Shaun Casteel came by his interest in agriculture early and honestly growing up on his family’s Illinois farm. As a professor in the Agronomy Department and an Extension soybean and small grain specialist, Casteel’s research is complimented by his outreach efforts with the Extension program. He is considered an expert on soybeans in the Midwest. Casteel’s research and Extension work focus on optimizing production systems, parsing crop physiology, studying nutrient inputs and addressing agronomic challenges to soybeans and small grains. Casteel’s research extends beyond soybeans and grains, however, and includes field research in swine manure and seeding rates. Inherent to all of Casteel’s work is improving and expanding the tools and resources available to farmers.
As an expert on soybeans in the Midwest, Casteel is able to evaluate growing conditions and projected crop yields of soybeans and other small grains and detail how soil conditions and weather patterns impact crops throughout the region. He is also involved with Extension’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) program, pioneering the collection of row crop data through drone technology. In the past, media, agricultural publications and farmers have all drawn on Casteel’s experience to understand how certain weather patterns and events will impact soybean yields and what can be done to offset losses.