The date has now been set for the next big field day at the Purdue Agronomy Research Center, located on U.S. 52, west of West Lafayette, Ind. Billed as a corn field day, it will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Ben Southard, a retired agronomist, made the announcement just last week. For years, Southard coordinated behind-the-scenes work at Purdue Agronomy Field Days. He's coming out of retirement just long enough to handle communications and promotions for this year's event.
Purdue Agronomy Department discontinued the practice of having regular, annual field days a couple of years ago. For many years, these field days were held annually, with the date rotating between June and September, depending upon when the University of Illinois, in nearby Champaign, held their field day. The rotation also gave visitors a chance to see crops in research projects at different stages in the growing season.
Highlights from the past include Keith Johnson, Purdue forage specialist, standing by a mountain of milk jugs in an alfalfa field, all to underscore how much the top-producing Holstein cow in the world, at that time located in Indiana, could produce, and what it took in feed and forage for her to accomplish that feat.
Just a few years back. Sam Parsons, now retired from Ag Engineering, brought combine manufacturers to the field day, and had them demonstrate how to set combines in the field. These combines actually shelled corn during the event. In another instance, Pete Hill, then a soil conservation specialist at Purdue, coordinated tillage demonstrations during the field day to show farmers what various levels of remaining residue actually looked like.
The field day was aborted temporarily partially due to falling attendance. Last year, it was reinstated in a different form, and billed as a soybean field day. The day was shorter, and all topics related to soybean production. A decent crowd took in the event last September.
This year's effort will be patterned after last year, with the emphasis being on various aspects of corn production. Look for more details as the big event draws closer.