Company is committed to local FFA through support of alfalfa trial incorporating good stewardship and agricultural practices
EHRENBERG, Ariz. – April 16, 2013 – Wilbur-Ellis Company in Ehrenberg, Arizona is reaching out to support the local FFA chapter in Parker, Arizona. Ryan McGuire, a former FFA student from 2000-2004 and PCA with Wilbur-Ellis since 2010, is helping the Parker FFA chapter establish an alfalfa trial featuring the latest generation of Genuity® Roundup Ready® alfalfa from W-L Research. The trial is located on 32 acres owned by the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) along the winding Colorado River.
“What’s unique about this trial is we’re featuring Genuity® Roundup Ready® alfalfa,” said McGuire. “We selected the new Roundup Ready variety because the previous stand was five years old, filled with weeds, and in really bad shape. WL 662HQ.RR is a new release and the highest non-dormant Roundup Ready variety available.”
Brad Griffin, Ehrenberg’s branch manager, commented, “Alfalfa and forage are the largest crops in our geography; nonetheless the advent of Roundup Ready alfalfa hasn’t taken off well yet in this area because few varieties are available with the technology in the maturity we need. This will give the growers in our area a chance to drive by and look at it without having to actually grow it in their own field.”
“We ripped out the old stand in August and planted the new variety in October. Our first cutting was in March, and we made a respectable 1.5 tons,” said McGuire. “We just laid down the second cutting and are anxious to see what our yields will be.” McGuire went on to say what he found most remarkable was how a field previously full of weeds is now nearly weed-free. The absence of weeds will not only help boost yield but also improve the hay quality of future cuttings.
“This was a good opportunity to showcase WL’s second generation of Roundup Ready® alfalfa and the agronomic support Wilbur-Ellis offers to growers,” commented Tom Prata, Seed Technology Specialist.
“We’ve got a great network of team members at the branch,” added Griffin.” This was a true group effort to pull the deal together. We asked WL to help donate the seed, and Cory Ritz with WL provided an up and coming alfalfa variety. We’ll be evaluating whether the field will truly be clean in the long term over a four to five-year stand.”
Next to the alfalfa are two-and-a-half acres that have rotated between sweet corn, pumpkins, and melons. Beside this is an additional three acres of cattle pasture and a swine breeding facility, all of which are part of FFA for SAE projects.
Last spring the FFA chapter grew a sweet corn crop. McGuire helped them with seed selection, fertilization, insect and weed scouting, and other agronomics involved in growing sweet corn. The students bought shares of the field, then sold the hand-picked corn and raised funds to pay back the cost of production and used the remainder for fundraising. “This has been a real learning experience for the kids in growing and marketing with all the funds they raised going to promoting their chapter,” said McGuire. “The FFA kids get a real understanding of cost accounting and how the whole process works. I’m very happy to be involved and to help with a project like this.”
Griffin added, “We’ve always helped the youth in the community.”
About Wilbur-Ellis Company
Founded in 1921, Wilbur-Ellis is a leading international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients. By developing strong relationships, making strategic market investments and capitalizing on new opportunities, Wilbur-Ellis has continued to grow its business with sales now over $3 billion.