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COLUMBIA – This year’s University of Missouri bobwhite quail and native plant field day expands to include a Missouri Bobwhite Quail Summit, June 16 at MU’s Bradford Research and Extension Center near Columbia. Both events will be free.
The northern bobwhite quail, a once-abundant upland game bird, has suffered a steep population decline in Missouri and across its range during the past few decades, partly due to modern farming practices that have erased prime quail habitat. In recent years, MU Bradford Farm has served as a laboratory for implementing practices that integrate habitat management for bobwhites into modern farm operations.
The field day, 4-8 p.m., will feature wagon tours of habitat management techniques that have created the mixture of plant communities bobwhites need for nesting, feeding and protection from predators. These practices have helped increase the population of bobwhites on the farm and surrounding area.
“We’re going to talk about conducting management practices in stands of warm-season grasses so that they don’t become so overgrown and that encourage a greater diversity of plants, such as legumes and other native forbs,” said Tim Reinbott, superintendent at the 591-acre research farm several miles east of Columbia. “We’ll also show how to renovate tall fescue to make it more wildlife-friendly.”
MU Extension agricultural economist Joe Horner will talk about the economics of integrating wildlife habitat and crop production. Other new topics this year include native pollinators, enhancing wildlife on small acreage, and pond and waterway management.
According to Bob Pierce, MU Extension fish and wildlife specialist, the field day will also include indoor workshops on quail ecology, habitat management, and population dynamics, including the impact of predators. Drinks and hamburgers will be served and visitors will have the opportunity to buy native plants.
There will be two sessions conducted during the Missouri Bobwhite Quail Summit. The morning session will be organized specifically for wildlife and natural resource professionals. The afternoon session, 1-4 p.m., will bring together private landowners, natural resource professionals and other interested persons to discuss the latest research on strategies and tools for conserving and restoring bobwhite habitat, learn about funding opportunities, and hear landowner success stories, said Pierce.
Both events are free and open to the public. Registration is not required for the field day but people interested in participating in the afternoon session of the Bobwhite Quail Summit should RSVP to MU BREC, 4968 Rangeline Road, Columbia, MO 65201-8973 or ChismT@missouri.edu, or call 573-884-7945.
For more information about these events, contact Bob Pierce at 573-882-4337 or PierceR@missouri.edu.
Field day sponsors are MU Extension; the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Lincoln University; Missouri Department of Conservation; the Missouri Soybean Association; and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Sponsors for the Missouri Bobwhite Quail Summit include the Conservation Federation of Missouri, Quail Forever; the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation; Quail Unlimited; the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative; MU Extension; and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.