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August 21, 2003

Full of beans: Purdue field day covers crop from top to bottom

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Soybeans are Indiana's No. 2 cash crop, after corn. For at least one day in September the pod-setting plant will take over the top spot at Purdue University's Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE).

Purdue's Soybean Field Day promises something for every soybean producer. More than seven hours of workshops and research plot tours are scheduled during the event, which takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 9.

The field day is free, with lunch available for a charge. ACRE is located seven miles northwest of Purdue's West Lafayette, Ind., campus along U.S. 52.

Organizers have packed bushels of information into the field day, said Ellsworth Christmas, Purdue Extension soybean specialist and the event's co-chairman.

"This is a specialty-type field day, in that we're concentrating on soybeans," Christmas said. "Ninety-five percent of what is presented will be directly related to soybean production. Our target audience is producers, but we certainly welcome the agribusiness community as well."

Purdue specialists and researchers will address more than 20 different soybean issues.

"The topics, in broad categories, include insect management, disease management and weed control," Christmas said. "We'll also have a number of topics under what we call cultural practices. Those will include plant population, row spacing studies, tillage systems, fertility and others."

Three sessions certain to generate much interest pertain to machinery, plant breeding and the new soybean superpower a few thousand miles south of the United States.

"One of the tour stops will relate to belt metering devices for drills," Christmas said. "We've been doing research on belt meters at some of the regional Purdue farms where the devices have been installed on drills.

"We'll also have a stop where we're going to discuss soybean breeding for specialty traits, which seems to be a topic of interest among producers. Another topic of interest these days has to do with competition from South America. We've asked an individual who is familiar with soybean production in Argentina and Brazil to address the South American competition."

Other featured topics are:

• Insect management – Soybean aphid, pod feeders, leaf feeders and western corn rootworm variant.

• Disease management – Sudden Death Syndrome, white mold, phytophthora and other root rots, soybean rust, and foliar fungicides.

• Weed management – glyphosate resistance, fall-applied herbicides, timing and drift issues.

• Soybean cyst nematode – Extent of the problem, development of resistant varieties, CystX SCN-resistant varieties and the nematode's relationship with winter annual weeds.

• Handling soybeans for identity preservation and quality.

• Effect of ozone and ultraviolet radiation on soybeans.

• Farm safety and ammonia theft.

Also planned is a market outlook update from Chris Hurt, Purdue agricultural economist.

The field day marks a first for ACRE and Purdue's agricultural center system, said Jim Beaty, ACRE's superintendent and field day co-chairman.

"This is the first time we've had a major soybean field day at any of the Purdue farms," he said. "Historically, the farms have had broad field days with many different short topics. However, we feel our clientele is becoming much more information-intensive on the kind of information they want. We think this field day provides a lot of educational material of value in a short period of time."

Speakers represent the Purdue School of Agriculture departments of Agronomy, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Botany and Plant Pathology, and Entomology.

"We've got more than 20 Purdue specialists who will be here at some point in the day to give a presentation," Beaty said. "Some of the tours will run continuously all day, while others are of a general nature and may be offered once or twice during the day."

The bottom line: Arrive early and plan to stay the day, Beaty said.

"If they come at midmorning and expect to catch all 23 presentations, they simply won't have enough time," he said.

Continuing Education Credits are available for Certified Crop Advisors attending the event. Commercial applicators and producers can earn Continuing Certification Hours.

The Indiana Soybean Board is a field day sponsoring partner.

For additional information about the event, contact Christmas at (765) 494-6373,; or Beaty at (765) 463-2632,

A Soybean Field Day brochure can be downloaded online.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415,

Sources: Ellsworth Christmas, (765) 494-6373,

Jim Beaty, (765) 463-2632,

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

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