In this episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Don Huber, a leading plant pathologist and Professor Emeritus at Purdue University. We discuss how to manage soil-borne diseases by managing crop rotations, and the management needed to grow 500 hundred bushels corn. Don shared intriguing observations on how soil-borne disease pathogen populations remain present in the soil constantly and are actually ‘beneficial’ saprophytic fungi until the right environment is present. Root diseases are a result of the soil environment, not a result of the presence or absence of the organism.
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Episode 4 - Dun Huber - Highlights
2:40 - What are Don’s most memorable moments leading him to where he is?
3:10 - What has puzzled Don in his research work?
4:10 - What is something that has surprised Don?
6:30 - Challenge of manganese availability. What is contributing to that?
11:10 - Pathogens dependant on manganese oxidation. Are they directly dependent, or are they producing a manganese-deficient plant?
13:50 - How do populations change when you have a crop infection?
20:20 - What are the tools the growers have available to manage soil ecology most effectively and to develop a disease suppressant soil profile.
28:30 - Is it also possible to use these tools to manage and suppress soil-borne pathogens?
31:20 - What are some useful crops or cover crops that have a strong disease suppressive effect?
36:50 - What are the key characteristics shared by disease suppressing crops?
39:10 - Can fall tillage application create a rebalancing effect of both reducing organisms as well as oxidizing organisms?.
41:20 - What are the impacts of nitrogen on developing disease suppressive soils?
44:30 - What is the impact of ammonium on an ecosystem with reduced nitrogen
46:30: What is the impact of carbon-nitrogen ratio on disease suppressive soils as well as yield?
48:30 - Quality/Quantity of photosynthesis - How can we increase quantity of photosynthesis and quantity of root exudates in soil profile.
54:30 - We are not tapping into efficiency of plants by limiting carbon dioxide
55:10 - Increase in photosynthesis producing increased biomass
55:30 - What is the potential for plants to increase their volume of photosynthesis?
1:00:30 - What kind of yields did Don achieve during his yield trials? What plant populations were growers using?
1:07:10 - What happened from then, to today when growers are struggling to grow 250 bushel? Why were these not adopted on a broader scale?
1:11:30 - What is something Don believes to be true about modern agriculture that others do not believe to be true?
1:14:00 - What does Don see as the biggest opportunity in agriculture today?
1:18:10 - What are some books or resources Don would recommend?
1:22:30 - What is a question Don wishes John had asked him?
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