse into new technology used in wheat fertilization.

The program will be from 9 a.m. to noon CT at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton. The annual event is hosted by the UK Wheat Science Group, a multidisciplinary team of scientists.

The field day generally attracts about 100 farmers and crop advisors wanting to learn the latest information available on research efforts by the UK Wheat Science Group.

Variety research and trials are a key component of the group’s work, and field day visitors will have time to review the plots and discuss various varieties with UK wheat breeder Dave Van Sanford and Research Specialist Gerald Claywell.

This year Greg Schwab, UK Extension soils management specialist, will discuss using optical sensors to vary nitrogen fertilizer rates on wheat. This new technology, developed at Oklahoma State University, uses sensors mounted four feet in front of the spray nozzles to determine canopy greenness. A computer inside the tractor reads the sensors and determines the amount of nitrogen to be applied on a one-meter basis.

Schwab is just beginning to investigate how well this technology will work in Kentucky. The goal of the technology is to improve yields and potentially reduce nitrogen use.

“This is not something we are recommending farmers go out and purchase, but it is something that may be available five years down the road,” he said. “That’s the reason we want to talk about it.”

An update on Italian Ryegrass control by Jim Martin, UK Extension weeds scientist, will be part of the field day activities. In some areas of Kentucky ryegrass is becoming a real problem because it is a strong competitor in fields with wheat.

Other topics on tap for the field day include no-till production, how to keep bugs out of wheat, planting date effect on growth, canola production, and head scab nursery and fungicide update.

The program has been approved for three hours of Certified Crop Advisor credit, two in crop management and one in pest management. Application has also been made for pesticide applicator credits.

Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association will provide lunch following the field day program.

For more information, contact Dottie Call, Wheat Science Group coordinator, at (270) 365-7541 ext. 234 or e-mail at dcall@ca.uky.edu.