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Stiles Farm Field Day June 21 to feature drone technology, sugarcane aphid update

The 53rd annual Stiles Farm Field Day features drone technology demonstrations as well as updates on crop and livestock managementand an aquatic weed management program
<p>The 53rd annual Stiles Farm Field Day features drone technology demonstrations as well as updates on crop and livestock managementand an aquatic weed management program</p>
Drone technology featured at Stiles Farm Field Day Sugarcane aphid update Crop management tips

The future of drone technology in Texas Blacklands agriculture will be one of the featured programs at the June 21 Stiles Farm Field Day.

The 53rd annual field day will also feature an update on the sugarcane aphid, plus programs on nitrogen application and soil compaction, horn fly control on livestock, pesticide laws and regulation update, and an aquatic weed management program.

The Stiles Farm is located at 5700 Farm-to-Market Road 1063, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 79, 1 mile east of Thrall.

“This year’s field day will feature a demonstration on drone technology and its potential future in Blackland production agriculture,” said Ryan Collett, Stiles Farm manager and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist.

“With wet conditions delaying side-dress applications across the region, we will also have a presentation on utilizing ‘rescue nitrogen,’ as well as a discussion of the impact of soil compaction. Overall, we have topics of interest for everyone.

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“We think attendees will go home with new ideas and strategies they can incorporate into their own operations. I do want to thank our area agribusiness for sponsoring the meal and in particular the Williamson County Farm Bureau for paying the registration fee for producers wanting to obtain CEU credits.”


The field day is hosted by AgriLife Extension in coordination with the Stiles Farm Foundation. Registration is free and begins at 7:30 a.m. The program begins at 8:25 a.m. and will feature the following sessions:

- Future of Drones in the Texas Blacklands, Dr. Dale Cope, associate professor of engineering, Texas A&M; Bob Avant, program director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research corporate relations; Dr. Alex Thomasson, AgriLife Research agricultural engineer, all of College Station.

- Rescue Nitrogen: Is It Too Little Too Late? and Sugarcane Aphid Update, Dr. Ronnie Schnell, AgriLife Extension agronomist.

- Soil Compaction, What We Can’t See Can Cost Us, Dr. Jake Mowrer, AgriLife Extension soil fertility specialist, College Station.

- Horn Fly Control/Vet Gun Demonstration, Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Stephenville.

- Pesticide Record Keeping and Disposal, Worker Protection Standards Update, Dr. Mark Matocha, AgriLife Extension agricultural and environmental safety specialist, College Station.

The noon lunch program will be at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Taylor and will feature the presentation of the 2016 Agriculturalist of the Year and Agribusiness Person of the Year awards sponsored by the Williamson County Farm Bureau. Stiles Farm Foundation scholarships will also be presented.

A keynote address titled “Managing Challenges, Creating Opportunities” will be given by Dr. Doug Steele, AgriLife Extension director, College Station.

The afternoon program will begin at 1:30 p.m. Aquatic Weed Management will be presented by Dr. Michael Masser, department head for wildlife and fisheries sciences at Texas A&M, College Station.

The morning session will award one continuing education unit in integrated pest management and one in laws and regulations for Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator license holders. The afternoon session will award one general continuing education credit.

The Stiles Farm Foundation was established by the Stiles family at Thrall in Williamson County. According to the foundation, J.V. and H.A. Stiles wanted to commemorate their father, James E. Stiles, and the land he worked. They also wanted to help neighboring farmers and others throughout the Central Texas Blacklands region learn new farming practices. In 1961, the Stiles Farm Foundation was established and became part of the Texas A&M University System. The farm is used by AgriLife Extension and AgriLife Research, which conduct field experiments and use the facility as a teaching platform.

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