Working on behalf of the Virginia Grain Producers Association, Alliance Group team members Ben Rowe and Chris Atkins organized the 2017 Virginia Small Grains Field Day earlier this month, drawing a large crowd and top speakers to Featherstone Farm in Amelia County. VGPA, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Small Grains Checkoff Board, and the Whittington family were proud to host the annual field day for wheat and barley.
Farmers and industry representatives from across the Commonwealth gathered for the annual event and enjoyed field plot tours by some of Virginia's top agriculture researchers, including:
- Small Grain Varieties with Dr. Carl Griffey
- Barley Management and Small Grains for Forage with Dr. Wade Thomason
- Small Grain Disease Management with Dr. Hillary Mehl
- Small Grain Pest Management with Dr. Sally Taylor
- Weed Management in Small Grains with Dr. Michael Flessner
Producers took time to network with the more than twenty exhibitors at the field day, and learn about the latest in equipment, products, and services being offered to Virginia farmers.
During the afternoon program, VGPA President Wayne Kirby kicked off the program with an update on VGPA's recent activities, and the importance of membership. Dr. Saied Mostaghimi, Director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, was the first speaker on the program and shared remarks on the research currently in progress at the university, and the opportunities available for Virginia's students.
The group enjoyed a presentation from Matt Musial, Regional Manager of Proximity Malt, based in Laurel, Delaware. Matt gave an overview of Proximity's three locations and their operation in Delaware. Matt discussed the characteristics of their malt and the grain qualities they look for from producers. Malt barley is emerging as a high-value crop in Virginia and Matt's presentation helped provide guidance to the many growers in the audience.
David Moore, General Manager of VIPG, spoke on the topic of hard red winter wheat for the milling and baking industries. David discussed not only the growing opportunities for the crop, but the ready demand for more than 15,000 acres of the crop in Virginia.
Continuing the theme of high-value small grains, Dan Brann with VIPG presented to the group on Amaze10 hulless barley and the potential demand for the crop from the livestock industry, and more. Dan discussed the value of the hulless grain to livestock operators, and shared success stories of producers from across the country.
The day wrapped up with the traditional barbecue luncheon and an opportunity for producers to network with their colleagues and exhibitors, and discuss the field tours and topics with the day's presenters, one-on-one.