sealPurdue Ag Briefs

May 1996

Drydown reduces corn yield, Purdue study finds

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Complete information about this study can be found on the World Wide Web at

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Some farmers and seed industry representatives say that corn loses valuable grain weight, or yield, if left to dry down in the field after it matures -- a concept that has been scoffed at by many experts.

Based on what Purdue corn specialist Bob Nielsen found out in a four-year study, the farmers and seed reps are probably right.

Nielsen and three graduate research assistants tested three hybrids (Pioneer brands 3527, 3394 and 3245). In three of the four years, all three hybrids lost kernel dry weight during in-field drydown following maturity.

The study's exceptional year was 1993, when no significant changes in kernel dry weight were observed for any of the three hybrids.

According to Nielsen, the bottom line is that in-field drydown could mean a loss on a farmer's bottom line.

"Our data suggest that the potential rate of yield loss averages 1 percent per point decrease in grain moisture content; so, if mature grain were allowed to dry down 10 percentage points -- from 28 percent to 18 percent grain moisture content -- the potential yield loss would be 10 percent," he says.

By doing some extra computations, Nielsen has extrapolated from this data that the optimum grain-moisture content for harvest is near 25 percent -- which agrees with the long-held notion about what constitutes optimum harvest moisture levels.

"Harvesting grain at moistures much greater than 25 percent often damages kernels, while harvesting at lower moistures can often cause greater mechanical harvest losses such as ear droppage and kernel shattering," he says.

More information about corn production can be found on the World Wide Web at

CONTACT: Nielsen, (765) 494-4802; Internet,

Rebar named dean of veterinary school

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A black-and-white photo of Alan Rebar is available from Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2096.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Dr. Alan H. Rebar will be the next dean of Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue President Steven C. Beering has announced.

The appointment is effective July 1.

Rebar has been head of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology since July 1995 and has been associate dean for research -- both positions in Purdue's veterinary school -- since 1989.

Rebar succeeds Dr. Hugh B. Lewis, dean since 1986. Lewis will relinquish the deanship on June 30 but will remain on the Purdue veterinary faculty.

"Dr. Al Rebar is an outstanding scholar, a respected researcher and a proven administrator," said Robert L. Ringel, Purdue executive vice president for academic affairs. "He will provide dynamic leadership to take Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine into the 21st century."

Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine is one of 27 in the United States and the only one in Indiana. A total of 248 students are enrolled in the professional program, which awards the doctor of veterinary medicine degree. The school is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association and is a member of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

A native of Stillwater, Okla., Rebar grew up in Elkhart. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1976 as assistant professor of clinical pathology. Rebar received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1973 and a doctor of philosophy degree in 1975, both from Purdue.

Among the honors he has received are the American Animal Hospital Association's Award of Merit and its Gaines Cycle Fido Award, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine. He also received the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for Best Teacher in Veterinary Medicine at Purdue.

CONTACT: Rebar, (765) 494-7543, or after 7/1, (765) 494-7608; rebara@vet.purdue

Donors can provide for life of pet through Purdue program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Owners worried about what will happen to their pet after they die now can have peace of mind, thanks to a program of the same name in Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine.

The owner arranges for an estate gift to be made to the school after the owner's death. Through its Peace of Mind program, the school will place the animal in another suitable home and provide medical care for the life of the pet at no cost to the new owner.

Estate gifts will be placed in an endowment, and the interest generated will go to the School of Veterinary Medicine to support educational programs and studies related to human-animal interaction.

The school is flexible on the type and number of animals it will accept and will negotiate the amount of money needed for each pet on a case-by-case basis, said Dr. Hugh B. Lewis, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Typically, the estate gift has averaged about $25,000 per pet, he said.

"A recent survey showed that around 90 percent of people with pets view their animals as members of the family," Lewis said. "So owners are very concerned about what will happen to this 'family member' if it outlives them. Peace of Mind is a way for owners to provide for the future care of their pet and also to support the School of Veterinary Medicine."

CONTACTS: Lewis, (765) 494-7608; Internet,

Kevin Doerr, School of Veterinary Medicine development director, (765) 494-8216; Internet,

Purdue students make mark on federal farm law

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- As farmers across the country begin signing up for programs under the new federal farm law, two new Purdue University graduates will have the satisfaction of knowing they contributed to its passage.

David E. Hardin, Danville, Ind., and Chad G. Frahm, Rockford, Ohio, spent the summer before their senior years working as unpaid staff members of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.

Hardin, an animal science major, heard in the fall of 1994 about a new program being organized by Mark Russell, professor of animal science. Frahm, an agricultural economics major, was familiar with the ag school's various internship and exchange programs.

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was able to get jobs for Hardin and Frahm in the Senate during the summer of 1995.

Unpaid college interns on Capitol Hill generally have little responsibility, Frahm says. "We were the same as other interns when we started. We were doing grunt work for a couple days, but it didn't take long for the senior staff members to recognize that our Purdue experiences gave us an understanding of ag issues that a lot of interns didn't have."

Hardin echoes that observation: "We weren't the standard political science interns. We quickly got more responsibility -- researching and writing lay descriptions to go with the legislation."

Hardin and Frahm helped write initial report drafts and historical reports and participated in all areas of committee work. "Watching the process was amazing," Frahm says. "The part that surprised me was how quickly committee members found out information. I've been reading the Wall Street Journal for years and have been impressed the way that paper gets stories first. But last summer, I was finding out things on the Hill three or four days before I would see them in the Journal."

The experience also changed attitudes for Hardin and Frahm. "I was pretty cynical about politics when I got to Washington," Hardin says. "But after a while you start to understand why confrontations happen."

Frahm also started the summer cynical about Congress and its members. "I thought a lot of congressmen were just looking out for themselves," Frahm says. "But that's not the case. Most of the people do what they think will help the country and the people. Most are not working for selfish reasons."

Both young men say they might like to return to Washington -- some day. Right now, they are going to work in the private sector. Frahm has accepted a position with Consolidated Grain and Barge, a Japanese-owned company based in New Orleans. Hardin is weighing job offers from several firms.

"I'm not interested in going back to Washington right away," Hardin says. "But I am interested in the policy areas of agriculture, and Washington is where a lot of policy is being established."

Frahm says he is glad he'll get some on-the-job experience with the real issues of agriculture after graduation. "But living in D.C. was great experience," he says. "I will be back some day."

CONTACTS: Hardin, (765) 743-5500, ext. 306

Frahm, (765) 743-9558

Purdue dean named president of ag science consortium

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Victor L. Lechtenberg, dean of agriculture at Purdue University, has been named president of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), an organization of 30 scientific societies and associations relating to agriculture. He will serve a one-year term.

CAST offers legislators, government regulators and journalists scientifically based information on issues involving agriculture, food and fiber production, and the environment. The organization was established in 1972 at the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences.

"It's important for the policymakers to have research-based information on food and environmental issues in order that they can make informed decisions," Lechtenberg said. "My goal in my year of service as president of CAST is to further the dissemination of this scientifically based information."

Lechtenberg has been dean of agriculture at Purdue since 1994. He has been a professor in the Purdue School of Agriculture since 1971.

CONTACT: Lechtenberg, (765) 494-8391;

Compiled by Steve Tally, (765) 494-9809;
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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