Where to Find Everything You Need to Know About Everything Agronomic
By Don Genrich
As I write this it’s raining out, no one is doing any fieldwork, so it’s time to check out web sites to get the latest agronomic information. Keeping current with agronomic information is easier than ever. It’s all online, on the World Wide Web. The only problem is finding the sites. I’ll take you on a brief tour of my favorite sites.
UW-Extension Soybean Specialist Shawn Conley has established his web site at http://www.coolbean.info/ and a blog site at http://thesoyreport.blogspot.com/ . Highlights include a unique children’s book called “Coolbean-The Soybean”, written by Shawn Conley and an interesting Extension piece on the profitability of soybean seed treatments at reduced seeding rates.
Joe Lauer, UW-Extension Corn Agronomist has his website at http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/ and a blog site at http://wisccorn.blogspot.com/. An interesting read on his blog site is the results of a long-term research project (started in 1983} to determine the yield effect of tillage in corn-soybean rotations. The bottom line is that there is little to no yield response to tillage when corn and soybeans are rotated.
The Wisconsin Crop Weed Science group, Vince Davis and Mark Renz maintain these sites http://wcws.cals.wisc.edu/ and http://wcws.cals.wisc.edu/blog-out-of-control/. The discouraging news for crop farmers is that a second county with glyphosate resistant horseweed has been identified in Wisconsin. Rotate those herbicides!
Follow the research work of Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Plant Pathologist at the Wisconsin Field Crops Pathology website http://fyi.uwex.edu/fieldcroppathology/. Identification and control measures for the diseases of corn, soybeans and wheat are found here.
UW-Extension Soil Science is located at http://soils.wisc.edu/extension/ and tells about the work of Carrie Laboski, Matt Ruark, Francisco Arriaga and William Bland. This is a virtual library of soils Extension work covering all of the fertility elements for any crop.
An out of Wisconsin site that I like is http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/cafe/ , a website hosted by Bob Nielsen, Corn Extension Agronomist at Purdue University. This site gives you a great overview of what is happening with agronomy across the Midwest. You can easily track weather, insect and disease issues in states south of Wisconsin so you know what might be coming your way.
The National Resource and Conservation Service maintains two websites on soil health
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/soils/health/. I’m really into soil health and this site has it all, for farmers, for kids and for the general public.
The Midwest Cover Crops Council has established a website at
http://www.mccc.msu.edu/ that provides general information on cover crops but also has a cover crops selection tool that provides locally useful, county-specific information (for example Adams County, Wisconsin) on cover crop selection, planting practices, suitability, etc.
One commercial site that I find useful is http://www.no-tillfarmer.com/ , a site devoted to the benefits of no-till or strip-till planting systems. Most of the information is based on university research, but as a commercial site it also takes advertisements for equipment, soil additives, fertilizers, cover crops, etc.
So, take your time, have fun and learn, learn, learn.