Department of Crop Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Agronomy Day 2006

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Welcome to Agronomy Day 2006

Bob Hoeft Bob Hoeft
Professor and Head
Department of Crop Sciences
(217) 333-9480

Welcome to Agronomy Day 2006. This is the 50th consecutive Agronomy Day, and like the first 49, it is designed to bring you the latest research information. This year’s theme “50 Years of Progress” appropriately describes the programs that you will have an opportunity to hear today. The research that you will see provides answers to problems and opportunities faced by Illinois producers today as well as what may come tomorrow.

Fifty years ago, many were driving As and Bs, 50s and 60s, Ms and Hs, and WD 45s (for the younger of you, those are models of tractors of the 50s) to pull 3 bottom plows, 10 foot disks, and 4 row planters. At harvest most mounted a 2-row picker on the tractor or if the farm was very progressive, it had a self-propelled combine with a 10-foot platform. Today, even though much less tillage is done, it takes bigger machinery to allow less than half the number of farmers to farm the same amount of land and grow more than twice as much grain each year. Many of the changes that allowed this to happen resulted from faculty research done on the Agronomy Farm, or from an idea provided by an innovative farmer or consultant. Such change will continue and today is the start of learning what those changes will be like over the next 50 years.

Scientists continue to develop new practices and products to control new pests that Mother Nature has sent our way. Fifty years ago, we didn’t have a problem or at least didn’t know we had a problem with corn rootworm, soybean aphid, southern corn leaf blight, soybean cyst nematode, soybean rust, waterhemp, poke weed, etc. When these pests arrived, scientists quickly found solutions that kept them under control. As you participate on the tours today, you will hear more about lessons learned in the past and how they are being used to find solutions for the future. You will get a chance to see new technology that will be common place on your equipment and in your fields in but a few short years. And of course you will be able to update yourself with new data on old topics such as N recommendations, crop rotations, wheat diseases, etc.

Please join us at the north side of the Seed House at 12:00 PM today for a presentation by Mr. Eldon Gould, successful Illinois farmer and recently appointed Administrator of USDA’s Risk Management Agency. Eldon will share with us the latest from USDA.

Faculty and staff from the Departments of Crop Sciences, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences have pulled together to offer today’s programs. Be sure your questions are answered before leaving here today.

Thanks for coming, and we look forward to seeing you at many such events in the future.