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February 8, 2002

Field guide puts crop problems in a farmer's hip pocket

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A pocket-size book that helps farmers diagnose and treat crop problems as they come across them is back with new and updated information.

Many sections of the 2002 Corn and Soybean Field Guide were rewritten to reflect the latest in plant disease and pest management research. The Purdue Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center and the Purdue Pest Management Program produce the bright yellow guide, published every year since 1986.

"These books are made to serve as a reference in the field, to help you make on-the-spot decisions or, at least, narrow the options until you can get back to a regular reference source," said Greg Willoughby, director of the Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center.

"The guides are less than 225 pages and fit in your hip pocket or shirt pocket. They also include phone numbers of all of our Extension specialists in the agronomic fields so that if you have a cell phone and need to call from the field you have the numbers right there."

In addition to sections on insects and diseases, the guide includes chapters on weeds, herbicides, pesticides, plant fertility, growth stages, sprayer calibration and compaction. The guide is packed with charts, graphs and full-color photos of pests and disease symptoms.

Contributing writers come from Purdue's departments of Agronomy, Botany and Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

"This year's major improvement is that we've totally rewritten the pathology section, to give a better description of diseases, as well as added several diseases that have started to occur in Indiana in the past several years," Willoughby said. "One of our authors rewrote the corn management section of the pocket guide, updating it and adding some new features to help farmers make better decisions in the corn production area.

"Lastly, we have added a recordkeeping section to assist producers in keeping track of their pesticide records, including the EPA registration numbers."

Field guide sales increase almost every year. Willoughby expects the 2002 guide to reach an even larger producer audience.

"We've got 22,000 copies going into distribution," he said. "Our current distribution is ranging from Alabama up into Canada, all the way to the East Coast and as far west as Texas, Nebraska and Kansas.

"We encourage people who might be interested in ordering to get their orders in soon, because we typically run out of stock somewhere in the middle of planting season."

Field guide copies are $4 each. To order, call Purdue Extension toll-free at (888) 398-4636 (EXT-INFO) and ask for the Media Distribution Center. Orders also may be placed online.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415; sleer@aes.purdue.edu

Source: Greg Willoughby, (765) 494-7731; gregw@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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