Southwest Research Center hosting Field Day

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Horticulture, beef, forages and general agricultural topics will all be featured during the annual Southwest Research Center Field Day event, set for Saturday, Sept. 9.

The day will also feature several activities for children, such as a grass maze, pumpkin patch and face painting. The event will begin at 9 a.m., and is free and open to the public.

“We’ve included a children’s acre to help educate our young people about agriculture,” said Superintendent David Cope.

There will be a free lunch for the first 350 visitors, which will be catered by the Mt. Vernon FFA. Meal tickets will be available at the information booth. Airplane rides also return this year. Rides are $25 for those 16 years and over, and $15 for anyone 15 years old and younger.

This is the second year of the center’s weekend format, which was changed to accommodate not only producers, but the local community as well. Tours will be spread throughout the Southwest Research Center, with activities for children north of the center’s office building, close to the vineyard. Missouri Farmers Care will have an activity table as well.

“Moving Field Day to Saturday has allowed many people to attend who haven’t been able to previously,” Cope said. “We see more families and young children attend also, which has been encouraging.”

Producers can choose from a variety of tours during the morning. The horticulture tour will feature numerous topics, from blackberries and elderflowers to high tunnels and mushroom cultivation. There will also be a van tour of the Southwest Research Center, as well as a walking tour of the horticulture research at the Center.

The beef tour will focus on selecting the right livestock for profit, mineral supplementation and will feature a cattle dog demonstration by Danny Shilling.

“Livestock, and the beef industry in particular, is a huge driver of southwest Missouri agriculture,” Cope said. “There will be excellent information available for producers of all experience levels.”

The day will also include a forage tour and general agriculture tour. Novel endophyte fescue, Bermuda grass and baleage supplementation will be topics of discussion on during the forage tour. Sustainable seafood production, nutrition and a cannulated cow are part of the general agriculture tour.

“We are blessed at the Southwest Research Center to have very diverse aspects of agriculture represented in one place,” Cope said. “We have research on dairy heifers, beef cattle, forages, many horticulture species, black walnuts, pecans, pawpaws and a vineyard, among other things.”

A complete list of speakers, topics and times can be found by visiting:

The Southwest Research Center is located at 14548 Highway H in Mt. Vernon, and is one of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Agricultural Research Centers. For more information about the day, call 417-466-2148, or email Cope at For more information about the Southwest Research Center, visit