Agricultural Systems

  • New Robot from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Analyzes Crops for Greatest Yield

     

    Looking for your greatest yield yet? The key might lie in robotic technology.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is developing a semiautonomous robot that will gather and transmit real-time data about growth and development of crops that will help breeders and farmers identify genetic traits in plants. Analyzing this information – such as stem diameter, plant height, and environmental conditions – will upload the data to the grower’s computer to predict a plant’s growth and development. The data will then help producers make decisions that will enhance production and enable more crops in a yield.

    The researchers also hope to keep the robot within a lower price range to increase access to all farmers. Read more about the technology here.

     

  • Alabama Extension Thinks Outside the Box with Opportunities for Producers

    With the expansion of juiceries, wineries, and craft beer booming in the United States, producers have the opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to distribution.

    Alabama Cooperative Extension says creating and marketing value-added products can boost farmers’ operation profits by targeting businesses like wineries or creating additional products like ham, salsas, and syrups. And these creative outlets also have benefits to our food system – many of these market areas use fruit that may be unsellable or leftover due to appearance at a farmers’ market.

    Looking to get started with a winery or creating your own jam? Alabama Extension can help – read more here

  • Guac-ing Out with More Avocados: University of California Cooperative Extension Study Double Avocado Yields

    Still craving guacamole after Cinco de Mayo? There may be way more avocados available now, thanks to the University of California Cooperative Extension.

    Avocados can be difficult to grow in California, especially with recent droughts and the rising cost of water. But with special spacing, incorporating bees, and using moisture meters, avocado yields in the UC Cooperative Extension study has more than doubled. Which means they’ll be guac-ing your Cinco de Mayo for years to come.

    The average production in California was 6,500 lbs per acre – UC Cooperative Extension raised it to 15,000. Read more about their process here.

     

  • Iowa State University Examines Longest-Running Survey of Farming Practices for Insights

    In the longest-running survey of its kind, the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has been surveying farmers since 1982 to evaluate issues of important to agricultural stakeholders.

    Iowa State University analyzes the results to help policymakers and farmers know which practices, such as nutrient loss reduction, are being implemented. Not only will the results help stakeholders review recommended practices, it also helps communicate conservation efforts and benefits to farmers. For example, a recommended practice of applying nitrogen during the growing season can reduce nutrient loss and runoff in water sources, but also may increase farmers’ profits.

    Curious which processes are implemented the most? Read more about the survey here.

     

  • Soil Sampling Helps Water Conservation Efforts, with Clemson University GPS Technology

    Clemson University has created a GPS software to track soil sampling that will help farmers not only with profitability but also environmental efforts. The software will locate exactly where soil samples are taken to help producers ensure they are taking adequate samples and then evaluate the soil for nutrient recommendations.

    With accurate soil data, growers can maximize yields or lower operating costs by managing their nutrient inputs. Knowing the correct amount of nutrients will also help fertilizer reduction and assist with water conservation efforts within the community. 

    Each sampling zone gets their own ID and recommendations on nutrients such as potassium and phosphate – read more how the software works here.

     

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Creates Database to Help Farmers Find Research

    Curious if a research project includes your farm? The University of Nebraska-Lincoln now has a database that makes research more accessible to local farmers and producers in the state.

    The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network, which includes over 600 studies, allows growers to click and view research projects conducted throughout farms in their area. Farmers can navigate the database by keyword, year, crop and more to help them with a variety of issues such as farmer production, profitability, and natural resources.

    Ready to check if your farm is part of research? Click here.

     

  • Land-Grant Universities Team Up to Protect the Backbone of Agriculture: Soil

    Healthy soils impact everything in American agriculture by ensuring global food security, protecting water quality, mitigating climate change, and providing safe environments.

    Seventeen land-grant universities are working together to protect soil health by improving soil testing, expanding soil databases, develop quality sensors to monitor quality, and teaching others how to manage their soil. By maintaining soil health, farmers can make smarter decisions about irrigation, fertilization, and production that will increase yields.

    Land-grant universities participating include:

    University of California-Davis
    University of Florida
    University of Illinois
    Iowa State University
    Kansas State University
    University of Maryland
    Michigan State University
    University of Minnesota
    University of Missouri
    University of Nebraska
    University of Nevada
    North Dakota State University
    Oregon State University
    Pennsylvania State University
    Purdue University
    University of Wisconsin
    USDA-ARS/Iowa

    Read more about the land-grant universities’ specific research here.

