If you’re interested in the latest breakthroughs in agriculture and technology, Agronomy Day, hosted by the University of Illinois’ Department of Crop Sciences, should be on your “must-see” list.

The 57th annual event will be held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at U of I’s South Farm and is a partnership among several academic units in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and is free.

Agronomy Day consist of field tours departing from the South Farm along St. Mary’s Road that make stops at research plots and repeat every half-hour until noon:

* Tour A — “NitroGenes” power more corn yield with less nitrogen; Soybean disease and pest resistance for today and the future; Management of fusarium head blight of wheat; and Corn production.

* Tour B — Western corn rootworm management in the midst of Bt resistance and surging soil insecticide use; Evaluating the suppression of soybean diseases through the use of cover crops; Monitoring Bt resistance in western corn rootworm in Illinois; Strategies to reduce nutrient loss in Illinois; and Ag economics.

* Tour C — Vegetable soybean: Overcoming hurdles to domestic production; Soybean cyst nematode virulence; Plant density tolerance: Old premise, new research; and Palmer amaranth: Hype or cause for concern?

* Tour D — Phosphorus and potassium placement for no-till and no-strip corn and soybean; How far can we sustainably push corn yields?; Optimizing nutrient management in a corn-soybean rotation: Understanding crop nutritional needs; and The six secrets of soybean success.

A new feature at this year’s Agronomy Day will allow visitors to bring in their troubled plant samples — such as corn, soybeans or tomato plants — for specialists from the U of I Plant Clinic to provide a free diagnosis.

The Plant Clinic booth will be located in the large tent on the grounds. One sample per person is requested.

Illini basketball fans also will enjoy a special treat at this year’s Agronomy Day as men’s coach John Groce will be the featured speaker at noon.

The Illini coach comes from a 4-H background. He was a member of the Happy Farmer’s 4-H Club and had an expertise in swine. He was named coach of the Illini men’s basketball team in 2012.

The noon program also will feature speakers from the College of ACES, as well as from the Department of Crop Sciences.

Agronomy Day attracts nearly 1,000 visitors each year.