Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just in from the University of Idaho

Jan. 13-14 Snake River Sugar Beet Conference to Cover Both Options Facing Growers

TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Uncertainty about the fate of herbicide-tolerant sugar beets likely will be one of the most discussed issues facing growers attending the annual University of Idaho Snake River Sugar Beet Conference Jan. 13-14.

The issue also will be one that growers have the least control over, said Don Morishita, University of Idaho Extension weed science specialist at Twin Falls. As a result, the conference will straddle both options: that conventional or Roundup Ready sugar beets will dominate the 2011 crop year, depending on an anticipated ruling in Federal court.

The conference will focus on economics, agronomy and harvest technologies that will benefit sugar beet growers whether they are cleared to plant Roundup Ready sugar beets in 2011 or not, Morishita said.

The conference on the College of Southern Idaho campus will begin Jan. 13 with registration at 1:20 p.m. followed by the general session at 2:30 p.m. The conference will continue Jan. 14. A related trade show featuring product and information booths will run both days.

The conference preregistration fee will be $25 per person until Jan. 3 and $30 afterward. Registration will take place in the Taylor Building and the general session in the Fine Arts Auditorium. Breakout sessions will be held in the Shields Building.

The opening general session will feature business consultant Mary Webb and GK Technology agronomist and harvesting technology expert Kelly Sharpe.

Webb specializes in devising and managing innovative and successful economic development projects, and has worked extensively with grower-owned cooperatives like the Snake River Sugar Co. She will talk about the dynamics of cooperatives and factors that make them successful.

Sharpe will review how growers can adjust their sugar beet harvesting equipment to reduce damages to the crop during harvest and lessen losses of undersized beets.

Morishita said breakout sessions will feature the latest strategies for disease, insect and weed control in both conventional and Roundup Ready sugar beets. Other sessions will focus on an array of agronomic topics such as soil sample interpretation and nutrition. Demonstration sessions also will focus on the calibration and maintenance of sugar beet planters.

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