Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[089] Public invited to MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House Sept. 18

MURFREESBORO — Anyone from the campus community or public who attends this year’s MTSU Farm Laboratories Open House should be able to note the changes since last year’s event.

Students, faculty and staff and alumni and friends of the university are welcome to attend the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the MTSU Experiential Learning and Research Center, 3211 Guy James Road, in Lascassas, Tennessee. The event is free.

Guests are invited to the various farm areas — MTSU Dairy, gardens, apiary for beehives and more — at their leisure. After touring the dairy, visitors also are welcome to drive their vehicles down the hill, where parking will be available.

“People will be able to see the improvements we’ve made since last year,” said Warren Gill, director of the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience.

The apiary, also known as a bee yard, has had great success this year.

“We’ve had our best honey year,” Gill said. “Weather caused one of the greatest clover years ever. We had an amazing amount of clover.” Clover is a key source of nectar for honeybees.

Gill credits Farm Laboratory Director Matthew Wade and Ed Holcomb, a regional expert on maximum honey production, with “doing a great job of hive management.” Holcomb, 84, is from Shelbyville, Tennessee.

The apiary’s 15 hives have produced more than 1,600 pounds of honey — more than 100 pounds per hive, “which is remarkable,” Gill said.

And, yes, honey will be for sale at the open house.

Before the 6 p.m. dinner being served, a demonstration of an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, will take place. Agribusiness and Agriscience are partnering with MTSU Aerospace to conduct research in this area.

A new addition in the garden is another hoop house — a semi-circular structure whose interior heats up from solar radiation, extending the growing season for fruits and vegetables. Fifteen acres are allocated for the garden area.

For more information, call 615-898-2523.

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