FIELD DAYS: Integrated Weed Management (6/2) & Trickle Irrigation (6/9)

The Organic Association of Kentucky is hosting two field days about Integrated Weed Management(6/2) & Trickle Irrigation(6/9). Tuesday, June 2 – The Organic Association of Kentucky will host a field day on Integrated Weed Management at the University of Kentucky Horticulture Research Farm on Tuesday, June 2. The field day, scheduled for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EDT, will be led by Mark Williams and Tiffany Thompson of the UK Department of Horticulture. The program will provide participants with the information and techniques necessary to develop an effective weed control strategy on their farms. The majority of the workshop will be spent showing how a systems approach is utilized on the University of Kentucky’s CSA farm. Topics will include: how to optimize each step of production to create an integrated weed control system, and the development and use of a range of scale- appropriate cultivating tools, from hand tools to tractor driven cultivators. Cost is $5 for OAK members, $10 for non-members.The farm is located at 4321 Emmert Farm Lane, Lexington. For more information and to register, go to http://oak.wildapricot.org/event-1829213.

Tuesday, June 9th from 10 AM to 1 PM EST at the Berries on Bryan Station Farm, 4744 Bryan Station Rd., Lexington, KY, a great field day opportunity is available for market growers throughout our region. A new experimental machine system developed by John Wilhoit and Larry Swetnam in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Kentucky shows promise as a low-cost way of achieving the precision needed for mechanical cultivation for bare ground vegetable production using trickle irrigation. Actually, while the application is new, the machine system is based on an old concept, furrow guidance, and has as its inspiration a unique platform used as a tobacco harvesting aid more than 30 years ago. The tobacco harvesting aid, which has a three-wheeled configuration with widely spaced front-steered wheels and a single powered traction wheel in back, originally had a system of arms and a steering- system linkage that guided the machine off of tobacco plants standing in the field, freeing up the operator to deal with harvested tobacco plants. The new incarnation uses this same wide-stance, three- wheeled configuration, but now guidance is achieved by following furrows created by narrow front tires the first time the machine is driven in freshly tilled ground. Guidance arms connected to each steered wheel have small rubber-tired wheels that follow the furrows created during the initial manually steered pass in the field, steering the machine with surprising precision for all subsequent passes over the existing rows. Utilizing guidance arms in this way is possible because the steering for this machine uses a chain and sprocket rather than going through a gearbox, which would not allow the feedback from the guidance arms to steer the front wheels. Precise cultivation is not the only benefit provided by furrow guidance. Since the machine is self-steering on the row (it still has to be manually steered for turning around at the end of the row), the operator has the potential to accomplish a number of different manual operations useful for typical market vegetable production operations. The wide-stance, open platform of the three-wheeled machine enhances this potential even more, as the operator can do things from a seated position. This mechanization has been tested and will be demonstrated for several different vegetable crop operations, including laying drip tape, seeding, transplanting, thinning, and cultivating during the field day. A ‘Polyplanter’ that seeds directly into plastic-covered beds with precision accuracy will also be demonstrated. Learn more about this machine system at www.uky.edu/bae/ innovations-market-growers, or contact John Wilhoit at 859-218-4345 or john.wilhoit@uky.edu. Registration is not required to attend the field day.