WOOSTER, Ohio -- Using foliar fungicides on corn in the absence of diseases to potentially improve plant health and protect yield is just one new production management approach of many growers across the Midwest, but the risk impacts are not yet well-documented.

Researchers from Ohio State University, Iowa State University, University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois are conducting a multi-state survey of corn producers and certified crop advisers to get a better handle on the production risks they face and the approaches they use to manage those risks.

"Quite often we design our applied research and outreach programs assuming we know exactly what the farmers need, but sometimes we don't hit the mark," said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, citing the major shifts in the way corn producers approach managing diseases as an example. "So we are adopting a different approach."

About 500 farmers and CCAs from each of the four states will be surveyed this spring and summer to learn what production issues growers face, how they are facing those problems, where they obtain their management information, what risks they are concerned about and what they do to manage those risks.

The survey is part of a four-year Extension and research project funded by the USDA-AFRI (Agricultural and Food Research Initiative) on risk avoidance and mitigation.

"We want to study the trends based on the survey results and if we come across some gaps in the way producers are gathering and using information, then that's something we can address," said Paul, who also holds an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "Hearing from growers and CCAs is important to developing and disseminating up-to-date, research-based, and economically sound disease management guidelines that are suitable for current corn production systems."

The survey results are intended to help shape future outreach programs and research field trials so that Extension and research efforts better guide producers and CCAs in their production management decisions. Those who participate in the survey will remain anonymous.

SOURCE: Ohio State University.