Arkansas farmers harvested 305,000 acres of cotton in 2013, much of it in northeastern Arkansas.

A Sept. 9 Cotton Field Day will feature new research that could alter the way farmers in northeast Arkansas irrigate their cotton and other crops.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cotton Field Day at Manila, Ark., begins at 8 a.m. with registration and runs through lunch, which starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Manila Airport, farmed by Costner & Sons Farm as cooperator.

“The uniqueness of this property is that we don’t have this soil type on any of our experiment stations,” said Fred Bourland, director of the Northeast Research and Extension Center in Kieser, Ark. This is important since “it is a major soil type used for cotton in northeast Arkansas.

The spur for the field day was a study initiated by Ray Benson, Mississippi County extension staff chair, who looked at irrigation timing on the soil type in question.

“He quickly determined that our current irrigation practices are not effectively watering the soil profile - thus optimum timing and termination cannot be accurately evaluated,” Bourland said. “Such research could directly affect how crops are irrigated in this area and indirectly affect all aspects of crop management on these fields.”

Ray Benson, Mississippi County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the new location for a demonstration plot has “the potential to have some very meaningful work.

“Its proximity to a large percentage of our county’s and state’s cotton acreage, as well as the willingness of the local farmers, city government and airport officials to work with division to support research can make this site an important part of the experiment station’s efforts to improve cotton production in our state,” he said.