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2014 Crop Management Conference adds 'big data'

The Crop Management Conference in Columbia, Mo., Dec. 17-18, starts the University of Missouri winter meetings. Farmers and their crop advisers will find 33 sessions on research and practical advice. Topics include cover crops, nutrients, pests, and soil and water. The crops include grain, oilseed and forages.

The latest Extension and research are included from the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Speakers also come from other land-grant universities.

“Big data” is the topic for keynote speaker Scott Shearer. He calls it “A Grower’s Most Elusive Farm Asset.” He’s from Ohio State University.

The conference packs in topics that will be heard later in meetings across the state. “This is the starting place,” says conference leader Kevin Bradley, MU associate professor of plant science. This year Bradley adds professional development. That includes “Social Media Mistakes You Can Avoid.”

Returnees come to hear the basics, he adds. Most popular are updates from MU Extension on new crop pests found last season. Controls are explained. Also, specialists give alerts on potential problems next year.

The Alliance for Grassland Renewal will update progress on replacing toxic fescue in pastures. They will tell of planting novel-endophyte fescue varieties.

An urgent topic will be caring for stored grains. The big crop in 2014 adds importance to this.

Other topics: nitrogen management, beneficial insects in crops and forages, when to spray fungicides for best return, biomass energy, efficient waters use, and more. Details are at

At lunch, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster tells “Impact of Government Regulations.”

Those enrolled get a bonus at no extra cost. “We have access to the MO-AG Winter Convention, also held at the Holiday Inn Executive Center at the same time. MO-AG offers a big trade show,” Bradley says.

The Crop Conference name badge gives access, Bradley says.

The conference began for certified crop advisers to earn educational credits. That continues. Now farmers find they get early looks at coming trends.

Those attending can bring laptop or tablet and download the speakers’ slides to follow as they speak.

Full conference fee is $160. One day costs $105. Advance registration by Dec. 8 is needed for meal counts. A late fee of $25 is added after then.

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