University of Wisconsin Extension turfgrass specialist Doug Souldat at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides expert advice on how to deal with drought affected lawns, including tips on how to choose the best type of grass and how to care for the remaining living portion of your turf.
Oregon State University agriculture researcher discusses “Zebra Chip” disease and its impact on the region’s potatoes as more cases of the disease have been found in the Northwest region. Scientists say warmer summer temperatures, which shorten the insects’ life cycle and increase reproduction rates, are partly to blame.
Colleges of agriculture across the U.S. such as Penn State, Iowa State University, University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, and University of California-Berkeley are experiencing record high enrollment rates as a thriving agricultural sector creates a growing demand for skilled laborers in the industry. Agriculture related majors offer elevated job-placement rates and appeal to students interested in pursuing lucrative and rewarding careers in growing fields such as animal sciences and human nutrition post-graduation.
The demand for turfgrass bred by the University of Georgia College of Agriculture continues to soar as Pike Creek Turf adds Cuba to its growing list of international destinations. Clint Waltz, turfgrass specialist at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, leads scientist Luis Hernandez from the University of Matanzas, Cuba, on a turfgrass tour through Georgia as the two institutions work together to determine which types of UGA international-licensed grasses are best suited to cover an anticipated 15-20 new golf-courses on Cuban soil.
The University of Kentucky Extension partners up with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture to host the Kentucky Grazing School, a program designed to educate new and experienced farmers alike on the most cost-effective ways to feed their animals.
GPS technology and low-cost sensors developed by the University of Georgia in partnership with the Nature Conservancy and Flint River Conservation Project helps farmers in Southwest Georgia save water and their crops during the worst drought since the 1950s. These innovations are considered to be the biggest advance on irrigation systems this country has seen in decades. Learn more about University of Georgia’s cutting-edge innovations in irrigation systems here.
The University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and the Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems (WARWS) team up to market the university’s patented technology capable of removing arsenic from drinking water around the world. The process, invented by University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management professor KJ Reddy, uses cupric oxide nanoparticles as an oxidizer to clean water from the highly toxic semi-metal element, and is one researchers hope to transfer into other products to diversify Wyoming’s economy.
Scott Brown, research assistant professor in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), explains the devastating effects on this year’s drought on the livestock industry and why he thinks consumers can expect an eight percent rise in meat, dairy and poultry prices in 2013.
William Danforth, Chancellor Emiritus of Washington University in St. Louis and Board member of Supporters of Agricultural Research (SOAR), explains how insufficient public funding for agriculture research grant programs is depriving farmers and consumers of the innovations direly needed to respond to our country’s growing agriculture and food security concerns.
Agriculture and Natural Resource agent Gary Cross reminds us of the role cooperative extension services have played in promoting the use of innovative technologies among local farmers and the transformative effects their efforts have had on our nation’s productivity and profitability levels.
Emily G. Adams, extension educator for agriculture and natural resources at the Ohio State University Extension in Coshocton County, describes the Central Ohio Local Foods Week (August 11-19) and its mission to help local farmers move their products into mainstream retail outlets and onto consumers’ tables efficiently, safely and cost-effectively.
Rosetta Green Ltd. and Iowa State University Research Foundation sign a licensing agreement for a microRNA gene that may help scientists develop Nematode resistant plants. Nematodes are a dangerous strand of parasitic worms that feed off plants at their root, leaving the latter severely weakened and unable to produce high returns. The discovery of the microRNA gene, lead by Iowa State University, is said to be a crucial scientific breakthrough that may help the United States save an estimated $1.5 billion in nematode related losses.
Watch John Jemison, Soil and Water Quality specialist from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, as he counts the ways one can obtain local foods, become more involved in local food production and help support the local economy in the process.
On August 21, September 4 and September 11, Purdue Extension will present “Funding Opportunities for Indiana Agriculture,” a free webinar series destined to help farmers and other agriculture professionals identify grants, loans and other sources for funding. The webinar will include sessions for successful grant writing, information on specific resources like the Rural Energy for America Program, and presentations from Purdue Extension educator, Roy Ballard, among others.
As severe droughts gain regularity across the U.S., farmers are becoming increasingly interested in the technological innovations being led by researchers at various land-grant colleges. New strains of genetically-modified corn—which are more resistant to severe weather conditions—are an attractive choice for farmers living in regions such as Texas, where drought-related losses amounted to a whopping $8 billion in 2011. However, as beneficial as biotechnology appears to be, some experts like South Dakota State University agronomist Larry Wagner argue that relying on genetics alone is simply not sufficient.
Tim Woods, agricultural economics extension professor at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and principal investigator on the “2012 Kentucky Produce Planting and Marketing Intensions Grower Survey and Outlook,” shares his findings on the nature of Kentucky’s expanding produce industry, whose sales volume is expected to exceed a record-breaking $33 million in 2012. Learn more about Kentucky’s growing produce sector here.
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy & Forestry, and Carl T. Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, hosted the “Barnyard Discussion” during Penn State University’s Ag Process Days. The event called attention to the vital role Pennsylvania farm families play in contributing to the prosperity of the state’s economy, and highlighted the importance of land-grant universities in the field of research and education programs.
Championed by Justin Morrill of Vermont, the Morrill Act of 1862 established America’s land-grant university system, of which the University of Connecticut is one of the oldest and finest members. Over the course of its 131-year history, UConn’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has become a leader in agriculture education, research, and outreach while promoting and protecting human and animal health. With its diverse curriculum in the areas of environmental sustainability, turf grass management, economics and more, UConn’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources makes a sound investment for any student looking to make an impact in the state’s economy and our nation’s future.
U.S. Department of Agriculture research entomologist Stuart Reitz partners with University of Florida Extension specialist Steve Olson and University of Georgia entomologist Rajagopalbabu Srinivasan at the UGA-Tifton campus to investigate sustainable and noninsecticide based management methods that could help put an end to the tomato spotted wilted-virus—one of the most devastating insect-transmitted diseases affecting many farming systems across Southeastern states.
As temperatures continue to soar across the United States, Texas A&M University’s lead scientist Ron Gill and others at the University of Nebraska’s Daugherty Water for Food Institute intensify their efforts to find drought-tolerant crop and livestock varieties that could save farmers another year of devastatingly low yields.
Research conducted by University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Terry Klopfenstein provides farmers and livestock owners with an alternative grazing technique from which irrigated and no-till fields may benefit during extreme periods of drought. By using corn and other types of crop residue proven to conserve moisture and reduce soil erosion, American agriculturalists may soon be able to look forward to the higher forage and yields direly needed to secure our nation’s future economic success.
University of Maryland Extension (UME) educator and adjunct professor at the Institute of Applied Agriculture Dave Myers discusses the positive effects the ongoing drought is having on fruit in the region.
University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Andrew Hanson leads major developments in database and computer models that could help scientists understand how and where vitamin B production takes place in various plant species. Such types of advancements could help increase the amount of nutrients found in the food millions of Americans consume each year and thereby reduce common health problems associated to vitamin B deficiency in diet.
University of Wisconsin-Extension plant pathologist at UW-Madison Amanda Gevens offers tips on how to detect, prevent and manage cases of late blight to tomato and potato plant farmers living in Wisconsin’s Barron, Adams, Portage, Oneida and Waushara Counties.
The National Science Foundation awards $335,930 to West Virginia University’s “Technology, Energy, Economy and Environment Chain: Integrated Modeling for Technology Transition in Energy Rich Regions” project—an initiative WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design researchers Hodjat Wesley Burnett and Jerald J. Fletcher as well as Regional Research Institute Director Randall Jackson believe will give analysts and decision-makers wide ranging information that will guide sensible sustainable clean energy decisions across the United States and the world at large.
