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August 22, 2014

Debra Davis

Farmers compared peanuts grown in single rows and twin rows during the annual crops tour Friday at the Wiregrass Research Extension Center in Headland. From left are farmers Nick Snellgrove of Ashford and Johnny Reynolds of Kinston with Dr. Charles Chen and Department Head Dr. John Beasley of Auburn University's Farm Crops, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department.

Farmers saw their checkoff dollars in action Friday while attending the annual Crops Field Day at the Wiregrass Research Extension Center in Headland. About 50 farmers toured fields of peanuts, cotton and sesame and met with scientists conducting research for those crops.

 “We hold this tour every year about this time, just before the fall harvest,” said Kris Balkcom, research associate for the Wiregrass Research Extension Center. “Farmers can see the crops as they get close to maturity and ask questions to the scientists who are actually conducting the research. It’s a great way for farmers to see what their checkoff dollars are being used for.”

Peanut and cotton farmers contribute money at harvest to checkoff funds used for research, education and promotion. The scientists at the center test new plant varieties; planting methods; harvest techniques; seeding rates and irrigation – all while recording the data with the hopes of improving production and efficiency.

Nick Snellgrove, a peanut and cotton farmer from Ashford, said he’d been to four of the annual tours, and each year he learns something different.

“I can learn more and see what’s changed,” he said. “This year I learned about sesame and about possibly rotating it as a crop with peanuts.”

A similar tour will be Aug. 28 in east Alabama. It starts at 8 a.m. at Auburn University’s Old Rotation with three additional stops along the way. Lunch will be served the E.V. Smith Conference Center. Click here for a copy of the agenda.

To see more photos of the tour, visit the Federation’s Facebook page.

Click here for a video of Balkcom explaining the peanut crop condition and harvest.

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