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Dr. Robert L. Nielsen
Professor of Agronomy
Extension Corn Specialist

915 W. State Street
Department of Agronomy
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2054

Office: 3-450 Lilly Hall
Telephone: 765.494.4802
FAX: 765.496.2926
Email: rnielsen at purdue.edu


Ears of corn

My Responsibilities at Purdue University

I am a Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University with major responsibilities for Extension education in corn management systems for the state of Indiana. Originally from Nebraska, I joined the Agronomy staff at Purdue in 1982 after obtaining M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota. I am actively involved with Purdue’s Crop Diagnostic Training Center, a hands-on educational facility located at the Purdue Agronomy Farm. One of my major Extension activities is the development and maintenance of Web-based corn information sites. My two most popular Web sites are the Corn Growers' Guidebook (http://www.kingcorn.org) and the Chat ‘n Chew Café (http://www.kingcorn.org/cafe). My current field research involves investigations into the relationship between crop canopy reflectance and optimum nitrogen fertilizer rates in corn, on-farm seeding rate trials, on-farm nitrogen rate trials, and the productive utilization of site-specific crop management tools.

Extension education in corn management systems.

My Web sites

Extension Publications

Publications marked with the symbol require the Adobe Reader plugin.
Publications that are not available online may be ordered through Purdue's Media Distribution Center.

Since the mid'1990's, I focused on using the Web for publishing online newsletter articles, rather than numbered Extension publications, about many aspects of corn production. Most of them are archived in my Corny News Network Archives.

Research interests in corn management systems.


A Fun Extension Project:
Take a look at our 5-ac corn maze!


Presentations, Papers, etc.

I have begun to convert my online Powerpoint® presentations to Adobe® Flash® versions that should be less memory-intensive to download and play. They require Adobe's Flash Player which is a standard add-on to most of today's Web browsers. If you need to download and install the Flash Player, go to the Adobe download site at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer.

