Agronomy Geeks, The Western Canadian Edition — Ep. 1: It all Starts with Soil

Red River Soil in Profile, Lyndsey Smith, 2013
Red River Soil in Profile, Lyndsey Smith, 2013

If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you’ll likely catch on to two things: One, I really, really like coffee, and, two, I’m a total agronomy nut. In university, I originally intended to pursue some sort of livestock-based arc of study. I took one crop production class and was hooked. Plants fascinate me but even beyond that, I am fascinated by the intricacy of crop production — genetic potential, soil, micro-organisms, the weather, pests and more all converge in a kaleidoscope of possibilities resulting in a final yield and grade.

While there’s much we understand about crop production, there are still heaps of mysteries tucked snug deep in the soil. And so, when it came time to launch a new feature on RealAgriculture.com, an agronomy podcast, it was easy to pick my subject matter: soil. In this very first edition of the Agronomy Geeks podcast, I asked Jason Casselman, an agronomist from Alberta’s Peace country about the importance of soil testing, how plants seem to be able to “make” yield in some years, plus how farmers can gauge the health of their soil. That, and so much more, I promise.

And just what is this podcast business all about? Every week, we’ll roll out a new Agronomy Geeks episode, alternating between east and west versions. These longer-format, audio-only features can be listened to by simply pressing play below, but, in the spirit of entertaining you during long trucking line ups and hours in the combine or seeder, these podcasts can be downloaded on to your device so you can listen to them without any need for a decent signal. The Agronomy Geeks podcasts will also be available on iTunes.

Oh, and a little about the name…somewhere along the line, I started using the term “geek” not in the typical sense, but as a means of expressing a deep interest and love of a topic (akin to our use of the term AgNerd). I use the term “geek out” to mean really immersing myself fully in the discussion, research, learning and re-learning of a subject. Let’s shake the negative connotations of it and turn it into a positive — it’s totally OK to be an Agronomy Geek. Join me, won’t you?

The success of some of these types of features hinges on the questions and comments of you, our audience. Tweet me or email me ([email protected]) with your ideas for topics to cover or guests you’d like to see on the show. I’ll do my best to oblige. Until then, I hope you enjoy this first Agronomy Geeks podcast.

The Agronomy Geeks podcast is brought to you by Cargill. Visit AskTheExpertNetwork.Ca to learn more.

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