First Purdue Crops Podcast Is Live; Up Next They’ll Talk COVID-19 And Ag

Purdue Extension and Hoosier Ag Today have teamed up for a new podcast to provide timely, relevant and credible agronomic insights to listeners. Purdue Crop Chat features extension corn and soybean specialists Dr. Bob Nielsen and Dr. Shaun Casteel from Purdue. The first episode is available now, and Casteel explains how the recent past is playing a role in the new, upcoming planting season.

Shawn Casteel and Bob Nielsen on a podcast.

“I have to look in the rearview mirror because I go back to 2019, but I also go back to 2018,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that we were trying to get accomplished in the harvest of 2018 that didn’t and then came over into spring of ’19 and it didn’t get accomplished. So, a lot of these fields have issues of compactions from two years ago.”

Nielsen added tight financial conditions are contributing to the various predicament’s farmers face this year.

“We’re trying to recover from last year’s late planting and all the headaches that brought, but a lot of these folks are also in a position where cash flow is extremely tight and so yes, we’re looking for ways to increase yields cheaply, but we’re also in many cases looking for ways to reduce costs,” Nielsen says.

The podcast includes discussion about the importance of selecting the right hybrids and varieties, and there is plenty of back and forth between the two.

“You mention P and K and you’re exactly right,” Nielsen said. “If their P and K soil test levels, assuming they have recent soil tests…”

But Casteel interrupts, “What’s recent Bob?”

“I’d say 2, 3, maybe 4 years,” Nielsen says. Casteel thinks 4 might be pushing it. Nielsen goes on to say “But, if their P and K soil test levels are well within the adequate levels, we know from experience, we know from data, that applications of P and K at that point do not increase yield, they simply maintain levels.”

The first Purdue Crop Chat was recorded at the beginning of this month, before Coronavirus and COVID-19 had truly swept the country and financial, oil and ag markets. This current situation brings a whole new set of concerns right to the farm, including the availability of seed, fertilizer, and pesticides, and also workers, drivers and services and applicators. The age of many farmers is in the at-risk zone for COVID-19, yet another concern.

Episode two is in production now so that both Purdue Extension specialists can offer insights. HAT will have that available at this week.

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