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BioEnergy Field Day for all Carolina Farmers

Next Wednesday, September 4th, the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research station in Mills River will host their second Bioenergy Field Day. Ron Gehl, Asst. Prof and Extension Specialist with NC State Soil Science Dept:

“This will be our second event that is a western NC Bio Energy field day. We did this back in 2011 and it was successful so we are doing it again. We are inviting the public and tailoring the event to researchers, farmers, and industry, anyone who is interested in learning about bio energy crop production, bio fuels potential in the state of NC. We have tried to set the line up to encompass a lot of different audiences.”

The crops that will be on display at the field day can be grown in various parts of the state, not just the mountains according to Gehl:

Most of the crops that we are working with here at our station, we have plots throughout the state with these same crops. That is by design, not only because our staff is located here, but we are testing new crops all the time and trying to decide where in NC is the best place for production because we have such diversity of soil and climate across the state.”

There’s been a great deal of focus in the past few months about finding economically viable crops to grow on spray fields. Gehl says they’re working on that:

“We don’t have a lot of spray field area in western NC, but we do in the eastern part of the state. We have been testing a variety of crops including switchgrass and giant miscanthis and biomass sorghum and sweet sorghum. We have had good success with yields with all of those crops in the spray field environment. We are still trying to figure out the nitrogen and nutrient dynamics, which are very critical to how those new crops will work in that system.”

Gehl explains some of the activities scheduled for the field day:

“One of the topics we will cover is high oil crops, like canola. We have plots here as well as in eastern NC. Canola can be grown to produce biodiesel. We will also look at perennial grasses. We also will talk about conversion, do we convert to bio diesel or what are the options to go to ethanol. We will have small scale field demonstrations of bio diesel production, sorghum harvest and distillation and a harvest demo.”

The field day is Wednesday, September 4th, getting underway at 12:30, wrapping up around 5:00 at the research station in Mills River. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.