Purdue Extension College of Agriculture Agronomy the Chat 'n Chew Cafe Purdue Corn Guy
Photo courtesy of Tom Campbell, Purdue Univ.

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen

Professor Emeritus of Agronomy

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA


765.427.2478 (mobile)


Corny News Compendium

YouTube channel

Research Interests

Corn response to plant populations

Corn response to nitrogen fertilizer rates

Enhancing crop management decisions using UAV imagery

Corn response to sulfur fertilizer

Corn response to starter fertilizer

Corn response to biological in-furrow soil amendments

Awards and Recognition

2023 - Professor Emeritus of Agronomy - Purdue University

2020 - Honorary Master Farmer - Indiana Prairie Farmer Magazine and Purdue College of Agriculture

2019 - Outstanding Service to American & World Agriculture Award - National Assoc. of County Ag. Agents

2018 - Distinguished Service Award - Indiana Crop Improvement Assoc.

2016 - Frederick L. Hovde Award of Excellence - Indiana Farm Bureau

2015 - Beyond the Fence Ag Education Outreach Award - Beck's Hybrids / Indiana Corn Marketing Council / Indiana Soybean Alliance

2010 - Certificate of Distinction - Purdue Ag. Alumni Assoc.

2009 - Agronomic Extension Education Award - American Soc. Agronomy

2002 - Crops & Soils Award - Indiana Crop Improvement Assoc.

1999 - Eric G. Sharvelle Distinguished Extension Specialist Award - Purdue University Extension

1995 - Werner L. Nelson Award for Diagnosis of Yield-Limiting Factors - American Soc. Agronomy

1989 - USDA Unit Award for Superior Service

My Responsibilities at Purdue University

Sep 1982 - Current

I was raised on a farm in eastern Nebraska, obtained a B.S. degree at the Univ. of Nebraska and graduate degrees at the Univ. of Minnesota. I joined the Agronomy faculty at Purdue in 1982 with statewide responsibilities for applied field research, graduate student training, and Extension programming with an emphasis on corn management practices. After 40 years of having the privilege to serve Indiana agriculture as Purdue's "Corn Guy", I retired from Purdue on 31 December 2022.

My Extension programming focused on optimizing yield, profitability, and stewardship of corn production for growers in Indiana and throughout the eastern Corn Belt. Over those 40 years, I shared my experience and knowledge of corn with more than 720,000 farmers and their advisors at over 2,000 Extension programs in Indiana and elsewhere in the U.S. I also had the opportunity to travel internationally, with invited participation in farmer conferences in Canada, Hungary, Argentina, New Zealand, Russia, Italy, South Africa and Mexico. The last 15+ years of my field scale research focused on identifying the optimal management of nitrogen fertilizer, seeding rates, starter fertilizer, sulfur fertilizer, biological in-furrow amendments, and the use of small UAVs for crop scouting and field research.

Since the mid-1990's, I made extensive use of the Web as an Extension communication medium. My primary online presence was the KingCorn Web site that included the popular Chat 'n Chew Cafe page that provided a "1-stop shop" for links to timely agronomic newsletters from landgrant universities throughout the Midwest, plus links to educational events and useful crop management references. In its heday, the "KingCorn" Web site was attracting between 300,000 and 400,000 views each year. Those Web sites have since been decommissioned in deference to "The Kernel" developed by my successor, Dr. Dan Quinn in 2021. For the immediate future, you can still access many of my Corny News articles at my "Corny News Compendium" Web page or indirectly from Dan's Web site.

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Extension Programs in Corn Management

Extension publications

After the Internet and the World Wide Web became widely available to the general public in the mid-1990's, I focused much of my Extension communications in the form of online newsletter articles under the banner of the "Corny News Network (CNN)". Most of those are available in my Corny News Compendium.

In March 2020, Shaun Casteel (Ext. Soybean Specialist) and I initiated the Purdue Crop Chat podcast series, in collaboration with Hoosier Ag Today. In the summer of 2021, my successor Dan Quinn took my place on the Podcast.

YouTube videos of several of my presentations are available for your perusal at my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@purduecornguy.

More formal Extension publications I authored or co-authored are listed below.