Cover the wide-open spaces of Ag Progress Days with research tours

July 29, 2011

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State's 2011 Ag Progress Days, set for Aug. 16-18, assembles a wealth of cutting-edge information on everything from water management and crop production to honey bee health and healthy eating habits. But that wealth is spread over the 1,500 acres of the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs. So, wear your walking shoes.

Or, you can be transported to a wide variety of research plots and demonstrations on free research bus tours leaving at regular intervals from the corn crib on Main Street at the Ag Progress Days site. Following are tour descriptions:

--The 40-minute General Research Tour provides an overview of research conducted by Penn State's departments of Crop and Soil Sciences, Entomology, Horticulture and Plant Pathology, as well as the USDA Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Lab. The tour is run daily at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., with an additional tour at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

--The 75-minute Apiary Tour provides an up-close look into the mysteries of a honeybee colony. Penn State faculty, staff and students will present research that's addressing the ongoing crisis facing honeybees. Buses leave daily at 11:30 a.m., with an additional tour at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

--The Old Time Charcoal Burn Tour recalls the colonial era when hardwood lump charcoal fueled iron furnaces throughout the eastern United States and the collier or charcoal maker was critical to making charcoal. Historical re-enactors will make charcoal on a forest hearth during the one-hour tour. Buses leave daily at 9 a.m. and noon and Wednesday at 3 p.m.

--On the two-hour Deer Research Center Tour, which focuses on deer biology and current research, visitors can view live deer and various antler displays. Members of the Quality Deer Management Association will provide information on deer management and QDMA. Buses leave daily at 9:30 a.m. and Wednesday at 5 p.m.

--A related Habitat Management for Deer and Other Wildlife Tour will feature demonstration food plots and natural habitat management practices used on public or private property as part of a Quality Deer Management System to improve habitat for many wildlife species while producing healthier and larger deer. The one-hour tour will cover how to integrate habitat improvements to meet specific objectives. Buses leave daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Wednesday at 4 p.m.

--A trip to the High Tunnel Research and Education Facility will reveal current production systems and horticultural crops that can be produced in the greenhouse-like structures. The 75-minute tour will feature a movable high tunnel that gives growers more flexibility in producing both annual and perennial horticultural crops. Buses leave daily at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

--The Stream (Riparian) Buffers and Native Prairie Grasses Tour will explain how to install and maintain forested and grassed stream buffers and how buffers can enhance property value while improving a community's water quality. The one-hour tour also features a prairie grass demonstration and instruction on using native grasses with wildflowers for wildlife habitat, biofuels and more. Buses leave daily at 11:30 a.m.

--The Sustainable Cropping Systems Tour will enable visitors to see innovative conservation cropping systems designed to produce all of the feed, forage and fuel for a dairy farm. This one-hour tour includes diverse no-till crop rotations; cover crops and green manures; a cover-crop roller-crimper; manure injection to conserve nutrients and reduce odor; multiple weed-control strategies, including cultivation; a canola-oil-powered tractor and livestock feed facility; and integrated slug and insect management. Buses leave daily at 1 p.m.

--The One-Acre Woods Forest Management Tour examines the species composition, tree size, quality, value and wildlife attributes of an acre of mature forest woodlot to show how this information can guide timber and wildlife opportunities. The one-hour tour features a review of harvesting options for achieving maximum forest conditions, long-term economic return and improved wildlife habitat. Buses run daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Wednesday at 5 p.m.

--The Animal Composting Tour, sponsored by the state's Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, includes a 30-minute seminar with instruction on the technical aspects and regulatory considerations of on-farm carcass composting. The seminar will be followed immediately by a bus tour to a working carcass compost pile on site. The seminar will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the upper level of the red barn across from the corn crib.

--The American Chestnut Foundation Plantings Tour provides a 75-minute review of the history and demise of the American chestnut tree and the foundation's restoration program. Buses to the state's largest chestnut orchard leave daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., and Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 16; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 17; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 18. Admission and parking are free. Free shuttle bus service between the Ag Progress Days site and downtown State College will be available.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website at Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress.

  • Penn State's 2011 Ag Progress Days is spread over the 1,500 acres of the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated August 01, 2011