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Welcome to the web home for Field, Lab, Earth, the podcast from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. The podcast all about past and present advances in agronomic, crop, soil, and environmental sciences, our show features timely interviews with our authors about research in these fields.

Field, Lab, Earth releases on the third Friday of each month in addition to the occasional bonus episode. If you enjoy our show, please be sure to tell your friends and rate and review. If you have a topic, author, or paper you would like featured or have other feedback, please contact us on Twitter @fieldlabearth or use the email icon below. You can join our newsletter to receive notifications about new episodes and related resources here.

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May 19, 2023

“Global Dependence Upon Corn Belt Dent Maize Germplasm: Challenges and Opportunities” with Dr. Stephen Smith, Affiliate Professor at Iowa State University

Plant breeders are constantly trying to find the best crosses to increase the traits farmers and consumers want. However, continually crossing the same varieties can decrease the genetic gene pool over time, making plants susceptible to certain pests, diseases, and other stressors. To help understand the depth of the gene pool and to better understand how reliant we are on certain crop varieties, Dr. Stephen Smith and his team attempted to survey which maize varieties are bred and used the most. On this episode, we dive deep to discover what his team turned up.

Tune in to learn:

  • ·         What obstacles can exist for researchers trying to gather worldwide breeding data
  • ·         Why pre-breeding is a crucial complement to the newest tech
  • ·         Which countries keep the best maize breeding records
  • ·         How reliant we are on certain maize varieties

If you would like more information about this topic, this episode’s paper is available here:

This paper is always freely available.

Contact us at or on Twitter @FieldLabEarth if you have comments, questions, or suggestions for show topics, and if you want more content like this don’t forget to subscribe. If you’d like to see old episodes or sign up for our newsletter, you can do so here:

If you would like to reach out to Stephen, you can find him here:

If you would like to reach out to Yaswant Kumar Pankaj from our Student Spotlight, you can find him here:


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