Try taking refresher course in Crops 101

The FFA and 4-H crop judging champions were crowned just before Christmas. One activity contestants must do is complete a 40-question quiz about modern crop production. In the true spirit of the TV show “Are you as smart as a fifth grader?”, here’s your chance to see if you can match wits with six-graders through seniors who participate in crops judging.

This particular set of questions comes from the quiz used at the 2009 Purdue Crops Invitational Contest, sponsored by the Purdue University Agronomy Club.

Answer by work your way from “novice” to “master producer.”

Novice questions

1. Manure placed on crop fields will: a) improve soil structure; b) not loosen soil as much as adding sand; c) compact the soil but provide plant food; d) lower earthworm populations due to high chemical concentrations

2. A black layer at the base of a corn kernel on the ear indicates: a) disease; b) drought; c) weevil damage; d) black-tip of corn; e) physiological maturity

3. There are ______ acres in a square mile: a) 640; b) 160; c) 80; d) 40; e) 20

4. A deficiency of this may cause corn plants to fall over: a) chorine; b) potassium; c) nitrogen; d) phosphorus; e) calcium

5. Wet soils are ______ to warm than dry soils in the spring. a) quicker; b) slower; c) no different

Good grower

6. If a weed population develops resistance, how long before you can use that herbicide again on that weed? a) one year; b) five years; c) 10 years; d) never

7. What does CEC stand for? a) cation exchange capacity; b) cation exchange capability; c) cation extra capacity; d) not important

8. Selectivity of a herbicide measures: a) ability not to drift; b) toxicity to people; c) life in soil; d) species of weed it kills or controls

9. The recommended N rate for soybeans: a) 0 pounds per acre; b) 25; c) 50; d) 150; e) need more information

10. Western bean cutworm is distinguished from other worms by: a) black color; b) moves faster; c) rectangle markings above its head; d) born from eggs

Master producer

11. What determines when soybeans flower: a) temperature; b) length of night; c) days since planting; d) height

12. Soil temperatures tend to be _______ and soil moisture tends to be _____ in no-till vs. conventional tillage: a) colder/higher; b) warmer/lower; c) colder/lower; d) warmer/higher

13. Herbicide effectiveness does not depend upon: a) soil organic matter (for soil-applied herbicides); b) soil pH; c) application procedure; d) using maximum rate

14. Moldboard plowing leaves _________% residue on surface: a) none; b) 25-35; c) 35-45; d) 3-5

15. Soybean plant leaf(ves) at growth stage VC includes: a) multifoliates; b) unifoliates; c) trifoliates

Answers: 1. a; 2. e; 3. a; 4. b; 5. b; 6. d; 7. a; 8. d; 9. a; 10. c; 11. b; 12. a; 13. d; 14. d; 15. b

Key: 4–5 right (total) — novice; 8–10 right, good grower; 13 or more correct — master producer

Do you think there’s an error or you don’t understand why your answer isn’t correct? E-mail tbechman@farmprogress.com, and someone will respond with an explanation.

This article published in the February, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.