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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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Jan 18, 2019

“Hand Planter for the Developing World: Factor Testing and Refinement” with Dr. Bill Raun

Across Central America, South America, and Africa, there are thousands of acres of land with slopes and landscapes that will never be suitable for mechanized agriculture. For hundreds of years, they have been planted by hand, a practice that continues today.

The problem is, as technology in chemical seed treatments has advanced, technology in hand-planting techniques has not, resulting in thousands of farmers’ exposure to seed-friendly chemicals that can lead to sickness and even birth defects in humans.

After splitting much of his childhood and early career between North, South, and Central America and seeing the results of this exposure, Dr. Bill Raun decided it was time to do something about it. Working with engineering students and professors at Oklahoma State University, he has spent more than 20 years developing a new hand planter that will work with existing hand-planting techniques to increase yields and get good, chemically treated seed out of farmers’ hands.

Listen now to learn:

  • What are some of the problems Central American farmers face when using traditional hand-planting techniques?
  • How can use of the hand-planter and modified hand-planting techniques double yields for developing world farmers?
  • Why is anthropology so key in designing new tools, and how does human interaction affect design?

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

This paper is always freely available.

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CEU Quiz: 

Hand Planter Site: Nitrogen Use Efficiency Site:

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