Monday, November 18, 2013

Indiana On-Farm Network

By Sarah Lake

Sarah Lake works for ISDA out of Kokomo and the surrounding four-county area, and is also a leader for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program administered by the state. She grew up in the Fort Wayne
area but an interest in environmental science took her to Purdue. After being graduated, she worked in county government before beginning at the ISDA Division of Soil Conservation.

Over 230 farmers across the state of Indiana are conducting nitrogen evaluations on their own farms through the Indiana On-Farm Network Program.  The goal of the evaluations is to collect data from right here in Indiana that will help producers maximize profit while reducing environmental impacts. 
There are 3 tools used to conduct the evaluations- Aerial Photography, Corn Stalk Nitrate Sampling and Replicated Strip Trials.

Aerial Photography is taken of the fields enrolled in the program while the crop is growing. This is done typically in August.  Many things can be seen from this photography including planter set-up issues, fertilizer application issues and drainage problems. 

Corn Stalk Nitrate Sampling is conducted in late September or early October after the corn plant stops taking up nitrogen.  4 sampling locations are chosen in each field, typically in different soil types.  10 corn stalks are collected at each sampling point.  The stalks are tested to see how much nitrogen remained in the stalk after the ear of corn stopped growing.  A high result indicates that more nitrogen was available in the soil than the plant could use in this particular growing season.  A low result indicates there was the potential the corn plant could need more nitrogen than was available that year.

Replicated Strip Trials are set up for producers who would like to see how their yield and efficiency is affected by using different rates of nitrogen, different forms of nitrogen, different nitrogen application timing or different placement of nitrogen.
Tipton County producers wanted to determine the amount of nitrogen remaining in the soil at the time of the Corn Stalk Nitrate Sampling this year.  Soil testing was incorporated into their On-Farm Network program. 

Producers will meet with other participants in their area this winter.  Producers benefit not only from their own data, but also by sharing information with each other.  There are currently 18 On Farm Networks in Indiana.  Over 600 fields are tested totaling over 40,000 acres.

On-Farm Network was developed in 2000 by the Iowa Soybean Association.  The Indiana State Department of Agriculture was awarded a grant in 2010 to develop the program in Indiana.  The Indiana Conservation Partnership along with the Corn Marketing Council and the Soybean Alliance continue to support and grow this program.
For more information regarding Indiana On-Farm Network go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment