2011-02-24 / Local & State

New Edition Of Agronomy Guide Should Appeal To Wider Audience

The Penn State Agronomy Guide always has been nearly indispensible for many farmers. But the 2011- 2012 edition may be even more valuable than before.

Updated and released biyearly by the College of Agricultural Sciences, the publication should now appeal to a wider audience, according to Marvin Hall, professor of forage management and coauthor of the guide. “It’s the traditional book, but it also contains crucial agricultural information for nontraditional agricultural producers,” he said.

“We’re really interested in connecting with agricultural communities that perhaps we haven’t reached in previous editions, such as horse owners and beginning farmers.”

A few new sections added to the guide will make it more valuable to nontraditional groups. For example, the section on organic production has been expanded, and sections on pasture management and fertility have been enhanced.

“These areas recently have come to the forefront in agricultural communities, so we have modified the guide to meet that emerging need,” Hall said. The guide contains a wealth of information in an easy-to-read format.

It’s a high-quality, comprehensive work.

“There is even a county Penn State Extension educator who’s using the Agronomy Guide as the text for a beginning-farmer’s course.”

Hall, a frequent seminar and workshop speaker and instructor for agricultural groups, wrote the foragemanagement section of the Agronomy Guide. He often hears questions that could be addressed easily by referring to the book.

“We don’t produce the guide to make a profit,” he said. “We’d give it away if we could – we just want to help producers. It’s a good reference book to keep farmers up to speed on agricultural changes. If they see something in their fields that they don’t recognize or understand, they can take a quick look at the book and usually figure it out.”

But Hall emphasized that the Agronomy Guide is still the same great resource for traditional farmers – it just has been updated and improved. The pest-management section, he noted, has been substantially changed because plant pests have changed or adapted, so the techniques to control them also have changed.

“If growers read through this book, they may be able to reduce some inputs or just find new information about how to improve their farming operation,” he said.

And it’s not just Pennsylvania farmers who value the Penn State Agronomy Guide, Hall pointed out. “It is used by producers in a number of states, including Maryland and Delaware, that don’t have their own guides,” he said.

“The guide can be used by anyone – from folks who don’t know anything about agriculture or farming to growers who have been in the business for a long time,” Hall added.

Copies of the Penn State Agronomy Guide are available for $16 (plus $5 for U.S. shipping and handling) from the College of Agricultural Sciences Publications Distribution Center. For ordering information, call 814-865- 6713 or visit the college’s publications Web site at http://pubs.cas.psu.edu. To order by credit card, call 877- 345-0691 toll-free.

The guide is available at http://extension.psu.edu/agr onomy-guide, or it can be purchased at county Penn State Extension offices.

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