East Arkansas will play host to two fertility workshops in February.

“Fertilizer represents one of the highest input costs for producers,” says Leo Espinoza, University of Arkansas soil specialist. “It’s important that they understand that side of their businesses.”

Sponsored by the university and the Arkansas Plant Food Association, the workshops began in 2012.

“The first year, we thought it was appropriate to do a review of the basic principles of soil fertility,” says Espinoza. “The plan is to build upon the topics of the past workshops. That approach has been well-received and makes us believe these workshops were overdue.”

Espinoza and colleagues hold two workshops annually. In 2014, the first workshop will be held February 10 at the Arkansas State University Cooper Alumni Center in Jonesboro. The second will be held February 11 at the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart. Both will begin at 9 a.m. and end by 2 p.m.

“I have been surprised at the distance that some attendees travel. We have people from Missouri, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The feedback has always been very positive from all sectors of agriculture – farmers, industry, crop consultants, researchers and others. It might be worth considering doing this on a regional basis.”

Among other topics, this year’s agenda will include:

• How to build and maintain soil test levels.

“This will cover approaches, philosophies, how to use tissue analysis to ensure efficiency of fertilizer use.

• Micronutrients.

“Micronutrients are a real concern for us. How can producers best deal with them? Zinc is particularly important -- and we have zinc deficiency concerns around the Mid-South.”

• Updated fertilizer recommendations.

“We recently updated recommendations for corn and wheat. That will be covered in detail.”

• Water quality.

“Water quality is also a major concern. The issues around that will be discussed.”

There is a $50 registration fee that includes lunch. CEU’s will be offered.

A Link to register on-line.

For more information, contact Espinoza at (501) 837-8693 or e-mail lespinoza@uaex.edu.