By Jim Barlow The battle against herbicide-resistant weeds, electronic mapping to guide fertilizer use, and soybean varieties adapted for local climates are among the topics for visitors to harvest today during Agronomy Day 1994 at the UI. The 38th annual event at the UI South Farm will feature hay-wagon tours, displays and demonstrations until 2 p.m. This year's theme is "Food and Agricultural Research: Beyond the Farm Gate." "The research we do affects everyone, because everyone eats food produced by agriculture," said Fred Kolb, chairman of this year's event. "We hope that the tours and exhibits will convey that our research goes beyond the farm gate and beyond production agriculture. We're trying to incorporate information on research that is designed to improve the quality of food and the environment." There will be hour long field tours of research plots devoted to a variety of topics. Tours began at 7 a.m.; the last one will begin at 1 p.m. The tours will allow visitors to get close-up looks at research in action, Kolb said. During one tour, visitors will be shown samples of herbicide-resistant plants and will be told about field, greenhouse and laboratory studies designed to help farmers control their weed problems. Herbicide-resistant weeds are developing rapidly in much of the Midwest, said Lloyd Wax, a professor of agronomy. "We need to get a handle on this, or we'll have a substantial problem," he said. "We are trying to develop management strategies that will delay or prevent the resistance to herbicides in Illinois." On the same tour, visitors will learn about soybean varieties, diseases and how U.S. soybeans fare on the international market. Another tour will focus on corn-related topics, herbicides and water quality, and wheat-crop management. A third tour will cover the use of solar power for remote fields, direct injection of pesticides, conservation tillage and effective use of fertilizers. The fourth tour will display the results of agricultural entomology research in action. There also will be a large tent housing more than 20 displays and exhibits focusing on topics such as agricultural and food policies, safety and health, and farmland leasing. One exhibit will feature the Functional Foods for Health Program, a joint research program of the UI campuses at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago that focuses on non-nutritious components in foods that fight off diseases such as cancer. Guests also can learn more about using computers to analyze soil data and field history to obtain specific recommendations for fertilizer application, costs and management. A student-operated booth will allow prospective students to learn about the UI agronomy department, and antique farm equipment will be on display. Admission is free. Lunch will be available for $2 per person at 11 a.m.; guests should register upon their arrival. Visitors can get to the South Farm from St. Mary's Road, one block south of Kirby-Florida Avenue, behind Assembly Hall. Parking space will be provided in grassy areas located near the farm's buildings.