If you want to learn how nitrogen rates shake out for 2011 on your own farm, then Bob Nielsen and Jim Camberato want to hear from you. The Purdue University Extension agronomists are still looking for farmer cooperators to put out strip trials on nitrogen rates this year. They're in special need of more data in southern Indiana counties.
The pair now has enough data after five years of beginning an effort to collect trial data on how modern hybrids respond to N rates that they can make recommendations based upon soil types. One big conclusion they've made is that soils in eastern Indiana require higher rates and produce less corn on average, even at those higher rates, than soils in west-central Indiana. Many other areas of the state fall somewhere in between on recommended rates.
Visit Nielsen's Chat'N Chew Café or www.kingocrn.org to find links to this data. They have recommendations broken down based on how much you expect to pay for nitrogen, and how much you expect to get per bushel of corn. Nielsen recently expanded the table to cover corn prices up to $9 per bushel— just in case.
Meanwhile, Nielsen, Camberato and other Purdue specialists, including Shaun Casteel, soybean Extension specialist, are looking for cooperators for other projects as well. Casteel specifically wants to look at soybean seeding rates. He has lowered seeding rate recommendations, and intends to publish revised rates in the 2012 Purdue Corn & Soybean Field Guide. Information he gains this summer through plots would help contribute to that effort.
The push to work more on farms and with farmers to ramp up production and delivery of information form Purdue trials directly to farmers comes from the top. Jay Akridge, Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture, Chuck Hibberd, Director of Extension and Jim Mintert, assistant director for ag and natural resources, have all encouraged Extension educators across the state to become involved in this effort.
"We want to see them work with farmers in these kinds of projects when they can," says Akirdge.
That's a far cry from previous Purdue administrations, who, as recently as two decades ago, actually discouraged specialists and educators from working directly with farmers in crop production situations. Extension educators welcome the change.
Dave Smith, Johnson County, is an ag educator who has jumped on the bandwagon. He hopes to set up trials this year. Last year he supervised both a twin-row corn study and a nitrogen rate plot.
If you're interested in participating, talk to your local Extension educator.