Agronomy Newsletter Worth Millions to Ohio Farmers

July 16, 2002

BUCYRUS, Ohio - Ohio farmers and agri-businesses saved over $11.2 million last year in reduced pesticide and herbicide costs and increased crop production with the help of C.O.R.N.

C.O.R.N. (Crop Observation and Recommendation Network) is a weekly electronic newsletter produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team that provides timely, useful tips on insect and disease management, crop production, pesticide/herbicide recommendations, research results and program/workshop information.

Team members conducted a survey in 2001 to determine the overall economic impact C.O.R.N. has on its readers. Survey results indicated that users saved over $1 million in reduced chemical costs of corn and soybeans and increased their yields of the crops by 3.5 million bushels. The estimated value from the increased production totaled over $10.1 million using the 1996 Farm Bill government loan rates. The survey represented 2.57 million acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa - 30 percent of Ohio's crop acreage.

"We feel very good about the survey results. I think we've built a body of evidence indicating that C.O.R.N. is a very good piece of information," said Steve Prochaska, an Ohio State Extension Crawford County agent and a C.O.R.N. editor. "The whole idea behind C.O.R.N. is to provide real-time, problem solving tips and to do so in a multidisciplinary team effort. I think that's the key to why it's so successful."

Ohio State Extension specialists and researchers within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences make up the team that creates the newsletter each week. Disciplines include plant pathology, entomology, crop production, weed science and IPM (Integrated Pest Management). C.O.R.N. is released every Tuesday via e-mail, fax and on the Internet at http://corn.osu.edu/. Over 800 individuals are currently subscribed to the newsletter's listserv.

"I don't see how a farmer can be in crop production in the state and not subscribe to the newsletter," said Don Mennel, President of Mennel Milling Company in Fostoria, Ohio. Mennel said he has been reading the C.O.R.N. newsletter every week for at least the last five years. He distributes the information to various departments, including grain, sales and quality control.

"We read newsletters from other states, and I can safely say that the C.O.R.N. newsletter is the best as far as the information it provides and in its importance," said Mennel. "Those guys do a great job."

The soft wheat flour milling company also does business in crop production, and Mennel said the C.O.R.N. newsletter is helpful in monitoring crop development and preparing for harvest.

"The newsletter has both a direct and indirect impact on our business. It helps us make better business decisions, such as maybe carrying over an old crop or taking up a position from a crop disaster," he said.

Not only is C.O.R.N. helpful for its readers, but the newsletter is an invaluable tool for those Ohio State researchers and Extension agents who contribute to it each week.

"C.O.R.N. has been a great help in getting timely information out to the growers. Before C.O.R.N., we sent newsletters out by mail. By the time the growers got the written information by mail the problem was over or too late to do anything about," said Pat Lipps, an Ohio State plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center who posts information on a regular basis. "I think the C.O.R.N. newsletter has been one of the best things we have ever done in Field Crop Extension for Ohio's producers. Any producer or ag dealer not getting C.O.R.N. is not adequately informed and is likely losing money because of it."

C.O.R.N. has been available to growers and agri-businesses for six years. Free e-mail subscription of the newsletter can be obtained by sending an e-mail message to corn-out-on@postoffice.ag.ohio-state.edu.

Author(s): 
Candace Pollock
Source(s): 
Steve Prochaska