Two upcoming meetings in east Arkansas will focus on soils, fertility and nutrition. The meetings follow similar efforts in 2012, although this time around the agendas have expanded.  

“Last year’s meetings covered the basics of soil fertility and plant nutrition,” says Leo Espinoza, Extension soil scientist for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “There was very good reception to them, everyone was extremely positive.”

This year’s meetings will be held Feb. 12 at Arkansas State University’s Convocation Center in Jonesboro and on Feb. 13 at the Dumas Community Center.

“The workshop in Dumas will again be on more of the basics of soil fertility. The meeting in Jonesboro, though, will be more focused and tailored to specific issues that occur in farmers’ fields. And it’s more than just situations in Arkansas. We’d like to see farmers from other states at the meetings.

“Along with speakers from the Mid-South, we have professors coming from Kentucky and from Alabama – they’ll speak on peanut fertility and soil variability. We’ll hear about yield maps, what a farmer or consultant can learn from those maps. How can you identify problem areas easier?”

The idea for meetings in coming years is to continue to narrow topics for the meeting agendas.

“In times of high fertilizer prices, new fertilizer technologies – and you never know about potential environmental regulations – it’s important to provide solid and unbiased information about soil fertility. The more farmers understand about their soils, the better they’re positioned to make wise management decisions.”

The registration fee for the events is $50. Both meetings will begin at 9 a.m. and end mid-afternoon.

On-line registration and more information can be found here.

“It appears that the price of fertilizer has gone down just after we’ve had very good yields in 2012,” says Espinoza. “There are a lot of questions being asked about whether farmers need to increase their fertilizer applications. They’re concerned that the high yields may have removed a lot of nutrients from the soil.

“Also, farmers have been selling their crop stubble to cattlemen. That has implications for their soil and the recycling of nutrients.

“All of that will be addressed at the meetings.”

Espinoza can be reached at lespinoza@uaex.edu, or (501) 671-2168

The workshops are sponsored by the Arkansas Plant Food Association, the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and Arkansas State University.