The University of Illinois Extension launches the Illinois Drought Resources website—a source for all news related to the impact of the state’s dry conditions on crops, livestock, and home gardens, financial considerations, and more.
As a growing number of southeastern Georgian dairy farmers continue to switch from conventional methods of production to a more pasture-based system, researchers at the University of Georgia along with UGA Forage Extension specialist Dannis Hancock are utilizing SARE grants to provide transitioning ranchers with the necessary educational resources to develop and maximize their operations.
With another record breaking year of net farm income predicted by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2012, investing in ag research and education has never appeared to be as fundamental to building our nation’s strengths.
As rising temperatures affect agricultural production across the globe, researchers from the University of Florida, Oregon State University and other leading institutions have come together through the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) to study how major economic crops are susceptible to changes in climate and assist policy-makers in understanding how shifts in farming system practices could help improve our world’s food security for years to come.
Working with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Julia Gaskin, sustainable agriculture coordinator for the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, advises readers across the nation to plant “cover crops,” which nourish the soil, attract good insects, and help prepare for a better harvest and enhanced crop production next spring.
Dr. Gregory Reinhart at Texas A&M University discusses the delivery of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technique (NMR), and the revolutionizing capabilities such an instrument could bring to the university in the area of structural biology.
University of Kentucky agricultural meteorologist Tom Priddy and grain crops specialist Chad Lee discuss the damaging results Tropical Storm Isaac may have on the state’s vulnerable agricultural sector, and provide tips to local producers and ranchers on how to protect their invaluable crops and livestock.
University of Wisconsin and UW-Extension professors, Amanda Gevens and Jiming Jiang, combine forces with U.S. Department of Agriculture geneticist, Dennis Halter, to find ways to control late blight, a plant disease threatening to destroy entire potato fields across the Mid-Western state. Through prevention strategies and innovative genetic engineering, experts hope to provide agriculturalists with the necessary disease management techniques capable of stabilizing the production of potato and other important food crops nationwide.
University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources tackles the national issue of high demand for beef through its “Quality Beef by the Numbers (QB)” program, which helps large or small herd producers breed the best cattle for premium beef. As MU scientists continue to receive funding, they are working towards providing guides for breeding, nutrition, and management through QB to assist beef producers everywhere with adding value to their herds and making a larger profit from sales.
Doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Kirk Grubbs studies the microbial communities present in healthy honeybee hives in hopes of helping scientists obtain a better understanding of honeybee pathology and potentially find a cure for colony collapse disorder and other diseases threatening the honeybee’s vital role in the U.S. agricultural ecosystem.
Researchers at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CANFR) are developing a smartphone app called ThermalAid, which can help livestock producers to more easily monitor the health of their livestock in correspondence with weather conditions. This important innovation may help the industry prevent annual multi-million dollar losses of livestock that are currently caused by heat-related animal illnesses nation-wide.
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service hosted a leadership conference in order to discuss solutions for current beef industry issues with specialists and producers Les Anderson, Charles Miller, and SaraVard Von Gruenigen, among others, statewide. With over 100 participants, they were able to accomplish setting reasonable goals for the future of beef production in Kentucky and inspire other beef producers across the nation.
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduate enrollment has reached record numbers. The steady increase reflects well on the college’s quality programming, but also its success in recruiting students to fill the demand for graduates in agricultural and life sciences careers. “We’re thrilled to set this historic record, but more importantly we are fulfilling our mission to provide an educated work force that will fuel economic development in Iowa and the nation,” said David Acker, associate dean at Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The most impressive aspect of the enrollment demand is Iowa’s placement rate for graduating seniors was 97.6 percent as of 2011 and within six month of graduation 70 percent of graduates had careers in Iowa, in turn helping to fuel the state’s economy.
Jim Quinn, regional horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension, answers questions and diagnoses problems dealing with tomato and pepper growing for more than 400 Missourians at the annual Tomato Festival.
University of Maine Extension hosts a Master Garden Volunteer Program where participants will receive the latest research information from Extension specialists and industry experts in order to learn how to conduct sustainable horticulture projects throughout Maine. In order to complete the program, the volunteers must spend at least 40 hours on community projects to help give back to local families.
Auburn University College of Agriculture, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, and Alabama Cooperative Extension host the free AG Discovery Adventure Event September 29th. The event provides local citizens with interactive games designed to explain the importance for bioenergy and sustainability in agriculture in unique and fun ways.
University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources recently completed a study to determine nutrient levels in microgreens, immature versions of vegetables and herbs. The researchers found that the microgreens contained four to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts, and were full of rich antioxidants. As of now production is low and cost are high for microgreens, they are not readily available at grocery stores, researchers are looking for ways to increase production and lower costs. More research also needs to be done on their mature counterparts and on the development of other possible microgreens.
Virginia Ishler, nutrient management specialist and dairy complex manager in animal science, discusses the utility of the DairyCents app, a free phone app developed by Penn State researchers that will help farmers track income and feed costs. The app may also be able to assist farmers with finding better prices for feed, which would help stabilize beef costs across the US.
Missouri Department of Agriculture seeks to help modern farmers that are looking for new ways to improve their bottom line while conserving the land. Missouri Department of Agriculture has several programs and services to help farmer’s efforts spanning from domestic to international markets. The AgriMissouri Program to help develop niche markets for small farmers and create opportunities to promote and add value to their products. Financial programs provide tax credits or grants for projects that add value to raw agricultural products and improve the economy of rural Missouri communities. Marketing Cooperatives seek to help small farmers increase economic strength and bargaining power by providing information on how to form cooperatives alliances while answering questions about complex information and state regulations. MDA also has recommendations for specialty crops and alternatives to traditional crops that will benefit farmers with less land and capital
Drought is affecting Nebraska’s grass crop and as a result has driven up feed costs for cattle producers. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Extension have collaborated their research to help farmers receive resources available to them through the university to help lessen the effects of drought on the industry. In the past the university helped Nebraska become the nation’s leader in cattle slaughter, as of January Nebraska is ranked number two.
Doug Masser, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences graduate and future teacher, advocates for the importance of agricultural education through explaining the unique opportunities he received as a student.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialists Matthew Chappell, Gary Knox, and Robert Stamps discuss alternative methods for weed control, providing a more sustainable and less costly way to maintain nurseries across the US.
Of the 22 professionals selected for the prestigious Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture program, supported by University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, a heavy number of UGA Cooperative members were represented. These chosen leaders will play an integral role in continuing growth for Georgia’s agricultural and forestry industries, which are the largest economic drivers in Georgia.
This coming spring semester, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences will have an on-site dairy herd open for new research and teaching. Doug Sabatke, CALS assistant dean for facilities, mentions how this remodel of this Dairy Cattle Research and Instruction Center will demonstrate the importance of dairy research through hands-on learning and recruitment.
University of Kentucky Extension entomologist Doug Johnson cautions fellow Kentucky citizens against the fall armyworm, a pest that currently holds a record high population count, with over 600 captured on September 13th of this year. Johnson offers tips on how to be alert to these insects, as they can damage Kentucky cattle and horse pastures, and even crops if left unnoticed.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is partnering with KyFarmStart and the Community Farm Alliance to offer the inaugural Kentucky Beginning Farmers Conference Oct. 5. The event will offer information on topics like land access, legal issues, grants and loans, retail versus wholesale, proper record keeping and a “meet the buyers” panel. Farmers who attend will be able to network with experienced professionals and gather a surplus of new information to help them expand their business.
N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute continues its expansion efforts by adding another established scientist to its team at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh (pronounced: “Zung Foo Shay”) is developing a research program centered on the biological systems of flowering plants, including fruits and vegetables. One of Hsieh’s main specialties is essential to worldwide human nutrition and health—the study of a plant cell component which comprises the majority of plant grains such as corn, rice and wheat. Hsieh and his colleagues have already identified certain processes as critical regulators for plant reproduction and development. His studies will provide new opportunities to understand how the environment can influence plants.
