Despite the current situation that we are in, the LSU AgCenter’s approach to this year’s Wheat and Oat Field Day is one that we can all look to for a great example of adapting and overcoming. To prepare, we interviewed Dr. Trey Price, and he assures us that this Wheat and Oat Field Day will be like no other, and he is optimistic and excited for the plans that they have in store.
How will this Field Day differ from those of past years? Dr. Price discussed our current situation: “Well…the most obvious difference is there were no people present and the field day was filmed over several days and locations to comply with social distancing suggestions from our leaders. The SARS-Cov-2 crisis really gave us no choice but to get creative with the field day.” He continued saying, though, that there was a silver lining because he has always wanted to use technology for field days and this was a perfect opportunity to experiment. “I’ve been wanting to do virtual field days and utilize current technology in a number of different ways for quite some time anyway.”
Something else that would be different this year would be the presence of oats. “Another difference is this year we actually had oats in addition to wheat. Last year we couldn’t get a stand of oats due to the wet weather, which has been a major obstacle to overcome for Louisiana wheat and oat producers.”
When asked how difficult it was to make accommodations to the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Price gave a surprising response. “It was actually easier than coordinating a regular field day.” After discussing many different methods of conducting the event, the crew decided that creating a series of YouTube videos would be the best option to communicate information to viewers. “Dennis Burns, Kylie Miller, and R.L. Frasier did the heavy lifting by meeting with individual presenters, videoing the segment, then post-editing. Unlike a regular field day, if something didn’t come out right, we had a chance to go back and fix it.”
What kind of information can we expect from this series of videos? “Presentations will detail ongoing research efforts at the station in variety development, disease and insect management, and official variety trials.” He also said that an update will be given on the current wheat crop in general, and as a special treat, they were also able to schedule a corn fertilization piece from their brand new soil scientist. After talking about the content of this year’s Wheat and Oat Field Day, Dr. Price continued to express his excitement about the media use this year: “I think the convenience factor will be well-received. A stakeholder can watch the videos on their own time…even while on a tractor with auto steer in the long rows.” He also seemed optimistic about the online turnout, referencing North Carolina State’s own field day, which was well-received.
At the end of the interview, Dr. Price concluded: “I just want the stakeholders to know that we’re still working as long as farmers keep farming.”
Much appreciation, Dr. Price, for this inside look into the creation of Wheat and Oat Field Day 2020. We are very excited to see what is in store, and very proud of the work that these researchers have put in to this event.