The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 1, 2014

Drones to be among topics at soils, crops conference

MOUNT VERNON, Mo. — The 90th annual Lawrence County Soils and Crops Conference will feature an unmanned drone and ways the vehicles might benefit agriculture.

The conference will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, at the Southwest Research Center, 14548 Route H, southwest of Mount Vernon.

The conference will look at the latest technologies as well as management tools for local farmers, according to Tim Schnakenberg, an agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Galena, Mo.

Topics for the session include:

• A discussion on unmanned aerial systems, or drones, for agriculture, by Bill Wiebold, state soybean specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“He is actually going to have a drone with him,” said Eldon Cole, extension livestock specialist in Mount Vernon. Farmers may be able to use drones to check on fields and crop conditions; to detect pest damage, such as that caused by army worms; and even to keep an eye on cattle herds. Other issues raised by the potential use of drones include privacy, costs and federal aviation regulations.

• Using cover crops as a soil management tool, by Tim Reinbott, superintendent of the University of Missouri Bradford research farm in Columbia.

• Efficiently feeding hay bales, by Bob Schultheis, regional natural resources engineering specialist.

“That is something they ought to be able to take out and use the next day,” said Cole.

A meal will be provided courtesy of Mid-Missouri Bank of Mount Vernon, Ozark Electric Cooperative, the Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce.

The event is free. Those who plan to attend must call the Lawrence County Extension Center at 417-466-3102 before Monday to reserve a meal.

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