Crops Conference Will Help With 2010 Planning

Winter meeting season gets underway.

Published on: Nov 25, 2009
Meeting season is here again- ready or not. Hopefully, even if you're not finished with harvesting, you can manage to take full advantage of these events, many planned by Extension. One of the earliest is the Michiana Crops Conference, slated for Friday, December 4 in LaGrange County.

Head to Shipshewana and the famous Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery for the event. Known for Amish cooking, especially its home-baked ham, it's a special incentive to put this meeting on your calendar. You'll also have the chance to earn credit toward your pesticide license through a certain, dedicated portion of the program.

Gene Matzat, Purdue University Extension ag educator in LaPorte County, west of Shipshewana, says the meeting should help you better plan for maladies like those that affected crops this year, ranging from white mold to aphids in soybeans to late planting and ear rots in corn.

Its' also the area of the state where the western bean cutworm made a dramatic appearance this year. At first tracked in only a few counties in the northwestern part of Indiana, particularly Jasper and Pulaski County on lighter, sandier soils, it eventually was detected in 17 counties in northern Indiana, ranging all the way across the state from west to east. It's a devastating pest because worms typically open several holes on each ear they infest late in the growing season. Disease pathogens and water have free access inside the husks, and the result is typically molding with discolored, perhaps even sprouted, kernels.

Triple-stack hybrids are not protected from western bean cutworm unless they carry the Herculex corn borer protection gene. For this next growing season, Smart Stax hybrids developed through a joint agreement between Monsanto and Sow AgroSciences, will be available in limited quantities. Those hybrids have resistance to western bean cutworm since they contain the Herculex trait that confers resistance. Larvae eat a small amount off an ear with this trait, ingest a protein that their system can't handle, and then die. Sometimes you have to look closely event to detect that they have been present and attempted to feed on ears before they died.

This is just one of the topics you can expect to learn more about at the meeting. Others include weed resistance issues, a look at manure management, the latest on corn and soybean diseases and more. Local LaGrange County Extension educator Steve Engleking will present 'Driftwatch,' the portion of the program that allows private applicators seeking recertification to earn points.

Dale Mutch of Michigan State University will talk about cover crops. He's especially interested in using legume cover crops to help manage nitrogen and provide fertility for commercial corps.

Fees are applicable to cover the meal and materials. An additional fee covers the certification portion of the program for those who need credit. Contact Corey Gerber at 765-496-3755 or gerberc@purdue.edu for more details. Registration is due by November 30. Download a brochure and registration from at: www.agry.purdue.edu/dtc.