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March 10, 2003

Purdue field guide takes a megabyte out of crop problems

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's Corn and Soybean Field Guide fits in a farmer's shirt pocket, and soon the crop management book will slide just as easily into their computer.

The 2003 guide, produced by Purdue's Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center and the Purdue Pest Management Program, features updated sections on crop pests and treatment options. The most noticeable change this year comes a few weeks from now, when the book becomes available on compact disc.

It's the latest evolution in the long history of the familiar bright yellow volume, also known as Purdue Extension publication ID 179. The first field guide was published in 1986.

"The book is a pocket guide for corn and soybean production, from planting to harvest," said Ben Carter, a Purdue agronomist and the publication's editor. "It covers insects, diseases, weed problems and the recommended approaches to those problems. It also has a section where one can keep some minor field records. There's an area for calculations and capacities for various size containers, calibrating your planter and how to set it, and other things.

"Last year was a banner year for us. We distributed approximately 40,000 of these books."

The 2003 edition includes new information and illustrations, design changes and a first-ever CD format, Carter said.

"There was some reorganization of the book's content," he said. "Tables and charts were consolidated and herbicide recommendations were revamped, to reflect the new chemicals that are on the market. There also are some new graphic images, especially in the entomology area.

"The new thing this year is we're going to offer it as a CD. We're hoping to have the CD ready by April 1. We think producers will use the pocket guide as their field reference and the CD as their office reference."

The CD version will contain an added bonus: links to full Extension publications listed throughout the book.

About a dozen Extension specialists within Purdue's School of Agriculture contributed content and/or photographs for the 200-page guide, said Corey Gerber, interim director of the Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center.

"The entomology department is quite active in providing pictures, as well as information for the text," Gerber said. "There are other departments – botany and plant pathology, and agronomy – that also are involved in putting this publication together. There are quite a few researchers that take part in this project."

The printed version of the 2003 field guide is available for $5. To order, call Purdue Extension toll-free at (888) 398-4636 (EXT-INFO) and ask for the Media Distribution Center. Ordering information for the CD version will be announced when it is ready for distribution.

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

Sources: Ben Carter, (765) 494-0820, bcart@purdue.edu

Corey Gerber, (765) 494-4912, cgerber@entm.purdue.edu

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

Related Web sites:
Purdue University Department of Agronomy
Purdue University Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Purdue University Department of Entomology


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