Getting Excited About the Professional Crop Producer Conference

Posted: February 5, 2014

Greg Roth gives a preview of the topics and speakers at this year's PCPC.

I get to lots of meetings and am able to hear lots of speakers, so it takes a lot to get me excited to go to another conference.  But I have to admit, I am really looking forward to this year’s Professional Crop Producer Conference.  Because of that, I thought I might share some of the reasons why in this issue of Field Crop News.

First, we have a great Pre-conference symposium.  My colleague Bob Nielsen is the “corn guy” from Purdue.  Bob has literally seen it all when it comes to corn and I rely a lot on Bob’s judgment in some of those difficult to diagnose situations.  I am looking forward to discussing with Bob some of his thoughts on frost impacts on early corn.  Usually corn rebounds quickly from frost but this year we had temperatures that reached lethal levels and caused stand and yield loss.  I am also looking forward to hear his thoughts on chilling injury and replanting.  Bob has done some of the best work on diagnosing chilling injury and evaluating the resulting “crappy” stands of corn as he calls it.  I’ve been in fields of crappy corn in the spring and know that it’s often a difficult call as to whether to replant or not.  So I think Bob is also going provide some good insights in this regard.  Bob will be participating in the conference as well, providing some of his perspective on how precision ag technology can be put to the best use.  I am interested to see if Bob comes up with some of the same thoughts that many of us in the Keystone State have concluded.

I’m also interested in what my colleague Dr. Lisa Holden will be discussing in her presentation on Farm Management in a Low Price Environment.  She has spent the last five years working with dairy producers on survival skills and I think she will have some survival tips for grain producers if corn prices remain depressed for a few years. 

Another speaker I’m interested in is Dave Mayonado from Monsanto who was invited by the Mid Atlantic Soybean Association.  He will be sharing a bit with us about the Innovations of Crop Production in the Future.  I’ve done a bit of research on this in the process of inviting Dave and its going to be a lot more than new transgenic crops.  I’ll let Dave fill you in on some of the details, but these should be a few topics that leading farmers and consultants should be up on. 

I am also looking forward to meeting some of our corn and soybean contest winners and reviewing some of their strategies they used for success.  I tend to look more at their whole farm management and system rather than minor inputs they added on top of everything else.

This year we are having an evening discussion on the first day where Jay Fuhrer from NRCS in North Dakota will discuss cover crops with some of our leading experts. It will be interesting to see who is teaching who in this session as we have some real innovators in the No-till Alliance, who will be heading up this event.

On the second day of the conference, I’m looking forward to another high energy presentation from Tom Kilcer on “Hay in a Day” .   Tom was invited by the Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council and usually has some real practical points.  One farmer told me this fall he made some key changes after hearing Tom before and that has made them some real money.

I am also going to be very interested to hear Jerry Gulke’s presentation on “The Beginning of Systemic Change in Agriculture”. Thanks to the PA Corn Growers for helping to bring Jerry in to talk about this important topic.  Jerry is a nationally known figure and usually has an interesting message.

Two other presentations on my list on the second day are Dr. Christina Cowger, from ARS in North Carolina and Brian Meeuwsen from Pennsylvania Grain Processing.  Christina is going to be sharing the state of the art in wheat scab research, an area we all need to be aware of.  Specifically I want to know more about the potential of new Fusarium strains that could produce more toxins.  Brian will share some of his experiences purchasing grain from Pennsylvania farmers at the ethanol plant, and how through more careful grain drying and storage many farmers can boost their bottom line.

So this should be a good conference.  There’s a lot more than what I’ve discussed here- these are just my sneak preview.  This year’s conference has great speakers from the start to finish, so block out your schedule for at least two days in Lancaster.  You probably won’t regret it.

The cost for the two day conference is $75, with discounts available for one day @ $50 and $20/day student registrations. The preconference program is an additional $35. To register visit

Contact Information

Gregory W. Roth
  • Professor of Agronomy
Phone: 814-863-1018