Clemson Extension experiences demand for more agents in agriculture, forestry, and natural resources. Agents need a strong agricultural background, even if they do not work directly in that field. Agronomy agent Charles Daviscomments that jobs have evolved; master’s degrees are required within five years of hire and technology has impacted day-to-day exchange. Hires can be responsible as many as four counties. “I need all the help I can get,” Davis said. “The idea is to have the new agents work with me for a few years and get some on-the-ground experience and training”.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research is helping to protect the state’s avocado production. By studying laurel wilt, a disease that affects avocado trees, researchers have found that it is not spread via fruit or seeds from infected trees, and the insect that transmits the disease does not infest avocado fruit, only the trunks of avocado trees. This is great news for Florida avocado growers. Florida is the second-largest avocado producing state, after California, and the U.S. is the eighth largest avocado producing nation in the world.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture specialists warn livestock producers about the risks of cyanide poisoning this fall. Kentucky Extension forage specialists Ray Smith and Garry Lacefield explain why knowing how to prevent cyanide poisoning can help save the Kentucky livestock population.
The University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP)has developed a new tool that will benefit farmers and crop advisors determine the optimum nitrogen rate for corn and recommend the best management practices. The calculator also projects the maximum return possible based on prices of nitrogen and corn derived from research data. “Partnering with U of I Extension ties in their expertise in promoting use of research and education to benefit agriculture and the environment,” says Dan Schaefer, director of nutrient stewardship.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture began a study to examine the environmental and economic costs of introducing non-native, predatory insects into sustainable agricultural systems with the ultimate goal of making biological control more effective and economical. This study proves timely, as for many decades, non-native, predatory insects have been released in the United States to decrease or eliminate the impacts of exotic insect pests in crops and gardens, yet only now are the repercussions coming to light.
Read more here!
In the wake of this summer’s high temperatures and long periods of drought, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture specialists will discuss solutions to drought-related farming issues during the 13th Kentucky Grazing Conference Oct. 30 at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton. Forage and animal specialists from UK, University of Tennessee and the USDA will present on the following topics: novel endophyte tall fescue, winter annuals for grazing, pastures for horses, cost of pasture compared to hay, grassfed beef from a global perspective and strategies to manage the effects of the drought. The program will also offer an opportunity for Kentucky forage/livestock producers to present to peers about their production strategies and to collaborate for new ideas.
UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences graduate student Ildi Carlisle-Cummins has accomplished everything from getting locally grown produce in Northern California school cafeterias to giving media interviews on sustainable agriculture for NPR. Both UC Davis Cooperative Extension and College of Agriculture staff are impressed with Carlisle-Cummins’s work, and look forward to her new ideas on sustainability in agriculture that she will bring to not only the campus, but also California.
The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources will soon begin a new research project focusing on the genomic sequencing of Angus bulls. This project is meant to enhance the understanding and genetic prediction of Angus cattle performance. The study will “…deep sequence the genomes of at least 20 high impact Angus bulls to identify the variation that is likely to cause early embryonic mortality and variation in growth, carcass quality, feed intake and disease resistance,” said Jerry Taylor, U of M’s Chair of Animal Genomics and Professor of Genetics and Animal Sciences. Researchers hope that the study will lead to improved fertility, production traits, and health in Angus Cattle.
On November 7th, the educational series SowBridge will begin its fifth year. SowBridge is sponsored by a group of 11 state universities – including K-State Cooperative Extension – from major swine producing states. It is coordinated by the Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC). The program helps people who manage or care for boars, sows, and/or their litters, including operation owners, employees, technicians, managers, and technical service providers. SowBridge is designed to improve the understanding and application of various tools and techniques involved in daily care of the breeding herd and piglets. By educating producers about techniques, members of the swine industry can improve productivity and effectiveness of their processes.
University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension is offering a course in Sustainable Vegetable Production in order to teach first-time farmers how to make sustainable and environmentally appropriate decisions for commercial vegetable production. Through the course, participants will gain insight as to how proper management techniques affect natural resources, such as soil and water.
Cornell University senior extension associate for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Tim Martinson helps growers and wineries in the Finger Lake region cope with variable weather. Additional experts Anna Katharine Mansfield and Chris Gerling discuss the positive effects of the abnormal weather on grapes, such as more concentrated flavors, and less diseases and pesticide use.
Michael Mazourek, Assistant Professor of Plant Breeding, has been working at the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station’s research farm to better connect farmers with available research. Cultivars at Cornell developed solutions to common planting problems but information had not reach farmers on a wide scale. The project’s goal is to connect farmers with planting solutions and seeds that will work in their situation and environment. The hope is to further sustainability and organic systems that contribute to the economy and state.
University of Arkansas Extension agronomist Jason Kelley offers tips about when to plant winter wheat and what pests look out for in order to raise the percentage of winter wheat planted this year.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is hosting a workshop for commercial fruit and vegetable farmers who are growing produce in high tunnels. “High tunnels are inexpensive and simple passive-solar greenhouses in which crops are grown directly in the soil,” said Joe Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “While they allow growers to extend the season and produce high yields of quality produce earlier than field-grown crops, they have different challenges than field-grown crops that require careful planning and using the right tools and strategies to overcome these challenges.” The workshop, to be held on October 30 at the Davis County Extension Office, will provide farmers with the knowledge necessary to successfully employ this innovative crop production method while managing the unique risks that come along with it.
University of Kentucky Extension entomologist Ric Bessin informs Kentucky fruit growers about the Drosophila fly, which was recently caught in a pest management trap set up by the university. Extension entomologists have been monitoring the fly for two years, as it can be a major production issue for certain fruits.
Researchers and Extension faculty from University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources will present some of their latest discoveries to directly benefit agriculture producers at the Wurdack Research Center’s Field Day. Their presentations will help producers improve pastures and hay supplies, as well as improve cattle profitability for Missouri producers.
University of Georgia Extension specialists Clint Waltz and Becky Griffin research ways to conserve water for Georgian lawns and landscapes. The results of the study will improve water conservation in Georgia, with more than 700 landscapers participating in sustainable turfgrass trainings led by Griffin.
Kansas State University experts discuss the best strategies for controlling field blindweed, an invasive species that can be harmful to crop profitability. It may be pretty to look at, but field bindweed is a deep-rooted perennial weed that severely reduces crop yields and land value, according toK-StateResearch and Extension crop specialist Curtis Thompson. The noxious weed infests just under 2 million acres across Kansas, he said. However, “In the fall prior to a killing freeze can be an excellent time to treat field bindweed especially when good fall moisture has been received,” explains Thompson. By providing strategies to fight this detrimental weed species, KSU Extension specialists can help the agricultural industry increase both profit from and quality of their products.
Alfred Hartemink, soil scientist at the University of Wisconsin, has been working with other experts in his field to develop a digital global soil map that will detail pH data, carbon levels, texture, and other soil properties that need to be updated. It is a challenging project as it requires global collaboration and coordination. It is a much needed endeavor, existing soil maps are decades out of date, and soil data is not always readily available to researchers in the field. The hope behind the soil map is for the full integration of soil science into other fields such as hydrology, ecology, economics, and climate science, which by extension would help tackle larger global issues.
On October 23, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture will host the Kentucky Beef Conference. The conference will focus on existing marketing trends in the beef industry, management practices, and current market volatility. This event will be a valuable resource for Kentucky beef producers interested in improving their business and the quality of their products.
Experts from Kansas State University Research and Extension provide helpful tips for soil preparation that can be very beneficial for next year’s harvest. According to K-State horticulturalist Ward Upham, fall is the best time to prepare garden soil. He offers strategies that can help prevent insects and crop diseases from remaining present in a dormant state throughout the winter, creating the healthiest possible soil in the spring and increasing the productivity of Kansas farmers.
