Free agriculture seminar on tap

Article submitted by Dr. Olga Walsh

Dr. Olga Walsh and the precision nutrient management group at Western Triangle Ag. Research Center, Conrad are organizing a Precision Agriculture Seminar.

There is no charge for the seminar (FREE). It will take place on Oct. 24 at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls, 1700 Fox Farm Road, Rooms ABC.

The seminar is arranged as an educational/outreach event for Montana growers and other agricultural professionals to learn about various aspects of precision agriculture.

The seminar is a part of Professional+Producer project “Reference strips and precision sensors for increased nitrogen use efficiency in wheat production” funded by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

The SARE’s focus is to advance - to the whole of American agriculture - innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education.

Precision agriculture is one of the effective and innovative ways to achieve sustainability. The two key objectives of the project are: 1) To establish on-farm studies to demonstrate that non-limiting nitrogen reference strips - in combination with precision sensing methodologies – can be effectively used to accurately determine wheat demand for nitrogen and 2) To educate and train wheat growers on how sensor-based technologies can increase the efficiency and profitability of their wheat production operations.

This is a two-year project consisting of on-farm studies and field demonstrations, hands-on workshops and training, and production of educational outreach materials such as brochures, publications and on-line publications to ensure the successful dissemination of achievements and results to growers.

Walsh has lined up a selection of excellent speakers, including the 2009 Precision Ag Farmer of the Year, Robert Blair. He is a successful Idaho producer, has a long-term experience with and a passion for precision agriculture. He has received many awards for his excellence in sustainable agriculture and has presented on his precision agriculture journey in the U.S. and abroad.

The seminar will begin with an introduction and overview of the Western Triangle Ag Research Center’s Western SARE project along with the IPNI 4Rs concept, presented by Walsh.

Dave Wichman, Agronomist and Superintendent of the Central Ag Research Center at Moccasin, will deliver a talk on the importance of precision seed placement.

He will be followed by Patrick Hensleigh, USDA-NRCS Agronomist, who will discuss nutrient management assistance programs available to producers. After a break for a free lunch, attendees will be able to take part in an interactive panel with experts including producers, researchers, industry representatives, crop consultants.

The panel discussion will be set up as an informal debate between the panel participants and the growers attending the seminar. The goal is to initiate a dialog and to identify challenges/issues that growers are facing as well as recognize the potential uses/benefits of precision agriculture technologies.

Prashant Jha, an Assistant Professor of Weed Sciences at Southern Ag. Research Center at Huntley, will present a talk on precision weed management.

The seminar is meant to encourage an interaction among the agricultural professionals and to provide an informal and two-sided educational opportunity. It is recommended for anyone who wants to share their experience with precision agriculture or for those just learning about the concept and want to know how to get into precision agriculture.

The seminar is free (including lunch) to all attendees. There will also be a drawing for prizes. The seminar will start at 8 a.m. and will adjourn at 4 p.m.

All the speakers’ presentations will be available at the Precision Nutrient Management Blog at: http://precision-ag-montana.blogspot.com/ .

For more information contact Walsh at 406-278-7707 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.