Iowa Farmers and Agronomists Use Extension Information to Make Decisions

Name and Position/Title:
Joel DeJong, ISUE Field Agronomist

Fiscal Year Submitted:

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

Iowa Farmers and Agronomists Use Extension Information to Make Decisions

Issue (Who cares and Why):
During every year, management decisions about planting, growing, harvesting and storing crops are made by crop producers. Information to make these management decisions is most useful if it is available when they need to make these decisions. Getting research-based information into the decision-makers hands at the time the decision is made is critical.

What Did You Do? (Outputs – these may include educational meetings, demonstrations or research, media, facilitating, partnering)
Several years ago the “Crop Update Newsletter” was started, and the list of subscribers continues to be expanded. Today over 850 crop producers and agronomists receive this newsletter. “Crop Update” is sent only via e-mail so it can remain free and also timelier when issues arise. It is also available on the web. The newsletter had 19 issues in 2010, most during the growing season.

A “Survey Monkey” web survey was conducted in late 2010 to determine how the information was used. Two hundred fifty responded to the survey, about 29%.

Results (Outcomes – was there a increase in knowledge, new skills learned, new decisions made, new practices implemented, increased profitability, new standards, enhanced quality of life)
Responders indicated that they found a lot of value in the newsletter (Ave = 4.43, scale: 1 = no value, 5 = high value). 98% used links provided to access more information on topics. 70% shared the newsletter with others, and 74% have told others about topics covered in the newsletter – sharing what they had learned. Examples of decisions made, using information from this newsletter, include planting decisions (84%), alfalfa management (47%), replanting (70%), fungicide application (77%), Integrated pest management strategies for corn and soybean insect decisions (86%), nitrogen rates and timing (69%), pre-harvest stalk rot assessment and harvest order decision-making (65%), and stored grain management (71%).
96% of the survey responses indicate an increase in profits per acre as an outcome of using information from the “Crop Update” newsletter. 23.9% indicated additional profits of $1 to $5/acre; 42.7%noted a $6 to $10/acre increase; 14.1% reported $11 to $15/acre; 5.2% at the $16 -$20 level; and 10.3% indicated this information made over a $20/acre difference in their profitability.
Another survey question asked on how many acres these practices were implemented. 83 indicated somewhere between 40 to 500 acres; 48 noted between 550 to 1000 acres; 29 wrote 1050 to 4900; and 26 reported implementation on 5000 acres or more – up to 100,000 acres. The last category likely represents the impact from agronomic advisors (agronomists) “multiplying” the impact of this information through their clients.

Page last updated: June 22, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,