Because of combined efforts with University of Kentucky Research and Education Center, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture researchers will now have new agriculture technologies to help improve the precision and repetition of experiments. These new technologies will help researchers resolve land use issues, and spend less time and fuel on experiments.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension experts offer advice about cleaning gardens and composting for a new crop season. By implementing the suggestions, local growers can avoid plant disease or insect problems, and may see an increase in crop production and quality.
University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist Marlin Bates addresses gardeners’ need for a less costly organic fertilizer by offering key practices that will increase the fertility of the soil for vegetable crops. Bates suggests using composts as a less expensive, sustainable way to grow crops this season.
University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee Research and Education Center researches cotton planting and new irrigation technologies. Emerging irrigation technologies are a good solution to odd-shaped fields where current irrigation is failing. Tests have indicated that these new technologies help crops absorb 80 percent of sunlight on the field in comparison to the 60 percent that crops with dry-land irrigation systems absorb. The goal is to get optimum yields without optimum water.
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Kansas State University will be one of few major land grant universities to host the HungerU mobile exhibit, sponsored by the Farmer Journal Foundation, in order to raise awareness about world hunger and the merits of advanced agriculture. The event is free and open to the public, and will inform local citizens about the complexities of addressing hunger and food insecurity.
According to a recent study from Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI), a research institution of the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wisconsin can be a national leader in bioenergy production using waste from the state’s prosperous agriculture and food processing sectors. UW-Madison researchers found that in dairy cow manure alone, the report found 4.77 million dry tons available per year, which is the potential energy equivalent of replacing a large-scale coal plant. The waste can be diverted from dairy farms, food processing facilities, landfills and municipal waste water treatment plants into biogas. This presents an opportunity to produce energy from waste without disrupting other state industries, while simultaneously boosting the economy.
University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Extension specialists have teamed up with the Arkansas Forest Resources Center to launch a website dedicated to educating the public about invasive pests that destroy forests and crops nationwide. Invasive pests cost the U.S. an estimated $130 billion in damage and preventative measures annually, and this figure is expected to grow. Destructive invasives already in Arkansas include the red imported fire ant, kudzu and gypsy moths, and more species are introduced as threats each year. According to U of A Forestry specialist Jon Barry, the Arkansas Forest Resources Center is looking to recruit and train new specialists to prevent invasive pest damage in Arkansas forests and fields.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are taking the lead on a new study designed to reward vegetable producers and processors in the marketplace for producing their products in a sustainable manner. Scientists in five states will collaborate to create a system for reporting the sustainability of agricultural production practices that will be credible to consumers and attainable for producers. Increasingly, vegetable producers and processors are under pressure from their buyers—retail and wholesale food distributors—to document the sustainability of their production practices. However, since there is not yet a single, streamlined system to measure sustainability among all outlets, the current process is inefficient and complicated. Specialty crop production and processing generates more than $6 billion each year in economic activity and almost 35,000 jobs, or about 1 percent of employment statewide. This study will not only encourage sustainable practices; it will boost this important sector of the economy as well.
University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Shane Burgess discusses the commitment of the university’s researchers to manage US farms and ranches under drought conditions in order to help global food shortages. The College of Ag features a speech given in Tuscon by Harold Norton, a consultant for international marketing and trade, on the effects of the drought on farmers and current crop production.
University of Wisconsin-Madison plant pathology professor Andrew Bent explains the importance of making soybeans more resistant to disease. Diseases in soybeans account for $1 billion yield loss every year in the United States, so this research will help the soybean growing process become more effective.
Researchers from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources have discovered a new crop connection that can help revive areas of fields that have lost productivity. According to Newell Kitchen, a Plan Sciences Specialist at U of Missouri CAFNR, bioenergy crops such as switchgrass and miscanthus can help soil, improve water quality and provide alternative revenue. In recent research, Kitchen found that even when there is a lack of topsoil, it is possible to grow a healthy switchgrass crop that will produce five to seven tons per acre per year. By storing carbon below ground, these crops improve the soil nutrient content and structure for the next season, which makes a more bountiful harvest likely for next year. Additionally, biomass plants can be a profitable crop when used to provide energy, whether that is being co-fired with coal in a power plant or, potentially, being processed into liquid fuels. “That could provide a flow of income for farmers that would diversify their enterprise and make these marginal soils more productive,” said Kitchen.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor discusses the university’s latest research on increasing tomato yields for Florida farmers. According to the recent study, adding sulfur to the soil before planting boosts yields by almost 2 tons per acre, which can increase Florida vegetable production.
University of Missouri Forestry Professor Rich Guyette is researching an equation by looking at temperature and precipitation to better predict fire patterns. Fires are an especially prominent issue in Eastern North America as it reduces the number of trees, so Guyette seeks to create the best model of prediction to better understand fires.
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture assistant professor Dirk Phillipp, along with Extension researchers, provide Arkansas farmers with answers on the most effective and least costly way to plant legumes. Legumes are extremely beneficial because they not only provide protein for cattle, but also fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, which can lower the cost of nitrogen fertilizers.
University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is offering a new course throughout the state for students in the process of, or interested in, setting up a livestock operation. The class will be offered through the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, and will provide lectures from local grazing specialists and experiences farmers, opportunities to tour farms and intern, and learn about business planning in farming.
Experts from Kansas State University Research and Extension are urging livestock producers to test the soil and forage supply used to feed their cattle. Research has shown that unusual weather throughout the summer and fall, particularly the prolonged drought, have led to dangerously high levels of nitrates and prussic acid in new-growth forages. If cattle consume too much nitrate on a regular basis, they can become ill from nitrate poisoning among other plights, which could be disastrous for cattle production safety and revenues. K-State cattle specialists David Kehler and Larry Hollis explain the risks behind this unique environmental situation and offer solutions to help farmers to protect their livestock.
Iowa State University Agriculture students can now apply for a highly unique chance to study agricultural marketing in Greece. Because most agriculture and life sciences students do not receive course work related to agriculture and marketing, the new study abroad program will help students gain real life experience, as well as help them obtain useful skills for future job prospects.
University of Illinois crop science researchers Matt Hudson and Brian Diers team up with University of Wisconsin and University of Nebraska to research soybean chromosomes resistant to cyst diseases. Using a “fine mapping” technique, the researchers have discovered a better resistance alternative, which can potentially save millions of dollars for soybean production.
Experts from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture warn about a disease affecting corn grain and silage that was likely caused by high heat and drought over the summer. Aspergillus ear rot is caused by a fungus that may produce aflatoxin, which can be harmful to livestock. If cows are infected after eating contaminated corn, the disease can spread to humans through dairy consumption. University specialists provide important tips to help farmers identify the mold that can create these toxins so that they can stop the problem before it shows up in cows and dairy products.
University of Georgia Extension horticulturalist Paul Thomas informs local gardeners and growers about the most effective ways to shield plants from frost. While some fall crops may be able to handle a small amount of frost, Thomas explains the advantages of taking a few extra precautions to save gardens.
UC Cooperative Extension and California farmers work together to improve the irrigation and nitrogen efficiency in almond production. Joe MacIlvaine, President of Paramount Farming Company, discusses how the changes in techniques lead to increased amounts of high-quality food for less input, and are more sustainable.
University of Georgia students and entomologist Brian Forschler find less expensive and more sustainable ways to prevent termite infestations. Forschler works together with the students to save the university added costs of paying exterminators by doing the work themselves, and have reduced the pesticide usage for termite management by 99 percent.
A UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Professor, Frank Mitloehner, has been selected to chair a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization committee to measure and assess the environmental impacts of the livestock industry worldwide. Mitloehner will use his expertise in air quality to lead representatives of national governments, livestock industries, nonprofit and private sectors in establishing science-based methods to measure livestock’s carbon footprint, create a database of greenhouse gas emission factors for animal feed, and develop a methodology to measure other environmental pressures, such as water consumption and nutrient loss. The international effort is a necessary first step toward improving the sustainability of the livestock sector, particularly as the global consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs continues to rise.
Specialists from Kansas State University Research and Extension discussed the closely intertwined relationships between climate change and agriculture at a recent K-State conference. 2012 is on a path toward becoming the warmest year on record in the U.S., and countless farmers nation-wide are still trying to bounce back from the devastating effects of this summer’s drought. K-State agriculture specialists say it is time to take action to slow climate change as well as to adapt farming methods to the changing environment. Higher temperatures affect the nutrients in the plant environment, make it easier for crop diseases and pests to survive the winter, and make freezing temperatures less predictable, all leaving crops susceptible to a higher number of threats. Charles Rice, a K-state University distinguished professor in agronomy, also explains his exciting research on a natural soil CO2 processing function that can reduce the amount of CO2 released as a greenhouse gas and help slow global warming.
Researchers at the Washington State University extension center in Prosser are currently working to update the information apple and cherry growers use in deciding when to begin utilizing strategies that can protect orchards from frost damage. Heaters and wind machines are often used for this purpose. The WSU extension researchers are developing monitoring techniques such as cutting to expose buds and flowers to specific freezing temperatures, then dissecting them under a microscope to see the damage. The three-year study will to modernize cold-hardiness models that are 30 or 40 years old. The information will be available to growers on WSU’s AgWeatherNet online service. In addition to frost warnings, it also will help farmers decide how much to prune and thin.
A soil health specialist at the University of North Dakota, Chris Augustin, uses his expertise daily at the North Central Research Extension Center south of Minot, North Dakota. He studies soil to come up with strategies to maintain and monitor its health, working with crop producers in the area to plan ahead and maximize their production quality and numbers. Augustin’s research also deals with cover crops, soil salinity and developing management practices that can help improve North Dakota’s soil resources each year.
Iowa State University Vegetable Extension Specialist Ajay Nair discusses the impact of his latest research on the span of Iowa’s growing season. He addresses the demand for locally grown produce and extends the life span of the growing season in Iowa, particularly with lettuce, by using mini-tunnels. He also experiments with different treatments on the lettuce, making the end result more profitable for lettuce growers in the state.
Students at Colorado State University harvest and sell organic produce grown right on campus. Their effort provides students with local, pesticide-free vegetables, and creates a learning opportunity for budding agriculture students.
California is rich in tree-grown fruits and nuts; however, there is a lack of horticultural specialists to teach, advise, and help farmers attain the information and knowledge they need for successful planting and harvesting. UC Davis Cooperative Extension will offer a course on pomology to provide planting fundamentals and tree biology essentials to promote better orchard management, business decisions, and help farmers learn to diagnose problems. Farmers, orchard managers, and students will benefit from the opportunity to learn from this course.
A team of Cornell University CALS Research will take the lead on an initiative to prevent curcubit downy mildew and other diseases affecting cucumbers. Such diseases are a big problem for organic growers, who have limited options in terms of crop-disease control methods. Organic growers have tried many preventative measures, such as soil building, rotation, variety selection and organic pesticides, but despite their efforts, the disease has taken its toll. Luckily, Cornell CALS researchers have found some solutions that may be effective. Michael Mazourek, Ph.D. ’08, a plant breeding specialist, said these strategies will help many organic growers who currently avoid cucurbit crops because of these pests.
As gas prices are on the rise, Arkansas State University College of Agriculture assistant professor Kevin Humphrey is researching different crops that can be converted into biodiesel that would work in small car engines. Humphrey, along with a team of undergraduates, has found a process to convert cooking oil into biodiesel as a cheaper, more environment-friendly alternative to petroleum. He obtains the cooking oil from nearby Chick-fil-As, and utilizes crops grown on campus for his research.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture researchers discover windrow composting as a more efficient way of managing equine waste, while simultaneously eliminating contamination. Reducing contamination through this alternative form of composting will also help save young horses that are susceptible to parasites derived from composting farm waste.
A new study released by UC Davis researchers suggests reducing hoof-health problems in cattle can increase herd longevity, improve milk yield, and reduce economic and environmental impacts. UC Davis has helped California rise as the nation’s largest dairy state through innovative research that has improved sanitation procedures and reduced the effects of livestock waste on the environment.
Cornell University Extension is dedicated to educating the community about environmental issues that reflect the changing needs of growers and stakeholders. Issues such as batting stink bugs, blight threatening tomato crops, urban trees mitigating climate change, and breeding programs to keep crops competitive are issues that have come to light and the extensions hopes to address. Michael Hoffman, associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, hopes to use funds to enable institutions to tackle real world issues.
One of the world’s leading experts in tree fruit horticulture extension, Desmond R. Layne, is joining the Washington State University faculty as a specialist at WSU’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. “Desmond Layne literally sets the national bar for how to deliver scientific information to producers through extension,” said Dan Bernardo, vice president for agriculture and extension at WSU. “His use of online technology and media brings a whole new approach to providing producers with the information they need when they need it.” His expertise, especially in peaches, will be an invaluable asset to the development of Washington’s tree fruit industry. In an interview, Dr. Layne expressed his excitement to be working with the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences. “When many land-grant universities are experiencing cutbacks and reducing investment in extension, WSU is expanding and growing – especially in the area of tree fruit research and extension. Indeed, exciting things are happening at WSU.”
University of Kentucky Extension specialists are currently working on producing switchgrass and other crops for biomass. Using switchgrass for biomass is a clean, environmentally-friendly way to produce energy locally, and it can also be used for grazing or hay. The specialists address the need for alternative energy sources and are confident with the use of switchgrass, as it can last up to 20 years.
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialists discuss the good harvest of pecans this season, despite the crop coming in earlier than expected. Because Georgia is the main pecan producer in the nation, researchers have found ways to reduce water use by 30 percent, keeping pecan prices consistent for consumers.
K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist Jim Shroyer can help Kansas farmers offset the impacts of slow wheat emergence that has been prevalent this year due to dry soil conditions. According to Shroyer, if wheat stands in a field are spotty, it may be necessary to replant some or all of it, depending on the cause of the poor emergence. Re-planting even a small part of a field can be very costly and time-consuming, so producers must be careful when making this decision. However, “…replanting any area that truly needs it can pay off,” Shroyer said. Aside from yield potential, he points out two other major concerns to consider in deciding whether to replant: the susceptibility of the ground to wind erosion and the potential for weed and grass infestations. Shroyer offers many more situation-specific tips to help Kansas farmers avoid negative impacts stemming from this year’s drought
On November 29, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension will conduct a special session on winter drought management tips for cow herds at the UNL Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead. The program is designed for producers, veterinarians or others involved in the beef industry. At the event, many beef and cattle experts from UNL Extension will give participants tips on managing cow herds during the winter to reduce drought effects. Topics will include how to feed drought affected forages, stretching short forage supplies, using alternative feedstuffs, hay feeding methods and reducing feeding losses, nitrate poisoning symptoms and managing respiratory problems with drylotting cows and calves.
Researchers from Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are teaming up with Swedish scientists to study butyric acid, a biobased acid that may be used as a petroleum alternative. Given the Swedish government’s recent announcement that the country will stop using oil by 2020, this research is essential to developing ways to use the country’s large agricultural and forest resources to produce petroleum alternatives. Kris Berglund, MSU professor of chemical engineering and food science, is taking the lead on the project, and says that Michigan can learn a lot from the Swedes when it comes to energy independence and using abundant forest resources to become self-sufficient in energy. Butyric acid can be produced from forest-sourced raw materials or agricultural residue, and can later be processed into a high-value chemical. Berglund’s research and entrepreneurial endeavors are part of a larger collaborative effort between Sweden and MSU to share ideas about growing a biobased economy in both countries, creating jobs and launching companies that work to replace fossil fuel-based products with alternatives derived from plants and microbes.
Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences researchers Ivan Arismendi and Mohammad Safeeq explain OSU’s latest study, which states higher temperatures and lower flows in many Northwest streams can negatively affect fish and other organisms. Arismendi, the lead author of the study, names climate change as the main reason for the temperature changes, which affects the level of competition in the streams.
Kansas State University Extension crop production specialist Jim Shroyer suggests replanting wheat this season to avoid wheat emergence due to dry soil conditions. According to research, he explains, Kansas wheat growers should consider re-planting wheat to obtain the best yield results and to ensure wheat is in full production.
Last year, North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences created its Office of Sustainability to encourage sustainable efforts within the college. The CALS Office of Sustainability’s main goal is to inform about different sustainability initiatives whether they are groundbreaking research, innovative farming practices or educational opportunities. Recent initiatives promoted by the office include course for business executives called “Sustainability in Agriculture: An Executive Course”, which offers agribusiness officials the opportunity “…to come to N.C. State and talk to experts in the field about how they can start corporate sustainability efforts within their companies.” Other CALS Sustainability initiatives include a partnership with Burt’s Bees cosmetics company to promote awareness of the important role that bees play in agricultural development, and a course focused on the benefits of soil diversity in crop production.
University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension held a research field day for over 100 local landscapers, growers, arborists, and foresters to showcase studies that dealt with health issues for trees, greenhouses, and nurseries. The research discussed the future of local nursery stock production and availability, and the best management practices for 2013.
Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences class on microbrewing addresses New York’s growing interest in microbreweries, which could potentially spur industry growth and encourage tourism. Cornell faculty and Extension specialists inform the students about how to produce a quality crop economically, and stress the importance of keeping ingredients local.
Researchers from West Virginia University’s College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design have joined a multi-university project that is working to mitigate the damage being done to produce by stinkbugs, and invasive pest. Stinkbugs are especially detrimental to organic farms, where producers have fewer options of ways to combat them. According to Yong-Lak Park, associate professor of entomology at WVU CANRD, the stinkbugs are “…causing severe economic loss in Mid-Atlantic states, with damage increasing in southern states.” Research priorities include selection and planning of trap crops, enhancing natural enemies, and cultural control, which may be more effective than current stink-bug management practices.
A team of researchers from the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has identified a carbon-emission and absorption cycle in soil that can help us understand the global carbon cycle. The study found that while erosion can bury carbon in the soil, lessening the amount present in the atmosphere, it can also cause carbon stored in the soil to be re-released after several hundred years. The researchers estimated that roughly half of the carbon buried in soil by erosion will be re-released into the atmosphere within about 500 years, and possibly faster due to climate change. Climate change can speed the rate of decomposition, aiding the release of the buried carbon. Understanding this cycle is essential to both monitoring the rate of global warming as well as to ensuring that agricultural producers are aware of the changes this cycle can bring the nutrients in their soil.
Cornell University agricultural researchers team up with other universities to work on the Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium, which focuses on improving biofuel production. The project aims to integrate sustainable systems, to make use of abandoned land and avoid land competition, and will even bring new jobs to the sites.
On December 3, The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture will host the Precision Dairy Showcase to demonstrate multiple new technologies for the region’s dairy producers. “The number of technology options being developed to help dairy producers manage reproduction, mastitis, health and well-being is exciting,” said Jeffrey Bewley, assistant extension professor in the UK Department of Animal and Food Sciences. The daylong event will offer several presentations affecting all areas of the dairy industry. Researchers at UK Coldstream Dairy are conducting testing on multiple new cow management technologies , and this event will provide an opportunity for dairy producers to see these new technologies in action, and learn how to implement them. Additionally, meetings throughout the day will include important topics such as nutrition monitoring, disease detection, precision milking, rumen pH and heart rate monitoring, footbath delivery solutions and synchronization versus automatic heat detection.
Researchers from Mississippi State University and the University of Georgia are teaming up with Cotton Incorporated to begin a new on-farm testing program aimed at helping fill the “knowledge gap” on new cotton variety releases. According to University Extension Specialists, research shows that planting the wrong variety can cost cotton producers up to $277 an acre. “Variety selection has been identified as a key issue by cotton growers throughout the United States,” said Darrin Dodds, Extension cotton specialist with Mississippi State University. “Many of the new varieties are coming on the market without any prior testing through the university system,” said Cotton Incorporated’s Robert L. Nichols. “Growers often don’t know how a variety will perform in their areas until they plant it.” According to Guy Collins, Extension cotton specialist with the University of Georgia it is important for growers to know how to position and treat them, as well. This new partnership between Extension specialists and cotton producers will provide a hands-on implementation of research that is essential to maximizing productivity.
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UC Davis plant scientist Eduardo Blumwald will soon begin a new research initiative using genetic engineering to improve the drought tolerance and efficiency of switchgrass. Switchgrass is a native North American grass valued for its potential as a sustainable source of fuel. It is a high-yielding, highly adaptable perennial plant. Blumwald and his colleagues will develop new molecular biology tools to accelerate switchgrass breeding. Via genetic engineering, the team also will introduce traits recently developed at UC Davis to rapidly increase both the plant’s drought tolerance and nutrient-use efficiency. Blumwald will also work on developing heat- and drought-tolerant varieties of pearl millet, a vitally important grain for India and Africa. This important research is an important step toward discovering new sustainable energy sources within the U.S., as well as to helping developing nations feed their populations more effectively.
November 11, 2012 the Experiment Station Section Award of Excellence in Multistate Research will be presented at the Annual APLU Awards Program in Colorado to a group of scientists, who collaborated from Land-Grant Universities across the country to identify soybean rust strategies. Soybean rust is a fungal disease that threatens U.S. soybean production and has caused high yield losses in South America and recently in southern and midwestern U.S. states. As a disease-resistant soybean is not available, the team of scientists have established extensive monitoring systems that have helped farmers know when and how to eradicate the fungus. Their accurate research has saved the soybean industry hundreds of millions of dollars and reduced human and environmental health risks. The team’s innovative research has also provided key information on a disease-resistant soybean variety that will provide economic and environmentally sustainable long-term disease management.
On November 29, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will participate in a new addition at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show, the IDEAg Interconnectivity conference, to discuss some of the latest technology being offered to producers. According to Raymond Bianchi, vice president and group show director, the event will provide an opportunity for members at all levels of the agricultural production industry to “… not only look at how new technologies deliver critical data from the field to the farmer and how this data can be converted to useful information to boost on-farm productivity, but it also will reveal real-world solutions to address critical issues such as water resource management and stored-grain quality.”
Purdue Extension plant and weed experts published a fact-based study on the controversial herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties, which some experts worry will injure other crops. Weed Scientist Bill Johnson from Purdue Extension explains that the study does not take a stance on the issue, but instead focuses on the research, which shows the new soybean varieties do not harm tolerant crops. The study also takes into account the short and long term effects the new technology may have on local crops.
Researchers at the New Mexico State University’s College of Agriculture are studying soil in the Las Cruces area to predict future climate change. Soil holds scientific clues at a microscopic level that help researchers identify trends in climate change over many years, and use this data to predict how the environment might change in the future.
On December 13, The University of Wisconsin-Extension will host a one-day seminar called ‘What’s New With Dairy Facilities’. The event will feature lectures and demonstrations from Research and Extension specialists on how to save energy, labor, and time on both large and small dairy farms. Topics will include saving energy on the farm with new lighting options for agricultural buildings, new technologies that may improve reproduction in dairy cattle, and new milking systems.
Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center is collaborating with experts from other regional universities in the Uniform Regional Rice Nursery program, working to develop more successful varieties of rice. By testing a new genetic material called germplasm in various environmental and growing conditions, the MSU experts can identify new ways to make rice more tolerant to diseases, invasive species, and environmental changes. The results of this project may have a very significant impact, helping rice growers around the world be more successful in production and feed more people.
University of Wyoming Extension specialist Randy Weigel discusses the university’s recent publication that informs ranchers and farmers on personal protective equipment, as 243 agricultural workers suffer serious injuries from their work every day. Personal protective equipment (PPE), he explains, can prevent or lessen potentially fatal agricultural injuries.
Plant specialists from University of Kentucky College of Agriculture are working with experts from more than 30 other Land-Grant Universities to combat soybean rust in the United States. The invasive crop disease has the potential to totally decimate an entire crop and has already created extensive damage in Central and South America. The group of researchers, called NCERA-208 recently received the 2012 Experiment Station Section Award of Excellence in Multistate Research from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Extension plant pathologist Don Hershman and grain crops specialist Chad Lee, both from UK College of Agriculture, worked closely with the Soybean Rust component of IPM PIPE, the Integrated Pest Management Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education. The groups set up sentinel plots across the U.S. to monitor the disease, develop educational materials, test and register fungicides and conduct research on disease-resistant varieties, and so far their efforts have been successful in slowing and lessening the impact that soybean rust has on American crops.
University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Life Sciences professor Craig Kvien discusses the importance of the Southeast Energy Options Conference, which will be held on UGA’s campus with the support of other Southeast universities. The conference’s purpose is to educate people on energy efficiency in agriculture and to highlight new research and technology in the field. Among the experts attending will be former president Jimmy Carter, who will open the conference.
North Dakota State University’s new Soil Health Initiative will be one of the marquee educational topics at this year’s Northern Ag Expo in Fargo, N.D., Nov. 27 and 28. The initiative is the biggest research dedication to area soils in the past decade. Frank Casey, director of NDSU’s School of Natural Resource Sciences, highlights the importance of healthy and diverse soil in growing stable and bountiful crops. The biggest, most visible issue in soil health has been in salinity, and NDSU research has focused largely on finding solutions to this particular problem.
On December 4, 6 and 8, Ohio State University Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service will host a Grazing School for farmers and producers interested in learning more about how to improve forage and pasture management after a drought. The sessions will include an in-depth look at fence and livestock watering systems, paddock layout and design, and pasture soil fertility. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in hands-on demonstrations and a discussion of the issues with experts from Ohio State University Extension.
Ohio State University’s research arm of the College of Agriculture found that Cleveland has the potential to generate 100 percent of their energy needs, which would save millions of dollars, help the environment and create local jobs. The city’s energy consumption profile was composed and local resources assessed and it was found that Cleveland was rich in renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, conversion of waste to energy, and biofuels. Various scenarios were created by the research team to integrate renewable energy into Cleveland’s energy consumption in varying degrees, from utilizing wind power in abandoned parking lot to the aggressive 100 percent local generation of power through offshore wind power. Incorporating a portion of these energy solutions would cut spending, reduce pollution and create local jobs; it is an interesting answer to the city’s reliance on imported energy, one that allows the city to control the aggressiveness.
Sam McNeill, agricultural engineer with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, offers tips to help grain producers maintain the quality of their crops throughout winter storage. With high grain prices, it’s important to monitor stored grain to retain its maximum value, according to McNeill. Strategies such as temperature and moisture monitoring can prevent damage to the grain and keep insects and rodents away in order to keep the stored grain healthy until it is distributed.
On December 18, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will offer a webinar covering feral hog research and population management. “Despite all the control efforts, feral hog numbers in the state continue to rise at an alarming rate,” said Bryan Davis, AgriLife Extension agent in Bexal County. This webinar is part of a series of efforts from many land-grant university and other experts focusing on the control, adaptive management, biology, economics, disease risks and human interface with feral hogs across the U.S. “Our goal is that farmers, ranchers and other landowners will get critical information, resources and expert application of knowledge on issues related to feral hogs,” Davis said.
Dennis Fulbright, professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences at Michigan State University, has been working on research to restore Chestnut Trees to North America for most of his 33 years as an MSU faculty member. A fungus wiped out the majority of American Chestnut Trees in 1904, and Fulbright uses the small remaining Michigan population of the trees to conduct his research. Because of the deadly fungus, Fulbright said it’s incredibly difficult to grow and maintain American Chestnut orchards so he’s trying to find a suitable alternative. “When we lost it, we lost a very valuable resource,” he said. “The trees provided a source of food and decay resistant wood.”
On February 7-9, Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources will host the 11th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference (GLRDC). The Conference will feature lectures and hands on learning for dairy producers from all across the country. The conference will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about the industry’s latest technological advancements, more efficient nutrition decisions for livestock, and the use of social media to help promote their farms’ products
Despite the fact that the 2012 Drought was one of the worst on record in Ohio, OSU Extension Specialists say that the Ohio oat crop is expected to produce “excellent yields,” this year. This will greatly benefit livestock producers suffering through low forage supplies after drought. Stan Smith, an OSU Extension program assistant in agriculture and natural resources, offers harvesting and storage solutions for producers to get the most out of this year’s oat harvest.
Iowa State University is working to help producer’s cope with the rising costs for livestock feed. Assistant professor Kurt Rosentrater is working with the College of Agriculture to improve the sustainability of agricultural systems such as grain storage, processing operations and conversions of corn, algae and other biorenewable feedstocks to create and improve feed. In working to create renewable options for livestock feed the University’s research is invaluable revolutionary and the local livestock business profit from increased feeding options.
An annual conference from a NC State vermiculture expert seems to get more popular each year. Rhonda Sherman, a solid waste extension specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, has offered the conference for 13 years. The conference covers vermicomposting- a process of using worms to convert organic waste. This year’s conference, held Nov. 5-6, attracted 120 people. Participants came from 27 states, plus Belgium, Latvia, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.
Researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have found that natural bacteria in cow rumens could be extremely helpful in biofuel production. According to UW-Madison CALS expert bacteriology professor Garret Suen, the microbes found in cow rumens have evolved to break down cellulose from the plants they eat efficiently and effectively. This has been a key challenge in biofuel production, and harnessing this natural process could be invaluable in industrial applications.
A team at UF’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy is evaluating an eco-friendly approach called “push-pull” in order to keep pests away from Florida pepper crops. This approach pushes the pests, insects called thrips, away from the target crop with unpleasant stimuli, and pull the insect to another type of plant grown as a lure. The insect feeds on plant juices and preys on more than 500 species, including many vegetables, fruits and ornamentals. It also transmits the notorious tomato spotted wilt virus. Initial findings from a two-year study at a South Florida farm suggest that push-pull could help the state’s outdoor pepper growers reduce the thrips threat, said entomologist Joe Funderburk, a UF/IFAS professor who led the study.
Faculty members from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are teaming up with partners at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST, on the Red Sea Coast, north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.The progressive public university has turned to the UA – a leading institution in arid lands studies – for expertise in the creation of the Desert Agriculture Research Institute. Kevin Fitzsimmons, director of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences International Programs and an expert in aquaculture, said the partnership is expected to result in groundbreaking research that can aid in developing sustainable farming, water and living systems without damaging the ecosystem. “Much of this research could impact a good portion of the globe,’’ Fitzsimmons said.
