The Roundup -

Drone Demonstration, Cover Crops, Farm Energy Audits Among Topics At Sidney ARS Field Day June 19


A “drone 101 workshop” with flight demonstrations; on-farm energy audits; rainfall simulations; wheat stem sawfly, Canada thistle, cover crops and more are among the featured topics at the Sidney Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) 2015 Dryland Field Day set for Friday morning, June 19. And that’s not all! The day will also include a new software demonstration that allows ranchers to tag their alfalfa bales with a unique Relative Feed Value calculated for that specific bale.

The half-day event is co-hosted by the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab and the Richland County Extension Office and begins at 9 am at the ARS research farm located about 4 miles north of Sidney on the Culbertson Highway. Take a left at County Road 129 and a second left on County Road 346 to get to the farmsite. The tour concludes at 12:30 pm, with a free lunch provided courtesy of Richland County Extension. Pesticide points are pending.

Speakers and topics for this year’s tour (in order of presentation) will include:

• Drought influences on wheat stem sawfly outbreaks and control by its natural enemies - Tatyana Rand, Research Entomologist, Sidney ARS

• Attacking wheat stem sawfly inside the stem - A new option? - Stefan Jaronski, Research Entomologist, Sidney ARS

• Biological control of Canada thistle: An update- John Gaskin, Research Botanist, Sidney ARS

• New Large Square Baling Technology: Software calculates RFV of alfalfa on the go (and tags the bale) - Bryant Henningfeld, Harvest Tec

• Greenhouse gas emissions under wheat-pea rotation with different nitrogen rates - Upendra Sainju, Research Soil Scientist, Sidney ARS

• Seeding depth and starter fertilizer for cover crop mixes (in ARS demonstration plots) - Brett Allen, Research Agronomist, Sidney ARS

• Farm Energy Audits - Tim Fine, Richland County Extension Agent

• Rainfall Simulator demonstration - Jamie Selting, Richland County District Conservationist, NRCS

• Drones 101 Workshop – Brian McGinnis, Exdivio Solutions, Inc., Sidney and Roger Meyer, Montana Land and Aerial Surveys, Lambert

The featured hour-long Drones 101 Workshop is designed to acquaint tour-goers with the basics of Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) and their potential for agricultural applications. The workshop will include flight demonstrations of both quadcopter and fixed wing models.

“There’s a lot of interest in the potential of drones in agriculture for such things as scouting for diseases and weeds in fields and counting cattle in pastures, as well as more sophisticated uses such as measuring nutrient shortages in crops,” Sidney ARS Agronomist Brett Allen noted. “We thought it would be helpful to let people know a little bit more about what’s involved in operating unmanned aerial systems, both technologically and the rules and regulations surrounding them. We really want to thank Brian and Roger for sharing their knowledge with us.”

Allen also noted that individuals unable to attend the Sidney event on June 19, can still catch the drone workshop and other speakers at the Froid Research Farm Field Day set for the following week on Thursday, June 25.

Allen then pointed to a change in this year’s event at the Sidney farmsite. In 2014, the Sidney ARS lab and Montana State University’s Eastern Agricultural Research Center (EARC) combined for a joint dryland field day, but recent EARC staff retirements and travel commitments have prevented their participation this year, he said. Plans are, however, to renew the combined event in 2016.

For more information on both the Sidney and Froid Research Farm Field Days, contact Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or [email protected]

In case of rain, speakers for this year’s Sidney Field Day on June 19 will move indoors to the Richland County Extension Office Conference Room at 1501 N. Central in Sidney.


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