Showing our progress
By Victor L. Lechtenberg, Dean of Agriculture
| One of the highlights of Purdue exhibit at the Sept. 25-27 Farm Progress Show in Tippecanoe County is the BoilerMazer, a five-acre corn maze in the shape of the Purdue mascot, the BoilerMaker Special. To create the maze, a committee of Purdue Agriculture faculty and staff began work in the winter, first planning the design. In the spring, corn was planted in horizontal, vertical and diagonal rows in the field. When the corn was about knee-high, a global positioning system (GPS) version of the design was used to lay out the maze. GPS was used again by the mower to cut out the maze. (graphic by Sharon Katz)
Every three years, Indiana is honored to host the Farm Progress Show, one of the nation's top farm shows, which annually rotates among the Hoosier State and our neighbors to the west--Illinois and Iowa.
Purdue Agriculture has always maintained a large presence at the show, even more so this year when the show is in our own backyard, on a 2,500-acre site south of Lafayette.
The three-day event gives us the opportunity to showcase the research, education and outreach that occur at Purdue Agriculture 365 days a year, whether it is something as traditional as hatching chicks or as high-tech as using microchip IDs in animals. Some of the many displays that we have this year address issues like food animals and biosecurity; weather-related safety and disasters; land-use planning and how it affects water resources and wildlife; distance education; and risk management on the farm.
The centerpiece of our display is the BoilerMazer (shown above), a five-acre corn maze in the shape of the Purdue BoilerMaker Special. On the surface, it's an entertaining and fun exhibit. Visitors can explore its miles of trails and even use the global positioning system (GPS) satellite receivers, handheld computers and navigation software programs that were used for the design and construction of the maze. But in a broader perspective, the maze is an example of site-specific farm management with GPS-based technologies used to tailor soil and crop management to match conditions at every location in a field.
We invite you to be a part of Purdue Agriculture at the Farm Progress Show. But if you can't be among the approximately 300,000 visitors to the show, we have one more display of technology for youa virtual visit to Purdue Agriculture and the Farm Progress Show. Check it out and enjoy the show!
Victor L. Lechtenberg
Dean of Agriculture