EQIP Nutrient and Pest Management Training

Joel DeJong, Extension Field Agronomist, Northwest Area

Problem Statement

NRCS in Plymouth has several crop producers participating in an EQIP program concentrating on improved nutrient and pest management. However, the information needed by producers to improve their skills in this area is often not available in the knowledge base of the staff at local NRCS offices. Assistance in training EQIP participants was needed.

Programmatic Response

NRCS contracted with Joel DeJong to offer bi-monthly meetings or field days to discuss issues for improvement in nutrient and pest management with EQIP participants. Meetings discussing P, K, pH and nitrogen management took center stage at some of these events. One meeting focused on pest issues. Field scouting workshops were held twice, and one day was spent looking at the 5-foot root zone and discussing how the root takes up nutrients and water.

Average attendance at these sessions continued at about 30 EQIP participants.
In a recent meeting with some of the participants, a survey of practices was conducted. ISUs N rate calculator typically recommends about 110 to 145# N per acre after soybeans, and about 150 190# N/acre after corn. EQIP participants noted that 8% used <100# N/acre, 63% applied 100 125#, 23% applied 125 140#, 8% applied 140 160#, and none applied over that level when corn was following soybeans. For corn after corn, responses were 44% between 125 150#, 44% from 150# to 175#, and 11% at 200+# of N. Almost all were at or below the median for ISU recommendations. After alfalfa, 31% applied 0# N, 38% 10 to 50#, and 16% over 50# of N. 63% reported that they have used the late spring N test to change their application rate, and 15% more used it to confirm what they were doing.

The same group was surveyed about some of their pest management practices. 92% used an established scouting process for pests on the majority of their acres, and compared that data with thresholds to determine the need for management. 83% kept records on a field-by-field basis monitoring pest activity. 85% selected varieties or hybrids with resistance to certain pests, 77% used field maps of previous weed problems in making weed management decisions. 46% adjusted planting or harvesting to avoid pests, 42% changed row spacing or plant density to reduce pest risks. 92% reported that they rotated crops in specific fields in the past 3 years. Finally, 54% monitored yields to determine if IPM treated areas yielded better than non-IPM areas. For that 54%, 13% reported yields were the same, 25% indicated yields improved 1 -2 bushels/acre, 38% saw a 3 5 bu/a increase, and 25% noted a 5 10 bushel per acre yield boost with these management practices.

We will continue these workshops in 2008.

100 - Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: April 11, 2008
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu