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UGA-Tifton to host turfgrass conference in late April

By for CAES News

The 72nd annual University of Georgia Southeastern Turfgrass Conference will be held on Thursday, April 26, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia.

At the conference, UGA Cooperative Extension researchers will provide updates on turfgrass breeding, muscadine trees and pesticides, according to Brian Schwartz, turfgrass breeder on the UGA Tifton campus.

“This is a historically relevant program to which people keep coming, and we try to provide information, not only on the future of turfgrass, but on the training they can receive as well,” Schwartz said.

Drought-tolerant turfgrass varieties, such as Bermuda, zoysia and centipede grasses, along with technological advancements, like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sensors, will be discussed.

“Drones can produce 3-D maps for growers and provide data for irrigation and nitrogen management,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said more farmers are incorporating drone technology into their daily practices. This tool provides farmers with information about soil moisture levels and overall plant health, which can increase efficiency and profits for growers.

Researchers will also address the decline in the bee population and the steps necessary to protect these endangered pollinators.

Beyond the discussion, Schwartz believes that the field training portion of the conference is also vital.

“Researchers will demonstrate new sprayers, and people will get to have some hands-on training with them,” Schwartz said. “I think it’s important to take something from the event you can incorporate into your daily practices.

On-site registration for this year’s conference begins at 7 a.m. Presentations will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and end with an optional field tour of the turfgrass research plots.

For more information or to register for the event, visit www.caes.uga.edu/campuses/tifton/conference-center.html.

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