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Davis-Purdue Ag Center celebrates 100th anniversary

A field day on Aug. 31 will be all about the past, present and future of the farm.

History will come alive on Aug. 31 at the Davis-Purdue Agricultural Center near Farmland. The center is about 4 miles north of Farmland on Indiana State Highway 1. Circle the date on the calendar and plan to attend the 100th anniversary celebration of DPAC.

Before you leave, you will also step into the future. Superintendent Jeff Boyer and his crew focus on trying out various new precision technologies, and seeing which fit best in their system. Boyer will discuss these technologies as well as older technologies that are part of the farm’s history.

Larry Temple, Extension ag educator in Jay County and chairman of the Purdue University Extension Area 7 educators, is assisting in organizing the field day.

Field day highlights
Here are seven things you can expect to learn about at the field day. Many other topics will be covered, as well. Boyer and Temple provided this information, and Boyer also provided the historic photos in the accompanying slideshow.

1. Technology through time. Boyer says even in the days of horses, there was technology. The Davis-Purdue Ag Center was noted for developing high-quality draft horses, especially stallions. “It was the technology of the day,” Boyer says.

He will span 100 years in his discussion, including giving visitors a peek into his “museum” of precision ag technology. He has a collection of various systems used over the past 25 years. Boyer can also discuss the NextTurn technology he used to plant corn this year. With the push of a button, the tractor actually makes the turn on end rows by itself.

2. Virgin timber stand. A lot of history is wrapped up in DPAC’s 100 acres of virgin timber, which was one of the reasons the farm was donated to Purdue in the first place. Hear about and see century-old trees in one of the few virgin stands of timber remaining in Indiana.

3. Soybean studies. Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel will discuss his date of planting and soybean population studies, with an eye to how soybean technology has evolved over time.

4. Nitrogen rate trials. Extension agronomists Bob Nielsen and Jim Camberato have spent years studying nitrogen rates and methods of application around the state and on this farm. It turns out some of the highest N rate requirements in the state are in east-central Indiana, largely due to soil types. They will discuss nitrogen programs for corn and population studies, and will touch on the increasing need for sulfur for corn.

5. Cover crop work. Shalamar Armstrong of the Purdue Agronomy Department does cover crop trials around the state. Find out what he has learned so far, and learn about various seeding options, including aerial seeding and seeding with high-clearance applicators. The field day occurs during the prime time for seeding cover crops before harvest.

6. Livestock at DPAC. Horses and dairy cows were important in the early years, Boyer says. Hogs and hog research was important in the latter part of the 20th century. Terry Stewart from Purdue Animal Sciences will review some of the important work in animal sciences conducted over the years at the farm. Once the decision was made for pigs to leave the farm, they began focusing on precision agriculture, Boyer says.

7. Free book! Some 300 visitors will receive a free hard-bound copy of Fred Whitford’s coffee-table size book about the history of the early days of Extension. Published last year, the book contains over 400 photos that document history in action.

To learn more about the field day, call Temple at 260-726-4707. Or you can register through the Randolph County Extension office. Call 765-584-2271 or email Julie Elsbury, Extension ag educator, at [email protected].

Check out the slideshow below for a look at DPAC through the years.

TAGS: Extension
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