Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie (in red shirt) inoculated corn plants with diseases by hand with help from (starting at left) Taylor Ferguson, Ethan Heidenreich, Ross Albert, Thomas Zerebny, Justin Zeeb and Isaac Ferrie.
by Nate Birt, Sara Brown and Margy Eckelkamp
Direct Disease Delivery
Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie has spent his career championing the importance of corn never having a bad day. For the sake of learning, he took the opposite approach this past summer on one acre at the Farm Journal Corn College campus in Illinois.
In the field, he purposefully inoculated plants with gray leaf spot, two types of corn leaf blight and eyespot. The crew irrigated the plot to increase the likelihood for the disease environment.
At the Illinois Corn College campus, one acre was dedicated to a disease demonstration plot.
In the greenhouse, Ferrie also inoculated plants with Goss’s bacterial wilt, white mold and sudden death syndrome.
The biggest lesson learned: All three factors of the disease triangle—the host, pathogen and environment—have to be present for disease to take hold.
"Even when we injected the disease into the whorl of the plant, without the host’s susceptibility and the right environment, the disease simply did not infect the plant," Ferrie explains. "It takes all parts of the disease triangle to cause a problem."
The demonstration was a powerful teaching tool for Corn College students as Ferrie taught them how to identify and manage diseases.
What a Day!
The Heat Is On
Used equipment is a hot topic right now—but not like this! When en route to the shed, this farmer had to stop in his tracks and bail out of the driver’s seat when an electrical problem engulfed his tractor in flames.
If you’ve had one of those days—or caught someone else’s on film—we’d love to share it with our readers. E-mail high-resolution images to email@example.com or mail prints to What a Day!, Farm Journal, P.O. Box 958, Mexico, MO 65265. Photos for publication will be selected on a first-come basis.
Facts from a recent survey about USDA’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP):
506 Owners had agricultural and protected from development with the help of FRPP funding
479 Landowners sold easements
140 Minimum number of acres owned by half of the surveyed landowners
48% Owners who said all of their protected acres were in agricultural use in 2011
34% Landowners who said their land likely would have been sold for development without the easement
19% Women, operating some of their protected land; higher than the 14% identified as female principal operators in the 2007 Census of Agriculture
3% Landowners were age 35 or younger
Source: American Farmland Trust; Center For Great Plains Studies
- January 2014