Crop Advantage Series Improves Profits

Virgil Schmitt, Extension Field Agronomist

Fiscal Year Submitted: 

POW Title and Number: 
100  Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Crop Advantage Series Improves Profits

Crop producers are living in an era of extremely high input prices with sagging value for their output.  Producers also have an unprecedented number of options from which to select inputs, making decision-making more complex each year.  Profitability hinges on excellent management utilizing the most current unbiased research to evaluate and implement, if appropriate, new techniques and technologies. 

What Did You Do?: 
Iowa State University conducted a series of producer-oriented meetings called “Crop Advantage.”  One of those meetings was held in Burlington in southeast Iowa in partnership with a seed company, an agricultural supplier, and a commodity organization.  Three hundred early-adapter producers attended, average size of operation represented by the producers being approximately 670 acres.

Several individuals who attended both the 2009 and 2010 Crop Advantage Series meeting in Burlington were surveyed regarding the 2009 meeting.  2010 attendees were also surveyed regarding the 2010 meeting.

Attendees of the 2009 meeting indicated that they:

  1. Learned  and implemented scouting for soybean aphids to determine the need, or lack thereof, for making an insecticidal treatment.  This included:
    1. Determining of the population was at or above threshold, and
    2. If the population was above threshold, determining if the population was increasing or decreasing, and
    3. Determining if the soybean maturity stages was between R1 and R5.5.
  2. Learned why to resist and then resisted the temptation to include a “preventative” insecticide application with an herbicide application.
  3. For phosphorus and potassium fertilization, learned and implemented
    1. Frequent and correct soil sampling,
    2. Fertilization based on
      1. soil test results
      2. ISU recommendations
      3. The price of fertilizer compared to the value of the crop being produced.
  1. For nitrogen fertilization of corn, learned and implemented
    1. Adjusting the rate based on the previous crop, and
    2. Adjusting the rate based on the price of nitrogen fertilizer and the price of corn grain, which determines the Maximum Return to Nitrogen.

Of the attendees in 2010, Ninety-six per cent of the attendees returning the evaluation rated the program as good or excellent.  On the average, attendees thought the information from the program would improve their profits by $10.30 per acre, suggesting an average program value of over $6,900 per farm for a total value of over $2,000,000.



100  Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: April 13, 2010
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