INfield Advantage involves cornstalk sampling for nitrogen

Jackson County participants help to make up a group of local farmers who want to improve their nitrogen use efficiency in corn.

Our local group is part of the statewide program coordinated by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

The INfield Advantage Program works with small regional groups of farmers who are interested in improving their nutrient use efficiency on their corn fields by sharing their management decisions and the resulting impact those decisions have on their production with a goal of creating personalize local guidance for future management innovations.

Based on a participant survey, participants have a direct impact on the management of more than half a million cropland acres across the state.

The program uses aerial imagery and the Corn Stalk Nitrate Test to determine nitrogen use efficiency in each field enrolled. Producers are not restricted on tillage, rotation, nitrogen form, timing or rate and may enroll multiple fields.

The basic level of the program is called Guided Stalk Sampling. Growers may also use the program to conduct on-farm research using Replicated Strip Trials. At the end of the year, the program supplies each grower with the imagery and CSNT results from each field. Any fields with a Replicated Strip Trial will also have an RST report. Each grower also receives a regional report, with each field assigned an anonymous ID number.

Program costs are funded through Indiana Corn Marketing Council/Indiana Soybean Alliance checkoff funds and is offered free of charge. The total value of the imagery and lab work to our Jackson County producers was $1,026 in 2017.

The program is possible due to the coordination and support of local Indiana Conservation Partnership staff. Our group also received additional support from statewide coordination by ISDA, central office and ICMC/ISA. This in-kind support is roughly valued at $4,500.

Each group holds a local INfield Advantage Winter Meeting, where attendees can view and discuss several aerial view maps of fields in the program and see the results from the nitrogen tests. Next year’s growing season and the Indiana Nutrient Management Strategy also will be discussed.

The meeting is led by the meeting facilitators Meg Leader, INFA state coordinator; consultant Hans Kok; and Justin Orme, Indiana Corn Marketing Council/Indiana Soybean Alliance. Participants were able to come away with some ideas about their crop management.

2018 INFA registration forms are available. If you are interested in enrolling fields as either GSS or RST, contact Terry Ault at 812-358-2367, ext. 108.

Information about the program and previous years’ results can be found at infieldadvantage.org.