The only reason Purdue University's Corn & Soybean Field Guide isn't on the New York Times Bestseller's list is because there aren't any farmers in New York! It's a super-hit in ag country, with sales approaching 50,000 copies sold annually in the past few years. The 2010 version is now available.
Information is similar to the 2009 edition, with appropriate updates made for 2010. The biggest difference you may notice immediately is the cover. The handy pocket guide has traditionally been yellow with a black trim since it was started. The new version has white letters super-imposed over soybeans and corn, growing in what would appear to be a strip-cropping system.
Your copy from last year may be red, green or some other color. Companies who want to provide copies for their customers can custom-order the Guide in their colors with their logo. The minimum order in that case is 100. Discounts are available. Corey Gerber, the mastermind behind the Guide and head of the Purdue Diagnostic Training center, is now taking applications from companies who want to customize 2011 editions of the Guide.
The Guide is easily the most referenced publication in Indiana Prairie Farmer. Panelists for Crops Corner and Hoosier Bug Beat often refer to the Guide. This year's edition is 316 pages of useful information related to crop farming.
Specialties in the Guide include tips on corn and soybean management, plus pictures and descriptions for all major corn and soybean insects and diseases. It's often possible to make a positive identification on a disease or bug, or to rule out a possible insect or disease, by comparing actual samples to pictures in the Guide while you're checking crops in the field and scouting for various bugs and disease pathogens.
The book also includes pages of handy conversions and calculations for agricultural uses. These include how to use the Hula-Hoop method to figure soybean populations, and how to figure corn yields before harvest in late summer.
You can purchase copies of the Guide, plus copies of the Forage Filed Guide and other useful publications referred to in the field Guide by visiting the Education Store. Find it at: www.extension.purdue.edu/store.