As the temperature drops, heat bills rise. University of Kentucky Extension Services is working with local resource agents to implement a new boiler that relies on biomass gasification in place of propane. This winter will determine the success of the boiler, which has been installed in a local agent’s farm. The boiler provides heat for five local greenhouses, a roadside market and local building nearby, which previously relied on 2,000 gallons of propane in the winter. The unit is rated at 95 percent efficiency, if it works well through the winter the boiler will save the community and local businesses money on heating bills, a wonderfully green solution to heating an entire farming operation.
Researchers from Oregon State University are exploring the potential for quinoa to grow in the Northwest’s diverse climates.Preliminary experiments have shown that some varieties of quinoa, harvested for its tiny grain-like seeds, can be cultivated in Oregon.mGrowing demand for quinoa worldwide has more than doubled its price in the past decade – possibly creating an economic opportunity for Northwest farmers, according to Steve Petrie, one of the researchers on the project and the director of OSU’s Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center.“If we can figure out that quinoa can grow well in our environment, I think it has amazing potential for growers,” Petrie said.
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University of Florida’s Extension Office released the results of their 3-month research project looking into the oyster shortage in Franklin County, FL. The findings of the project show a grim outlook, with the oyster population in Apalachicola Bay declining steadily. According to UF Extension experts, the population decline is due to underwater pests such as annelid worms, boring clams, and sponges, which damage the shell of the oysters. UF experts believe the rise in these pests could be due to high levels of salinity in the Bay. In January, the local Seafood Workers Association will launch a project based off of UF Extension’s research about this issue called the Seafood Management Assistance Resource and Recovery Team, or S.M.A.R.R.T., in hopes of discovering a solution.
Researchers from the North Dakota State University Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics are working to develop enhanced energy sugar beets that are optimized for biofuel production. “The NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics will lead the project’s economic and environmental analyses,” says David Ripplinger, bioproducts and bioenergy economist and assistant professor in the department. This project emphasizes the promise of energy beets as an industrial feedstock and a proprietary yield-enhancing technology to improve the competitiveness of energy beets as a feedstock.
This month, the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Imperial Valley celebrates a century of innovation. Since the facility’s establishment in 1912, tremendous strides in agricultural research have included the development of new plant varieties with increased tolerance to drought, heat, and pests, as well as development of bio-energy crops. Revenue of the valley’s crops has grown from $2 million annually to $2 billion annually in just one century, largely thanks to the great innovations coming out of UC.
This year, researchers from University of New Hampshire worked to develop a hybrid strawberry plant, and this summer, they became the top performers for a local grower. “Randy Warren told us they were the healthiest and most vigorous plants he’s ever had,” says Tom Davis, Professor of Plant Biology and Genetics in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) at UNH. Davis has been immersed in multi-institutional research on the genome of this New England and international favorite for the last six years, with the aim of adding sophisticated DNA fingerprinting and computational methods to the plant breeder’s toolbox.
Texas A&M University System personnel will be investigating the feasibility of gray water use for home landscape irrigation as a statewide initiative for conserving water resources. gray water is essentially “soapy” water left after tap water has been run through a washing machine or used in a bathtub, bathroom sink or shower and does not contain serious contaminants. Gray water for irrigation is already allowed in some southwestern states, including parts of Texas, with some restrictions. “Research results indicate that with minimum precautions water from our showers, bathroom sinks and clothes washers could be used to meet up to 10-15 percent of our overall landscape water needs.” said Dr. Calvin Finch, director of the Water Conservation and Technology Center in San Antonio.
Intent on developing wheat varieties with higher yields and enhanced nutritional content, researchers at the University of California, Davis, have teamed up with scientists at nine other institutions in an attempt to sequence the wheat genome. “The world’s population is projected to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050,” he said. “It is clear that, with no new farmable land available to bring into cultivation, we must develop higher-yielding varieties of these three cereals to meet the growing global demand for food.”
The Cooperative Extension Service, of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture announces its 2012 Extension Excellence Award winners. “These awards are an opportunity to showcase the best in the broad range of work done by faculty and staff at the Cooperative Extension Service,” Tony Windham, associate vice president-agriculture-extension for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said on Monday.Some of this years’ distinguished award-winners include the peanut production team composed of Randolph County Staff Chair Mike Andrews and Lawrence County Staff Chair Herb Ginn, as well as Samy Sadaka, assistant professor and extension engineer, who earned this honor for the development of a novel auger gasification/pyrolizer system to convert bio-renewable resources to syngas or bio-oil.
According to K-State Research and Extension Specialists, a combination of very low temperatures, dry soils and poorly developed wheat has created concern about the current wheat crop’s survival. Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist, offers answers to some common questions to help producers get the most out of this year’s wheat crop.
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University (MSU) recently opened its new Laying Hen Poultry Research facility. The facility – the only one of its kind in the country – features more than 17,500 square feet of space and houses nearly 7,000 birds. “ This facility demonstrates our commitment to research that continues to change lives, not only in Michigan but around the world.” said Janice Swanson, chair of the university’s Department of Animal Science. “This facility has the potential to attract researchers, provide student employment and allow new opportunities within the industry,” said Darrin Karcher, poultry outreach specialist, who will oversee the facility. “Students will have real-life experiences with alternative hen housing.”
On Friday, February 22, 2013, The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences will host the 57th annual Rural Life Conference. This year’s theme will be “Climate Change and Its Effects on Water Resources in Arkansas”. The conference will feature several theme-related workshops. It will also offer a poster session highlighting UAPB research projects and exhibits by governmental and community agencies. Researchers and agency representatives will be at their posters and exhibits during registration and during the break to answer questions.
UGA CAES Researchers are part of a multi-university effort to develop a new method to make agricultural water use much more efficient. Their work has attracted international attention, resulting in a nomination for a Katerva Award. They have studied how to best use soil moisture sensors for irrigation control. On-farm testing at Evergreen Nursery in Statham, Ga., and McCorkle Nurseries in Dearing, Ga., has shown water savings of up to 83 percent, while saving labor and improving plant quality. This research is extraordinarily important for the future. Agriculture uses about 70 percent of the world’s fresh water supply, but a growing population’s increasing demand for drinking water means farmers need to know how to grow more with less water.
On December 14, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture honored five distinguished graduates by inducting them into the inaugural class of the Hall of Distinguished Alumni. This year’s inductees are Louis J. Boyd, Maurice Cook, David Switzer, Harold Workman and Joe Wright. These honorees have had outstanding careers and continue to serve as important members of their fields and in their communities. Their many accomplishments include outstanding mentorship, achievements of drastic increases in funding, important contributions to the horse breeding industry, and great strides in soil and water conservation management.
Lawrence Datnoff, professor and head of the LSU Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology, recently presented results of his research to scientists from around the world in attendance of the Soil Science Society of America’s 2012 symposium on “Silicon Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management,” held recently in Cincinnati. Datnoff’s findings demonstrate that silicon amendments can suppress foliar and root diseases in crops to help curtail disease progression and limit severity. According to Datnoff, a world-renowned expert in the use of elemental silicon to suppress plant diseases, silicon may suppress plant disease as effectively as some fungicides.
California agriculture is a central pillar of the state’s economy, producing $37 billion worth of fruits, nuts, vegetables, field crops, livestock, and greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture products in 2007. Water is key to this agricultural bounty. In a normal year, California agriculture uses about 34.2 million acre-feet of water for irrigation, according to a 2009 report by the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center. UC Davis CAES scientists are experimenting with innovative research projects and new information technology to make the most of the state’s limited but very important water resources.
University of Georgia genetic entomologist Tracie Jenkins has used population genetics to track the kudzu bug that was discovered in Georgia three years ago, to its home country of Japan. The pest feeds on and damages crops like soybeans and other legumes, as well as kudzu, and is unknowingly transported in shipping containers and passenger jets. “In order to control the pest, we first have to know what we are up against,” said Jenkins, a researcher with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.