URBANA, Ill. – For sixty-odd years, the University of Illinois held a single Agronomy Day at the end of August, inviting farmers and ag industry stakeholders to learn the latest advancements directly from researchers. The pandemic and other forces inspired a change this year, and today Agronomy Days events stretch across the entire season. In August, three events stand out.
For the first time, the Agronomy Days calendar includes events hosted by College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences partners. The IDEA Farm Network, a farmer collective working to catalyze ideas and approaches balancing farm productivity, profitability, and environmental health, will host one such event Aug. 2 at the Salt Fork Center at Homer Lake Forest Preserve. The event, “Regenerating Your Land with Your Farmer,” features land stewardship lessons from four women landowners and farm managers.
“I recommend this event for non-operating landowners wanting to consider new approaches to managing their land,” says Adam Davis, head of the Department of Crop Sciences at Illinois, co-founder of and advisor to the IDEA Farm Network, and a facilitator at the Aug. 2 event.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and costs $15, including lunch. Registration is required and can be completed online at go.illinois.edu/IDEAagday.
Next up is a Crop Physiology Field Day featuring yield-boosting advice from crop sciences professor Fred Below’s research group. Citing global benefits such as greater food security and maximizing land use, speakers will focus on ways to help farmers economically and sustainably increase corn and soybean yields.
“With our theme of ‘More Yield? Yes Please,’ you’ll learn ways you can get a bigger serving of yield on your farm,” say event organizers Below and postdoctoral researcher Connor Sible.
The Aug. 4 event runs from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will be held at the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center at 4202 South First St., Champaign. Attendees should register for the free event [go.illinois.edu/AugAgDaysRegistration] by July 26 to guarantee a spot and a lunch. Certified Crop Advisors will earn 4.5 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) for attending.
Vegetable, fruit, and organic grain growers won’t want to miss the Specialty Crop Field Day on Aug. 18 at the Sustainable Student Farm. Led by Crop Sciences assistant professor and Illinois Extension specialist Kacie Athey, the field day will feature practical research-based guidance on a variety of topics.
“We’ll cover biological control in high tunnel production, regenerative agriculture practices, information on organic grain production, and pollinators in apples,” Athey says. “Join us and learn more about specialty crop production and our programs at the UIUC Sustainable Student Farm!”
The free event runs 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants should register in advance at go.illinois.edu/AugAgDaysRegistration.
These aren’t the only Agronomy Days events in August. Interested farmers should visit the calendar page for information on a corn rootworm event Aug. 11 and an Energy Farm tour Aug. 31. September events are also in the works, including a carbon quantification day as well as Miscanthus breeding and harvest days.
— University of Illinois ACES