BROOKINGS, S.D. — Research plots showcasing advanced farming techniques at Dakota Lakes Research Farm southeast of Pierre, next to SD Highway 34, will be the focus of the Annual Summer Field Days on Thursday, June 29, 2017.
Tours begin at 3 p.m. and run until dark. Attendees will travel on wagons around the farm to view different aspects of the ongoing research program. Wagons will load at the farm headquarters and leave there at 45-60 minute intervals. A light lunch will be available.
Dwayne Beck, manager of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm said weather defines a lot of what people will see on the tour. Recent rains totaled 1.80 inches, and the moisture will invigorate some of the crops, according to Beck, but some areas will show the impact of early season heat and drought conditions.
Attendees can view the unique areas at Dakota Lakes showing several long-term crop rotations under irrigation and dryland management.
The research center hosts numerous projects conducted by scientists from the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Some of these projects will be featured on one tour.
Sunish Seghal, SDSU Winter Wheat Breeder, will show aspects of the SDSU winter wheat breeding program. This year there were issues with winter survival and drought stress in the plots and the researchers note the strategies used to deal with existing conditions can be viewed as learning opportunities. Discussions will take place focusing on issues such as wheat streak mosaic disease and other concerns with this year’s conditions.
SDSU graduate student Phillip Alberti will discuss the work of alternative biofuel research. His work is directed by SDSU Agronomist Thandiwe Nleya. This work involves brassica carinata (Ethiopian mustard) and camelina.
The last topic will be the pea and lentil research being conducted on the farm. Emphasis is on varieties and on the value of biological inoculants in pulse crops. Chris Graham, SDSU Extension Agronomist, is in charge of this work. Ruth Beck, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist, will share observations made from inspecting a large number of problem winter wheat and spring crop fields this year. She notes there are some common threads across a large area.
The public will also have the opportunity to meet two new scientists who now work at Dakota Lakes. Cody Zilverberg, has a Ph.D. in range science. He works with the farm through funds provided by the Howard G. Buffet Foundation in Decatur, IL. Zilverberg is taking the lead on the livestock integration work. This work involves using cover and forage crops as a source of high quality winter swath grazing to complement crop aftermath. Transitioning rangelands that have been invaded by species like smooth bromegrass, crested wheatgrass, bluegrass, and cheatgrass back to native species is a major component. This work is using grazing pressure supplied by the Dakota Lake’s brood cow herd as one of the primary tools in this process. These cows are grazing established switchgrass and big bluestem areas on the farm. Zilverberg will discuss this project at the field day.
Jose Guzman joined the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science at South Dakota State University in late May. He will be stationed at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm. Guzman is a soil scientist by training and will focus on soil health issues such as carbon and carbon sequestration and water and nutrient cycling processes. He took soil samples from several of the long-term rotations and some of the grassland areas (degraded and transitioned). Guzman will discuss these results and how this history impacts the soil’s resilience, water-holding capacity, and potential productivity. Beck manages the Dakota Lakes Research Farm for SDSU and also operates the crop production enterprise. He will discuss the crop rotations used, the forage crops produced, and work designed to better cycle nutrients and water in the system on the main farm and the nearby North Unit of the research farm.
The Dakota Lakes Research Farm has operated for 27 years with the mission to identify, research and demonstrate methods of strengthening and stabilizing the agriculture economy. DLRF is operated by the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. The not-for-profit Dakota Lakes Research Farm Corporation manages the production enterprise and owns the land, the fixed facilities, and much of the field equipment. This event is held on the last Thursday each June.
Directions: The Dakota Lakes Research Farm is located 17 miles east of Pierre on the south side of SD Hwy 34 (Junction of Highway 34 and Canning Road). The physical address is 21310 308th Ave. This event is free to the public. No registration is required. Call 605.773.8120 or 604.224.6114 for more information.
— SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences
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