The mission of the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Program is to maintain a safe, quality food supply and a healthy environment while supporting families and communities associated with the agricultural industry.

Southwest Purdue Agricultural Program​

​​The Southwest Purdue Agricultural Program is based in Vincennes, IN at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center and was established in 1990 to provide extension support for growers in the southern region of the state. The team is comprised of three individuals: Dan Egel, vegetable pathologist, Wenjing Guan, vegetable specialist, and Charles Mansfield, agronomy specialist. Vegetable production, specifically cantaloupe and watermelon, is the major focus of the SWPAP team. Combined, watermelons and cantaloupes are grown on nearly 10,000 acres in the state, with the majority of the acreage in southwest Indiana. Annually watermelon and cantaloupe are valued at nearly $50 million. The creation of the program continues to allow for research based extension information to be developed and delivered to vegetable and agronomic crop farmers in this region with similar environmental conditions and soil types. A recent addition to the program is the high tunnel project focused on developing practical information for this type of production system which is rapidly expanding in the state and the U.S. as a whole. Some recent projects are vegetable variety evaluation, fungicide trials for cucurbit and solanaceous vegetables, rootstock evaluation for vegetable grafting, fertility management of vegetables, variety disease resistance evaluation, and canola trials.

Brad Niemeier is ready to start bottling his Azzip sauce, thanks to assistance from Purdue Extension’s food science outreach program.
Annual seedless watermelon variety trial at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Center
Brad Niemeier is ready to start bottling his Azzip sauce, thanks to assistance from Purdue Extension’s food science outreach program.
Commercial cataloupe production in Southwest Indiana




ChuckCharles Mansfield 

Charles Mansfield is the Agronomy Extension Specialist for southwestern Indiana. His focus is on small grains, primarily wheat and wheat cropping systems. Chuck also manages Purdue’s wheat variety testing program with three locations in southwestern Indiana. This testing program is done in cooperation with Extension Educators and landowners of the respective counties that host the variety test plot. In addition, Chuck is a regular speaker at the southwestern Indiana Diagnostic Training Clinic held biennially at the Southwest Purdue Agriculture Center. His topics include wheat production and management, and soils. In his effort of general outreach Chuck aids growers, industry personnel, and extension educators with general agronomic information and troubleshooting on the major agronomic crops – corn, soybean, wheat, and forages.

Evaluation of Foliar Fungicides and Genetic Resistance to Mitigate Head Blight and Mycotoxin Levels in Winter Wheat
Head Blight is a major disease of winter wheat in the humid Midwest. It can greatly reduce grain yield and grain quality. Reduction in grain quality due to the presence of mycotoxin results in significant price discounts to growers at the point of sale. This study is to evaluate several fungicide application strategies along with genetic resistance to reduce the incidence and severity of head blight as well as lower the level of mycotoxin contamination in grain.

Evaluation of Previous Crop on Performance of Double-Crop Soybean
This study is to evaluate yield and plant health of double-crop soybean following winter canola as compared to winter wheat. Growers in southwestern Indiana typically plant double-crop soybean in June after wheat harvest. Canola is harvested at the same time as wheat affording growers the opportunity to plant double-crop soybean; however, the effect of winter canola on double-crop soybean production is unknown.

Winter Wheat Variety Testing
Soft, red winter wheat is an important crop in southwestern Indiana with approximately 25 % of Indiana’s wheat crop being grown in this area. Industry representatives support the variety testing program by entering varieties that are commercially available to southern Indiana growers. It is done in cooperation with the Agriculture and Natural Resource Extension Educators and landowners in the respective counties that host the test plot.

Dan EgelDa​n Egel


The goal of my extension program is the dissemination of up to date technical information via my own research, Purdue University campus based work or other established programs.  Information exchange takes the form of in-season twilight meetings, winter technical meetings, field visits to commercial fields, grower office visits to SW Purdue Ag Center, phone calls, e-mails and extension publications.  In season I conduct diagnostic work in conjunction with the Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratories in West Lafayette.  As with all extension programs sponsored by Purdue University, the programs I am involved in emphasize Integrated Pest Management (IPM).  An example of such a program is MELCAST, a weather-based disease-forecasting program (administered with Rick Latin) for the management of foliar diseases of muskmelon and watermelon


The focus of my research involves the management of vegetable diseases important in Indiana.  Fungicide trials on diseases such as gummy stem blight of watermelon, Alternaria leaf blight of muskmelon, downy mildew of pumpkin and early blight of tomato aid in the management of these diseases.  Other research concerns diseases that are not fully understood.  An example would be mature watermelon vine decline which has caused huge losses among Indiana growers.  I have also conducted research that has elucidated the pathogen race situation of Fusarium wilt of watermelon in Indiana


B.S., Botany, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
M.S., Forestry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Ph.D, Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Wenjing Guan

Dr. Wenjing Guan's research and extension programs focus on developing and delivering sustainable vegetable and melon production practice that can increase efficiency and profitability of specialty crop production in Indiana. Her research projects include:


  • ​Watermelon and cantaloupe variety evaluation
  • Vegetable​ fertility management and fertilizer stimulant product evaluation
  • Vegetable grafting
  • Season extension with high tunnels



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