TAPS Hosts Summer Event Field Day

TAPS field day attendees examine field
Chuck Burr, crops and water extension educator and TAPS team member, (at center in gray shirt and red cap), stands with attendees in a problematic plot at the UNL-TAPS Summer Event Field Day, as they examine and discuss issues during the problematic plot educational activity.

TAPS Hosts Summer Event Field Day

The Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program hosted its 2021 Summer Event on June 24 at the West Central Research, Extension & Education Center (WCREEC) in North Platte, Nebraska. Attendees experienced a variety of hands-on activities, including examining problematic plots as a group, followed by an agronomic Olympics contest, which included friendly competition in different events, all connected to the six major decision areas associated with the TAPS educational experience.

TAPS olympics winners
Figure 2. The best performers in the agronomic Olympics were recognized as the top three Olympians across all events. Medalists pictured include: (from left) Jerry Stahr, bronze; Todd Downer, silver; and Ron Makovicka, gold.
TAPS golf tourney champions
Figure 3. Top left photo: The UNL-TAPS Summer Event 1st Annual Golf Tournament champions were Blake Earnest (not pictured), Jeffery Hughes (left), and Kelly Maaske (right), with a final score of four under par, 32. Bottom photo: The Rees's Pieces team putts in and high-fives on Hole 3 at Indian Meadows Golf Course in North Platte, Nebraska. Pictured left to right is Jerry Stahr, Ron Makovicka, Jenny Rees and Stuart Spader.

During the crop diagnostic portion, attendees were given a hands-on chance to examine and discuss problematic plots with educators, specialists and peers, as well as onsite technological company representatives. Problematic plots were designed by the TAPS team to include a variety of problems that may appear on any crop production operation and to allow for hands-on, experiential learning of how to identify and correct such issues. Onsite technology companies, including FarmersEdge, The Climate Corporation, Sentera, and Farm Flight, presented their respective platforms and demonstrated how each could be used to diagnose problems in producer fields. After the crop diagnoses, Olympians competed against each other in siphon tube setting, identifying various insects and weeds, NDVI estimation, sorghum seeding rate estimation, and a marketing and yield estimation quiz.

TAPS olympics event
Figure 4. Top left photo: Chuck Burr, crops and water extension educator and TAPS team member, (at far right), leads participants through and records each official time in the irrigation agronomic Olympics event, which was an attendee favorite, and involved setting variously sized siphon tubes as quickly as possible. Top right photo: Dr. Daran Rudnick, irrigation specialist and TAPS team member, (at right), discusses plots with TAPS participant, Joshua Becker, during the NDVI estimation event. Bottom left photo: Abia Katimbo, biological engineering graduate student and TAPS field team member, (at left), assists participants in navigating plots throughout agronomic Olympics activities. Bottom right photo: Turner Dorr, research manager and TAPS field team member, (at far left), and Dr. Matt Stockton, agricultural economist and TAPS team member, (at far right), lead participants through the insect identification and marketing and yield estimation quiz portions of the agronomic Olympics.

After the agronomic Olympics, the audience broke into smaller groups in order to allow attendees to visit in more detail with their respective soil moisture sensor representative(s). Attending companies were AquaSpy, CropX, Sentek, Trellis, and Phytech. Additionally, attendees were provided lunch by NebraskaLand National Bank, over presentations from GrainIQ and the UNL Agricultural Budget Calculator (ABC), which overviewed 2021 circumstances and offered participants tools that can be used not only for TAPS, but also on their own operations. All attendees were free to tour their TAPS competition plots and ask any questions they may have at this point in the contest and production season.

Following the educational affair at WCREEC, attendees were given the opportunity to participate in the TAPS Summer Event 1st Annual Golf Tournament, which was hosted at Indian Meadows Golf Course in North Platte, Nebraska. Six teams participated in the four-person, nine-hole best ball scramble, which included flag prize packages generously provided by sponsors, as well as awards from TAPS for both the first and championship flights. Terry Buettner, Jamison Jensen, Jonah Otte and Tanner Tool won first flight with a score of two under par. The championship flight winners were Blake Earnest, Jeffery Hughes and Kelly Maaske with a score of four under par.

TAPS is grateful to all attendees of the 2021 Summer Event. A special thank you to NebraskaLand National Bank, Indian Meadows Golf Course, all presenters, and all sponsors, including AKRS Equipment, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, AquaSpy, Fontanelle Hybrids, Curt and Donna Arens with NebraskaFarmer, The Climate Corporation, Dawson Public Power District, Bomgaars, and Tractor Supply Company.

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