Two days of informative meetings and field tours are planned for the Great Plains Sorghum Conference and Sorghum Improvement Conference of North America, to be held Aug. 11-12 in the Amarillo area.

The meeting will start at 8 a.m. Aug. 11 with presentations at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo. The presentations will be followed by afternoon tours of an ethanol plant, dairy, Advanta and Richardson Seed, said Dr. Brent Bean, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agronomist and coordinator of the event.

The ethanol and dairy tours will focus on use of grain sorghum for ethanol and utilizing forage sorghums in the diets of dairy cattle, Bean said. Advanta and Richardson Seed are two of the sorghum leaders in producing new grain and forage sorghum hybrids in this region.

Speakers from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico will cover a range of disciplines including: agronomy, physiology, biotechnology, utilization, pathology and entomology, he said. During the educational programs, participants will have an opportunity to view posters and presentations from graduate students on their latest research findings.

The field tour will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 12. This tour at the Texas AgriLife Research-Bush Farm and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Conservation and Production Research Laboratory at Bushland should be of particular interest to producers, Bean said.

More than 50 sorghum silage, sweet sorghum and new bioenergy sorghum hybrids will be viewed under both irrigated and dryland conditions, he said.

A second stop will feature weed-control advances in grain sorghum, Bean said. These will include sorghum lines that are tolerant to herbicides such as Accent, Steadfast, Classic, Assure and others. Weed control results with other promising new herbicides such as Huskie and Sharpen also will be presented.

The final stop will feature limited irrigation and scheduling on the development and productivity of sorghum, he said.

Registration forms can be found on the United Sorghum Checkoff Web site: http://www.sorghumcheckoff.com.

For Sorghum Improvement Conference of North America members, early registration by July 20 will be $15 for students and $25 for all others. On-site registration will be $35.

Bean said producers should feel free to attend all or part of the conference and field tours at no charge. This will include a free lunch on both days and dinner on Aug. 11.