For the first time, Clemson University Research and Education Centers will hold virtual fall field days this year to inform the public of important research while protecting people from COVID-19.
In-person field days are held annually at each of the University’s RECs. This year, the threat of COVID-19 has forced REC directors to get creative in fulfilling their mission to provide South Carolina farmers with research information that can help them manage their farming operations more efficiently.
“Field days are important for helping get information from our researchers to the public,” said Matt Smith, resident director of the Pee Dee REC. “People who view the videos will get the same, if not more, information as they would by attending an in-person field day.”
In addition, these videos also are a great opportunity to include research from facilities such as greenhouses and laboratories that often are not included in regular field days, Smith said.
Research videos will be posted at www.clemson.edu/fieldday on the dates for each field day. This information is geared toward growers, producers, agricultural researchers and the general public. The field days are free, online and pre-registration is not requested.
Field day videos will be released on the following dates:
- Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science – Aug. 27
- Pee Dee REC – Sept.3
- Edisto REC – Sept. 10
- Piedmont REC – Sept. 17
- Sandhill REC – Oct. 1
Private applicator pesticide re-certification credits will be offered for participants who view the Edisto, Pee Dee or Sandhill REC videos.
Baruch Institute videos focus primarily on graduate student research on watershed management planning, bacteria impairments, innovative coastal watershed and water quality management, and evaluating microplastics levels in coastal wildlife.
Crop diseases, nematodes, pollinators and genetic diversity are among topics discussed in the Pee Dee REC videos, including a discussion about research being conducted to improve insecticide-resistant management plans in relation to corn earworm on Bt corn, and winter oil seed, canola and rapeseed production in South Carolina. Another presentation addresses sustainably producing more nutritionally-dense food with fewer resources to feed the growing world population.
Research involving corn, cotton, peanuts and soybeans are featured in the Edisto REC videos. Researchers address herbicide options, nitrogen management, insect control and irrigation practices, as well as information for managing palmer amaranth and variety tests for corn, grain sorghum and soybeans.
Topics from livestock production to precision irrigation to organic crop production and more are featured in the videos for the Piedmont REC. Researchers address peach production challenges when growing peaches in warm, humid climates; peach virology, nutrition and genetics. Other topics covered include: poultry production, ruminant muscle development, new technology used for the Clemson Bull Test and forage quality for dairy cows, and soil and crop fertility.
Members of the Clemson Extension agribusiness team present a big picture of the ag economy, as well as report on the situations and outlooks for South Carolina corn, cotton, peanut and soybean crops, as well as beef cattle in the Sandhill REC videos. Other topics presented include: lateral spacing and drip tape depth in irrigated soybeans, Callery pear research, headwater stream diversity, suppressing deer feeding injury to soybeans, and establishment and maintenance of pollinator plantings. Additional presentations include using prescribed fire in forested landscapes and the response of Ips beetles to prescribed fire, as well as a longleaf pine spacing demonstration and a report on peach breeding.
Future field days
Although this is the first year the field days will be offered via video format, Smith said it may pave the way for future field days.
“If this is successful, we may continue to use video supplements to strengthen our research outreach both at future field days and in other programming,” Smith said. “We may consider creating videos and posting them, in addition to field tours, so that visitors can get more details.”
Matt Hersom, Piedmont REC director, agreed and said this year’s online format may provide a template to highlight research activities not easily accessed during traditional field days.
“The virtual aspects of the video format allow the RECs to feature other researcher activities that had not been featured in the past because of seasonal timing, biosecurity, or distance issues,” Hersom said.