Weed Science, CornBox, and more: Agronomy Days at Illinois continues

A young woman wearing a hat holds a tablet device while standing in a field of young corn plants. At her feet, a small white robot on wheels is visible.
Emma Parkinson, crop sciences undergraduate intern, in the CornBox, a special corn field equipped with sensors and other technology to detect and respond to crop health. Credit: Steve Moose.

With planting in the rearview mirror, Illinois farmers can catch up on the latest science during Agronomy Days from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Events are planned all summer long to showcase new research findings, demonstrate updated management practices, and learn from experts in the Department of Crop Sciences and Illinois Extension, both part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at Illinois.

“We’re off to a great start this summer,” said coordinator Nick Seiter, assistant professor and faculty Extension specialist in crop sciences. “Our small grains field day in May was a great success, and we’re looking forward to a full calendar of events all the way into August.” 

On June 26, farmers can learn what works best to control weeds in corn and soybean, including herbicides not yet released to the public. The Weed Science Field Research Tour will take place at the Clem Farm, located at 1114 County Road 1200 East, in Champaign. The tour, which costs $10, begins at 8 a.m. and concludes around noon with a box lunch. Attendees can earn 2 hours of CCA credit under the IPM category. 

Several field days will take place around the state in July, starting with the Orr Agricultural Center Agronomy Field Day in Baylis on July 17. The Monmouth Research Center Agronomy Day takes place in Monmouth July 24 and the Ewing Agronomy Field Day is set for July 25 in Ewing. Check the calendar closer to those events for more details.

Another July event features the CornBox, a “sandbox” to test digital agriculture innovations, including genetics, sensors, and computing, in a live cornfield. The event is sponsored by the Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems (CROPPS), a $25 million multi-institution project developing groundbreaking tools to listen and talk to plants and their associated microbial organisms with the goal of increasing sustainability of corn production. The CornBox open house event takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. on July 22 at the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center at 4202 S. First St. in Champaign.

“A few August events are already planned,” Seiter said. “We encourage folks to keep checking the calendar on a regular basis for details and new events added throughout the season. We can’t wait to connect with more farmers this summer.

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