Written by Meg Leader and Reprinted from the ISDA 6/3/16 Newsletter with permission.
INfield Advantage (INFA) is in the middle of enrolling participants and their corn fields in the 2016 program. This year the program covers about two-thirds of the state with 35 local groups. Each local group is organized by a local contact person, either an ISDA Division of Soil Conservation Resource Specialist or a staff person from one of the other Indiana Conservation Partnership organizations. With each group enrolling between 10 and 20 growers, INFA anticipates over 400 growers participating in the program this year, up from last year’s 350. This year’s anticipated growth will expand the number of acres where the growers are using our tools to monitor their nitrogen use efficiency to over 70,000 acres.
INFA this year includes a pilot program with Indiana Pork. Indiana Pork is offering their producers, and anyone who applies hog manure, the chance to use INFA’s tools to monitor how these fields are using nitrogen to produce a successful corn crop. The pilot project expands the traditional INFA program by offering additional testing during the growing season and the chance to participate in a winter grower meeting where all the growers share a consistent management practice.
The winter grower meeting is what sets INFA apart from a grower collecting their own imagery and testing results. At the meeting, the small local group’s participants have a chance to discuss and compare their results between themselves with guidance from an agronomic consultant. Each meeting includes two presentations, the first covering general information and a second with related Purdue University research, followed by discussion time for the growers.
The 2015 program results were discussed at winter meetings held a few months ago. At the conclusion of each meeting, participants were asked for feedback on whether attending the meeting was worthwhile to them. They were asked to judge each section of the meeting separately. Uniformly, over 80% of the attendees rated each section of the meeting as worthwhile to highly worthwhile. In the discussion portion alone, over 95% of the participants gave it a rating as either worthwhile or highly worthwhile with three out of four participants saying it was a highly worthwhile use of their time.
INFA is available to Indiana producers at no additional charge through the support of the Indiana Conservation Partnership and Indiana Corn and Soybean checkoff. The Indiana Pork Project has additional support from Indiana Pork checkoff.
Contact the Wabash County SWCD if you are interested in their Indiana Pork Grower Group at 260-563-7486 ext. 3 or stop by the office at 599 Bryan Avenue, Wabash.