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Fuel and moisture: Arkansas field day

BATESVILLE, Ark. — A field day on conservation tillage for winter annual pasture grasses is set for Sept. 27 at the Livestock and Forestry Branch Station outside Batesville, Ark. The field day will address farmers’ needs to reduce fuel costs and conserve soil moisture.

Registration will begin at noon and project leaders will give presentations from 12:45 to 4:30 p.m. Sandwiches and snack food will be served at 3:00 p.m.

Station director Don Hubbell said the field day will provide a comprehensive look at tillage systems for planting annual forage crops and the potential for wheat farmers to increase profits by grazing stocker cattle on wheat fields.

Visitors will tour University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture research plots in which conventional and minimal tillage and no-till systems are being compared for growing wheat and rye as forage crops.

Hubbell said previous research at the station found many of the farmers who annually plant about one million acres of wheat in Arkansas could profit by grazing stocker cattle during the fall and winter in wheat fields. Gains of 600 to 700 pounds per acre are attainable over five months of grazing, he said. If cattle are removed in early spring, the wheat will produce a normal grain crop.

Double cropping beef cattle and winter wheat for grain is a common practice in some regions. One reason it is not widely practiced in Arkansas is concern about soil structure in crop fields, which will be addressed at the field day, Hubbell said.

Among the field day topics and presenters: tillage practices and crop management, Don Hubbell; impact of tillage method on soil characteristics and environmental impact, Merle Anders; forage production and quality response, Stacey Gunter; livestock management and performance response, Paul Beck; and economic implications, Brad Watkins.

To reach the Station from Batesville, take Hwy. 69 North for 10 miles, then Hwy. 106 west for two miles.

For more information, contact Don Hubbell at (870) 793-7432 or

Howell Medders is with Arkansas Extension Agricultural Communication Services.

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