All farmers are confronted by occasional mysteries in their fields. It may be a brown spot, a bare spot or a diseased spot that puzzles them, but growers can take heart in the fact that whatever the problem, the Agronomic Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers free consulting services to help them figure out the problem.
The division has 13 regional agronomists located around the state. Growers with hundreds of acres of cotton or soybeans often rely on their expertise but these days many alternative growers of relatively small acreages of vegetable or fruits also seek out a willing ear and some assistance.
"We try to focus on our core services," explains Kent Messick, the NCDA&CS Field Services Section chief. "That would be the soil testing, plant tissue analysis, waste analysis, solution analysis, media analysis and nematode assay."
A recent press release from the division points out these agronomists "can make on-site visits, evaluate nutrient or nematode problems, and give advice on collecting agronomic samples, liming, fertilization, composting, irrigation and nematode management."
To learn more, including contact information for the local agronomist in your area, visit www.ncagr.gov/agronomi/rahome.htm.