Advanced farming systems and new technologies for the maize industry PDF Formatted publication
A written summary of a presentation developed for the 2012 New Zealand Maize Conference, Hamilton, NZ, Feb 2012. Sponsored by the Foundation for Arable Research, Lincoln, NZ.
© 2012, Purdue Univ.
Serving the Information Needs of Tomorrow's Farmers
A recording of a presentation made by yours truly at the 2011 American Society of Agronomy Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX. This presentation was part of a symposium organized by the ASA titled "Advancing Agronomy Through Public-Private Collaboration".
Abstract: Federal, state, and county funding support for the overall Cooperative Extension effort continues to erode and certainly begs the question about the sustainability of our capacity to provide independent, research-based agronomic information to farmers in the U.S. Results from numerous grower surveys lead some to further question whether agronomic Extension will be necessary in the future given the ever-increasing reliance by growers upon the agronomic advice and recommendations provided by agri-businesses and private consultants. Beyond the question of fiscal sustainability for Extension, there is the equally if not more important philosophical question whether farmers' agronomic needs are best served by a healthy combination of public and private efforts in agronomic research and education.
Thoughts on Row Spacing and Plant Population
This presentation shares my thoughts and opinions about row spacing and plant population decisions for corn. The presentation was developed for the Illinois Ag Masters Conference, Dec 2010. A PDF summary of the presentation slides is also available on-line at http://www.kingcorn.org/talks/2011_RowSpacing&Pop.pdf.
R.L. (Bob) Nielsen
© 2011, Purdue Univ.
A Practical Guide to On-Farm Research
This presentation discusses the practical ins and outs of conducting your own on-farm research. A written summary of this presentation is also available on-line at http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/OnFarmResearch.pdf.
R.L. (Bob) Nielsen
© 2011, Purdue Univ.
Thoughts About Yield Monitor Calibration
This presentation shares my thoughts and opinions about the calibration of yield monitors. A brief summary about yield monitor calibration is also available on-line at http://www.kingcorn.org/news/timeless/YldMonCalibr.html.
R.L. (Bob) Nielsen
© 2009, Purdue Univ.
Thoughts About Hybrid Selection
This presentation shares my thoughts and opinions about the challenges and rewards of choosing hybrids wisely.
R.L. (Bob) Nielsen
© 2009, Purdue Univ.
Optical Reflectance Sensors & N Rate Decisons for Corn
This presentation highlights our research with optical reflectance sensors and their potential for helping fine-tune nitrogen rate decisions for corn.
R.L. (Bob) Nielsen and Jim Camberato
© 2008-2009, Purdue Univ.
Corn Planter Tuneups: Why Bother?
Online Powerpoint presentation (Req. IE v5.0 or newer)
Powerpoint® 2002 version (10.8 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (2.2 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (1.6 MB)
A presentation on the importance of uniform plant-to-plant spacing and emergence in corn, plus guidelines on improving planter performance..
© 2002-2004, Purdue University.
Stand Establishment Issues & Concerns for No-Till Corn
Powerpoint® 2000 version (19.1 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (3.5 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (1.7 MB)
This presentation discusses the issues and challenges of achieving successfull stand establishment in no-till corn. Suggested agronomic decisions for improving stand establishment are described.
© 2003, Purdue University.
Protecting Your Non-GMO Grain From Contamination
Powerpoint® 2000 version (4.0 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (2.1 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (1.8 MB)
Certain transgenic corn traits available to U.S. corn growers are not yet fully approved in the global marketplace, especially by the European Union. Consequently, certain U.S. grain buyers restrict their purchases to that from only approved hybrids and reject grain from non-approved hybrids or grain from fields of approved hybrids that is "contaminated" with transgenic grain. This so-called "contamination" can occur from mechanical mixing (commingling) of grain from different hybrids during planting, harvesting, or post-harvest operations. Pollen drift from transgenic hybrids can also cause "contamination" of neighboring fields due to cross-pollination. Consequently, growers who desire to maintain the non-transgenic purity of the grain in their production fields need to understand corn pollen biology, the dynamics of pollen drift, and possible methodologies for minimizing the risk of significant pollen "contamination" from adjacent fields of non-approved corn hybrids.
© 2003, Purdue University.
Key Crop Management Issues for Optimizing Grain Yield & Quality
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (1.8 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (1.6 MB)
Adobe™ Acrobat™ formatted summaries of a presentation made at the 5th Australian Maize Conference, held 18-20 Feb, 2003, in Toowoomba, QLD.
© 2002-03, Purdue University.
Maize: New Uses for an Old Crop
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (1.3 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (1.2 MB)
Adobe™ Acrobat™ formatted summaries of a presentation made at the FAR New Zealand Maize Conference, held 12-13 Feb, 2003, in Hamilton, New Zealand.
© 2002-03, Purdue University.
Maize GE – Benefits & Bugbears in the U.S.
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (1.7 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (1.4 MB)
Adobe™ Acrobat™ formatted summaries of a presentation made at the FAR New Zealand Maize Conference, held 12-13 Feb, 2003, in Hamilton, New Zealand.
© 2002-03, Purdue University.
Developments in Agronomy & Maize Management
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (1.5 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (0.9 MB)
Adobe™ Acrobat™ formatted summaries of a presentation made at the FAR New Zealand Maize Conference, held 12-13 Feb, 2003, in Hamilton, New Zealand.
© 2002-03, Purdue University.
Profitable Corn Management Strategies & Production Practices
Powerpoint® 2000 version (18.4 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (3.6 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (2.3 MB)
Timeless ideas and suggestions for improving agronomic efficiencies, and thus profitability, of corn production in Indiana.
© 2002-03, Purdue University.
Corn Growth & Development Related to Herbicide Use
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (1.5 MB)
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (460 KB)
Many post-emergence herbicide labels restrict the size or age of corn that can be treated. This Adobe™ Acrobat™ formatted version summarizes a presentation made at the 2003 Southwest Indiana Corn and Soybean Day held in Vanderburgh County, Indiana, on 10 January 2003 that offers insight into the uncertainties of determining corn growth stages relative to herbicide usage.
© 2003, Purdue University.
Life's Little Corn Problems: Tips on Crop Diagnostics
Adobe PDF version (Handout view) (4.5 MB)
This presentation shares my experiences in the art of crop diagnostics, including what questions to ask, how to look at a field, how to resist the know-it-alls, how to locate that missing puzzle piece, how to sneak away from the crowd, how to stick your foot in your mouth, and how to hem and haw with the best of them. I also share some experiences with photography, including digital imagery, from the perspective of capturing these precious moments in crop diagnostics. This Adobe™ Acrobat™ document summarizes a presentation given at the 2002 Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association Spring Workshop and revised for the 2002 Mid-Atlantic Crop Management School in Maryland.
© 2002-03, Purdue University.
Stalk Rots and Lodging in Corn
Adobe PDF version (Presentation view) (1.4 MB)
Stalk rots and accompanying root & stalk lodging in corn can be devastating in their effects on yield and harvest losses. This Adobe™ Acrobat™ document summarizes a presentation given at a grower conference in southern Indiana in November 2001.
© 2001, Purdue University.
Sparse Versus Dense Spatial Data
Online Powerpoint™ presentation
An online version of a talk presented at the 2000 Purdue Top Farmer Crop Workshop that emphasizes the importance of dense data sets for interpolating spatial variability for yield influencing factors.
© 2000, Purdue University.
Understanding Factors That Limit Yield in Corn
Online Powerpoint™ presentation
An on-line slide presentation of issues relevant to the potential for improving yields with Precision Farming technology.
© 1998, Purdue University.
Establecimiento Variable en el Maíz y Su Efecto en la Producción de Grano
(Spanish - español)
Online Powerpoint™ presentation
Adapted from a presentation given at the VI National Corn Congress, Pergamino ARGENTINA, 12 - 14 Nov 1997. The Congreso Nacional de Maíz was organized by the Asociación de Ingenieros Agrónomos de la Zona Norte de la Pcia. de Bs. As. (AIANBA).
© 1997, Purdue University.

My Background

Nebraska Herbie

Corn Guy