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May 23, 2002

Diagnostic workshops take mystery out of crop problems

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Insects, diseases and nutrient deficiencies are an agricultural crop's natural enemies. Recognizing and engaging the foe is the aim of a Purdue University workshop series.

Purdue's Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center is offering diagnostic workshops for producers, Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) and seed production professionals.

Workshops are scheduled from June through early September at Purdue's Agronomy Research Center, near West Lafayette, Ind., and the Northeast-Purdue Agricultural Center (NEPAC), in Whitley County, Ind.

For a business like farming that operates on thin profit margins, identifying and correcting problems is vital to producing a marketable crop, said Greg Willoughby, director of the Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center.

"One of the things we do in these workshops is give people the information to spot problems early on, or, where they have had problems, help them understand why they occurred so those problems don't repeat themselves in future years," Willoughby said.

Three different workshops are planned. A traditional crop diagnostic program for producers and beginning CCAs covers basic pest, herbicide, fertility and disease issues in corn, soybeans and wheat. An advanced diagnostic program for seasoned CCAs moves beyond the traditional training. The advanced program, in its second year, provides enhanced crop management skills.

A third program is new, Willoughby said.

"We have a training program geared toward seed producers," he said. "This is for companies that have agronomists that work with the seed production industry, or for farmers that produce seed for a company. The program focuses on producing seed corn, but also deals a little with wheat and soybean seed."

Workshop speakers include Purdue crop specialists and agriculture industry representatives. Training includes extensive in-field, hands-on sessions.

"One of the strengths of our program is that we're planting and spraying and managing our crops just like a producer is doing in his own fields," Willoughby said. "The problems that will occur this year we're going to have as well, whether they're naturally occurring or we induce them.

"Each year our season is different, so each year the training is different because it's tied to weather patterns and the climatic conditions that have set in. So any year is a very good year to see the problems that are common."

Workshops run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dates and locations include:

• Traditional program – June 17, July 18 and Sept. 4, Agronomy Research Center; June 13, July 9 and Sept. 6, NEPAC.

• Advanced program – June 17 and July 19, Agronomy Research Center.

• Seed production program – June 21, Agronomy Research Center.

Registration fees for the traditional program are $110 for the research center workshop and $90 for the NEPAC workshop, $200 for advanced training and $150 for the seed production workshop. Workshop registration is limited to 60 people for the traditional and seed production programs, and 20 people for the advanced program.

Workshop participants are eligible for Continuing Education Units or Continuing Credit Hours.

To register, or for more information, call (765) 494-4773 or toll-free (888) 398-4636. A workshop brochure may be downloaded online.

The Agronomy Research Center is five miles west of West Lafayette, on U.S. 52. NEPAC is located southeast of Columbia City, Ind., on County Road 400 S.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, sleer@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/

Related Web site:
Purdue Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center

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


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