105844 Transformational Education: The Emotional/Economic Tag.
Poster Number 1311
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Tampa Convention Center, East Exhibit Hall
Extension is in the transformational education arena. It is difficult to tell farmers that they need to change and have them actually do it. Some will, if a strong enough relationship has been built through years of interaction between the educator and the client. However, most will cling to their past practices, because radical change sometimes leads to failure. Farmers, for all of their claims to innovation, are a very conservative group. The educator needs to be certain that change is truly necessary. In North Dakota, two changes have been strongly advocated relating to soils in recent years. First, soil erosion since 1880 has been devastating. Although many farmers in drier western counties long ago switched to no-till production practices, those in the east have been fearful of adopting no-till. A persistent program that reveals how much soil has been lost and continues to be lost has caused an emotional surge of recognition of the devastation in eastern soils, resulting in a change of farmer attitude. Cover crop use has greatly increased and some farmers of high clay soils have begun to adopt no-till systems. Side-dressing corn was rare in eastern North Dakota until recently. After a series of corn N-rate experiments, it was clear that N losses in high clay soils and in sandier soils were extremely high in some years. A case-study was presented in December to farmers in the Fargodome kick-off farm-show that indicated that farmers who did not utilize side-dressing in these sensitive soils would lose up to $500,000 per year on 600 ha of corn. After this presentation, side-dress applicators quickly sold out for spring delivery and side-dress N application has increased each year since the educational campaign. Farmer feedback indicates that over 30% yield increases due to application timing are not uncommon.