Highlights from the PA Agronomic Education Conference

From new tools in crop production to the impact of millennials on the farm.
Highlights from the PA Agronomic Education Conference - News


January 16th and 17th of 2018, agronomic professionals gathered to share knowledge and grow educational capacity. The Pennsylvania Agronomic Education Conference featured speakers from all over the United States sharing information from updates on alternative crops such as malting barley and hemp to micronutrient trends, new tools, managing drift and even a session on the impact of millennials on the farm. Here are a short list of highlights:

The need for additional evaluation of the impact of pH as a limiting factor on Pennsylvania soils is crucial. A micronutrient update from Bill Urbanowicz of Spectrum Analytical, Inc. reviewed lab data that shows there are a majority of soils suffering both micro and macro nutrient deficiencies in Pennsylvania. You won’t know unless you soil test.

  • The United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service shared changes in their Farm Bill programs that allow for more partnerships with Agribusinesses.
  • A review of reasons cutting crop insurance might not be your best bet in a bad year.
  • Trends in Pennsylvania’s Vegetable and Small Fruit Production show an increase in value added products and a new focus on improving environment and decreasing risk of contamination to fresh produce.
  • Jerry Martin, Penn State Extension Nutrient Management Specialist, gave an overview of the current status of nutrient management regulations and how it my impact those that work with farms.
  • Kyle Imhoff at Penn State gave an exclusive weather prediction for the coming growing season with an average year in store for Pennsylvania.
  • There was numerous breakout sessions that included updates on creating a guide for hemp production in Pennsylvania, a new Penn State tool to predict or calculate nitrogen management and an update on fungicides. The day concluded with a session from Penn State reviewing the 2017 growing season, specialists reminded us of the early frost damage some small grains suffered over the past two years in various pockets of the state, common corn pathogens like Northern Corn Leaf Blight and Leaf Spot among others.
  • Day 2 started off with Gil Strader, head of field force excellence and training at Syngenta shared what he has learned about the differences between generations in the workplace and on the farm. They have done a lot to prepare for the next wave of clients and employees and shared the changes in mindset that need to occur organizationally to prepare. He called millennials perhaps the “smartest generation” sighting their access to online content and their vast networks of colleagues and fellow farmers.
  • Sessions on Modern Precision Application Technologies, practices that lead to the highest yields in Pennsylvania, an update on writing nutrient management plans dominated the midmorning.
  • The conference ended with Thomas Mueller, Specialist at the University of Tennessee. He has done numerous field tests to study the movement of dicamba after application on various surfaces, pre- and post-. More information on preventing dicamba drift was highlighted including spotting an inversion.