Monday, August 9, 2010

Circles for Rice Field Days | August 3-5, 2010

Disclaimer: I apologize ahead of time. This post is super long, but I wanted to make sure to squeeze everything in about our Field Days from last week!

August 3-5, 2010, Valmont Irrigation hosted three Field Days dedicated to the Circles for Rice project. Each Field Day was a success, and we could not have pulled them off without our cooperating rice growers, partners, and staff.  Each Field Day had a similar agenda, which included presentations on:
  • Weed control
  • Irrigation equipment and controls
  • Application of water and fertilizer
  • Yield potential under center pivots
  • Field and crop information
  • Irrigation management

Tuesday | August 3, 2010 | Sikeston

Donny Deline's rice field | Sikeston, MO
We started the day by participating in a rice under center pivot Field Day hosted by the University of Missouri Delta Research Center.  Though the weather was hot (even at 8:30 in the morning!), the Field Day presenters persevered and delivered great information, including some newer research on rice breeding.  Presenters included Dr. Gene Stevens (UM Delta Center), Dr. Earl Vories (USDA-ARS), Dr. Anna McClung (USDA-ARS), Dr. Don Beighley (SE Missouri State U), Dr. Joe Henggeler (UM Delta Center), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), and Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation).

Later that afternoon, we gathered at the Clinton Building in Sikeston, MO, for our first Field Day.  Following registration and a short meet-and-greet, we piled into a well-chilled bus and headed to Donny Deline's rice field.  Presenters included Donny Deline (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), Fred Ferrell (Mid-Valley Irrigation, Valley dealership), Jerry Gerdes (Valmont Irrigation), and Dr. Gene Stevens (UM Delta Center).

Patrick Hulshof's rice field | Sikeston, MO
After the presentations, we boarded the bus and headed for Patrick Hulshof's rice field, also in Sikeston.  Presenters included Patrick Hulshof (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), Dr. Earl Vories (UM Delta Center), and Barry Barnett (RiceTec).

Both Donny Deline and Patrick Hulshof participated in the 2010 Circles for Rice project in hopes of finding an alternative crop.

We concluded the Field Day with a WONDERFUL supper, catered by Tasteful Creations.  Rice was not a main dish, but the Butterfinger cake was to die for!

Wednesday | August 4, 2010 | Neelyville

Dennis Robison's rice field | Neelyville, MO
The Valmont crew regrouped Wednesday morning in Neelyville, MO,  for the second of three Field Days at Dennis Robison's rice field. We brought with us plenty of cold water and pastries from Rowland Stollen Bakery and Deli.

Unlike traditional rice fields (which are flat), Dennis's field is rolling.  Because it is a nontraditional rice field, Dennis's participation is one that helps illustrate the ability to produce a good rice crop in new areas of the world.

The Circles for Rice Team collectively felt this Field Day was the most successful of the three.  Despite the terrible heat, the attendees were quite interested in our project and asked a lot of good questions!  Presenters included Dennis Robison (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Dr. Earl Vories (USDA-ARS), Jim Heiser (UM Delta Center), Fred Ferrell (Mid-Valley Irrigation, Valley dealership), Jerry Gerdes (Valmont Irrigation), and Dr. Gene Stevens (UM Delta Center).

Thursday | August 5, 2010 | Scott

David Feilke's rice field | Scott, AR
After a trip down to Little Rock, AR, we held a Field Day at David Feilke's rice field in Scott, AR.  We provided bagels, muffins, cookies, and coffee from the San Francisco Bread Co. (the BEST cookies ever, I give my recommendation) at the field.  Presenters included David Feilke (rice grower), Jake LaRue (Valmont Irrigation), Dr. Paul Counce (University of Arkansas), Mark Maier (crop consultant), Randy Powell (Ag H2O, Valley dealership), Jerry Gerdes (Valmont Irrigation), and Whitney Jones (RiceTec).

A long-time rice grower, David decided to participate in the 2010 Circles for Rice project in order to grow rice on a budget.

We would like to thank Sid Cameron, our Mid-South Valmont Territory Manager, for his unwavering support of this project and participation in our Field Days.

We had some last-minute visitors tag along for most of the trip - a T.V. crew from Brazil!  We'd like to thank Marcelo, Danilo, and Jose for putting up with the heat and our crazy schedule. 

Now that we're back in the office, expect to see more frequent updates on the Circles for Rice blog!  I will be updating the rest of the Circles for Rice website ( throughout the next several weeks, please visit us for detailed field information.