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Agronomy field day features ways to cut costs, increase yields for 2018

Bob Nielsen kneeling in cornfield
AGRONOMY FIELD DAY: Financial fitness will be the theme when Purdue’s ACRE hosts a field day on Sept. 7. Corn specialist Bob Nielsen is one of several speakers.
The Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education field day is all about helping you achieve financial fitness in times of low crop prices.

When you hear a field day will focus on financial fitness, you assume it will be about economic strategies. Perhaps ag economists will be the only speakers at the field day. Who knows? They might even dust off basic economic theories you learned in high school or college.

If that’s the reason you attend the Purdue Agronomy Center for Research and Education field day on Sept. 7, you might be disappointed. Extension ag economists certainly will be there, coming from both Purdue University and the University of Illinois. But you also will hear from Extension agronomists, entomologists and others who will apply what they’ve learned in trials and test plots to helping you discover ways to make it through what could be another year of low prices in 2018.

“With commodity prices expected to remain at relatively low levels for the foreseeable future, one way for producers to improve their bottom line is to implement more cost-effective crop management strategies,” says Karen Mitchell, Extension ag educator in Tippecanoe County, Ind. Mitchell is one of the organizers of this field day.

Making it through this year and 2018 may boil down to learning how to cut costs and maintain yields, increase yields without adding costs, or some combination of the two ideas, Mitchell believes. Who better to offer suggestions for cutting costs without impacting yield than the people who study crop management basics every day?

Program lineup
Austin Pearson, also a Tippecanoe County Extension educator, will kick off the field day with a weather outlook. Weather conditions in late summer and early fall will be critical for the 2017 crop, with a sizable portion running behind schedule due to late planting and stretches of unseasonably cool weather.

Other Purdue presenters will include Bob Nielsen, corn specialist; Shaun Casteel, soybean specialist; and Bill Johnson, weed control specialist, Mitchell says. They will man speaking posts at various places around the ACRE farm. People movers will take you to the various stops. In case of rain, the program could be moved inside the Beck Center, also located at ACRE.

John Obermeyer, longtime Purdue entomologist, will explain where Integrated Pest Management strategies have implications for cost control and/or increasing yields. Jim Camberato, a Purdue soil fertility specialist, will provide insight into fertilizer strategies that might make sense in times of lower crop prices. Camberato and Nielsen work closely together in conducting on-farm trials around the state, particularly in regards to nitrogen rates and comparing nitrogen application timing in corn.

Fred Whitford is director of Purdue Pesticide Programs. He will also present during the field day. No one sleeps when Whitford talks!

The afternoon program will consist of ag economists and market specialists looking at what they expect from crop markets going forward. A panel moderated by Todd Gleason of U of I will include Purdue’s Chris Hurt and Joseph Hubbs from the U of I. Chuck Shelby, president and chief executive officer of Risk Management Commodities Inc., will also join the panel discussion.

Field day details
ACRE is located about 3 miles west of West Lafayette, Ind., on U.S. Highway 52. The program will begin at 8 a.m. EDT and is expected to conclude by 2 p.m., Mitchell says.

The field day and lunch are free, but registration is required. For registration information, contact Mitchell at 765-474-0793 or [email protected].

PARP, CEU and CCH credits for those needing continuing education have been applied for, Mitchell adds. There will be a $10 fee if you want Private Applicator Recertification Program credits. Payment will be accepted at the event.      

TAGS: Crops
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