Grading Completed at Sikeston Field Lab


Well Drilling, Center Pivot Installation Under Way

agstuSIKESTON, Mo., Sept. 23, 2013 – A 12-acre field behind the Southeast Missouri State University-Sikeston building recently has been graded for use by agriculture students as an expanded field laboratory.

Below Brothers Dirt, LLC graded the field, reshaping the landscape to allow water to flow in straight lines across it. The land was surveyed using GPS and then scoops of soil from elevated areas were removed and placed in low-lying areas to create a level surface.

In addition, Southeast officials have met with Irrigation Central of Sikeston in preparation for a well to be drilled and center pivot and furrow irrigation systems to be installed in the field, said Dr. Mike Aide, chair of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture. He says Irrigation Central, a supporter of Southeast’s Department of Agriculture, will install the irrigation systems, both of which are commonly used in southeast Missouri to irrigate crops.

“Students will design and implement field experiments with corn, soybeans and other crops, and each will be irrigated. The experiments will be an educational experience to teach the basics of agronomy using real-world technology,” Aide said.

About 50 Southeast agribusiness students taking classes at the Sikeston campus will get hands-on experience at the field laboratory, Aide said. Students are already assessing the soil in the outdoor facility and will soon start to create research plot designs and implement their ideas, he said.

Most of the agriculture production classes – including soils, soil fertility, weed science, plant pathology, water management, crop science and crop physiology — will work in the field laboratory. By using the field, students have a chance to gain real world production experience as well as the ability to design and implement basic field research, Aide said.