Farmers will be free to stop at a visible, convenient, 40-acre field to see crop variety plots with herbicide use.
The field, leased by CG&S from the city of Hillsboro last fall, is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 56 and Kanza, north of the city’s new wastewater lagoons.
Kevin Suderman, CG&S agronomist, calls it a literal “showcase” of the latest in crops and herbicides.
Suderman said that besides the things CG&S wants to display for the public, the plot gave the company a unique opportunity to cooperate with Kansas State University Extension Service in wheat trials.
He expects to have a wheat tour in May or early June and a spring-crop tour later in the summer.
Marion County Agricultural Extension Agent Rickey Roberts said he is “just grateful to the co-op to have a place to do some demonstration work. I look forward to cooperating with them in doing things there.
“CG&S people have always been great supporters of extension and research ever since I have been here. This is their thing, but I look forward to working with them.”
Suderman said other extension personnel from around the region have shown interest in the plot, and he expects them to offer input.
The 40 acres is divided into four quadrants, one each for wheat, corn, soybeans and milo, Suderman said.
While Roberts exhibits wheat varieties in the wheat quadrant, Suderman said the co-op will use the other plots to showcase the hybrid seed varieties and chemicals it sells in trials.
Suderman said the plot also will evolve with the times.
“We are in a new era of many extra things to consider with crops,” he said. “For instance, we will be dealing with weed resistance to herbicides and the management issues to go with that.”
For example, Suderman said a plot may deal with a plant such as marestail, also known as horseweed, which has shown increasing resistance to herbicides like glyphosate.
According to researchers, marestail is a weed aided in resistance by traits such as being able to produce up to 200,000 seeds per plant that travel long distances in the wind.
They say up to 86 percent of the seeds produced can germinate right off the plant with up to 91 percent surviving the winter.
It is a worldwide plant of ancient times that also spreads by rhizomes.
Marestail follows the growth pattern of most spring crops with a rosette that bolts in April and May, flowers in July and sets and disperses seed from August to October. Suderman said farm management must change to deal with such pests.
Another weed Suderman expects to deal with in trials is bushy wallflower, with herbicide resistant strains that K-State scientists say now infest tens of thousands of acres of winter wheat in Kansas.
The scientists say bushy wallflower is a European species that inhabits Kansas roadsides, cultivated fields, prairies and wasteland statewide.
This spring, K-State lists 23 different biotypes of herbicide resistant weeds in Kansas at 3,280 sites on 796,500 acres.
The most recent weed officially added to the list was kochia resistant to glyphosate in 2007.
Roberts said wheat plots at the field are staked now, but he plans to get bigger signs up soon that visitors can see more easily.
Varieties there include Art, Jackpot, Postrock, Dustbuster, Hutch, Santa Fe, Hawk, Shocker, Fuller, Armor, Overly, Everest 2137 and an experimental unnamed wheat known as WB 539.
“Most all of these are varieties we do plant around here,” Roberts said. “WB 539 is one of the newest we have, while Everest 2137 is probably the oldest.
“In my opinion, Everest is still a very, very good variety for this country.”
Both Suderman and Roberts see the CGS 40 as a management tool that could help area farmers for years to come.