     

  • Kale’s Kryptonite: University of Maryland Discovers How to Prevent E. Coli

    Kale might be a superfood, but did you know that leafy greens are at an increased risk for transmitting foodborne illnesses, especially when eaten raw?

    The University of Maryland has developed the first system model that simulates effects on a farm to identify how E. coli develops in green veggies. By measuring the factors in a farm setting, such as soil, rainfall, and irrigation, the University of Maryland has discovered processes to help prevent food borne illnesses in the future and maintain food safety.

    The University of Maryland’s research will help prevent over 600 outbreaks that occurred over the past forty years – read more here.

  • University of Arizona Extension Uses Technology to “Weed” Out the High Costs

    As more and more farmers are faced with rising operating costs and labor shortages, new options must be made available to help producers maintain production yields. Especially as organic farmers cannot use chemicals to treat weeds on their farms, farmers are stumped on alternative options.

    The University of Arizona Extension has created a new machine that will integrate technology with farming. A prototype of the new weeding machine will be able to remove weeds without contaminating the crops in any way, making sure farmers can improve profitability, sustainability, and environmental integrity of produce systems.

    The machine uses a camera-based system to differentiate between crops and weeds – see more about how the technology works here.

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Has a New Answer for Seafood Demand

    Did you know the U.S. imports more than 80 percent of its seafood? While aquaculture (fish farming) is increasing in popularity, domestic farmers find it hard to raise fish because treating waste can be an expensive and difficult process.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created an economical and green way to treat wastewater using wood chips. Filtering water from a fish tank, the wood chips naturally remove nitrogen pollutants. Finding an effective and sustainable way to treat wastewater in aquaculture will encourage more produces to raise fish domestically, helping increase food security as the seafood momentum continues.

    The woodchips are placed in a container called “bioreactors” – read more about how the system works here.

  • Tuskegee University Prevents Natural Disasters’ Impact on Crop Production

    Every year, droughts and other natural disasters impact agricultural production across the United States contributing to food insecurity and rising prices.

    To reduce droughts’ impact on crop production, Tuskegee University researched forecasting to measure long-term effects of weather patterns on crops. By monitoring weather data, farmers can manage risks in the future and form preventative measures. Not only will this increase food production, it will also stabilize produce prices when natural disasters occur.

    Did you know the research started in Tanzania? Read more about the project here.  

  • Urban Gardens Increase Food Security Among Low-Income Neighborhoods, University of California Finds

    While many households in cities have access to grocery stores with fresh fruit and vegetables, lower income neighborhoods often do not have the same opportunity. Growing an urban garden in such communities can increase access to produce and help families add to their vegetable intake.

    The University of California Cooperative Extension surveyed 85 community gardens and 50 home gardens to determine the impact of urban gardens in lower income neighborhoods. Through growing tomatoes, peppers, green peppers, and cucumbers, residents were able to double their vegetable intake. This cost-effective approach can be implemented in other cities to increase produce access and food security among lower income neighborhoods.

    Read more about the University of California Cooperative’s Extension findings here. Readers can also access the full report here.

  • Save Your Crops: LGUs Collaborate for Field Crop Disease Resource Database

    Looking for more information on field crop diseases to protect your crops? The Crop Protection Network (CPN) produces collaborative Extension research on diseases affecting field crops in both the United States and Canada. The program hopes to communicate necessary information that will not only help identifying crop field diseases, but also manage their destruction.

    Currently, there are 24 full-length publications that focus how to identify and manage corn and soybean diseases, and the program consistently adds new resources as they are produced.

    Click here to access CPN’s resources.

    Land Grant Universities involved are: Purdue University, Iowa State University, University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University Extension

  • New Oregon State University Tool Takes the Guessing Out of Planting

    With variable weather patterns, it can be tricky to know when to plant crops in order to receive the best possible harvest. Oregon State University has created a new tool, called Croptime, to help vegetable farmers take the guessing out of planting.

    Croptime uses temperature data, weather, and climate forecasts and calculates the optimal time for the planting of vegetable crops. The predictive web-based tool is currently in use in Oregon and calculates times for over 10 vegetable varieties already. The team hopes to add another 40 vegetables to the system during 2017 and spread its use. This tool will help keep accurate timing of harvests, which will lead to more profits and more product.

    Read more about how Croptime works and try it for yourself here!

  • Rutgers University is Bringing Your Favorite Specialty Peppers

    Spicy food isn’t for everyone, but the demand for hot peppers is growing in the United States.

    New Jersey and surrounding region have a very diverse and immigrant heavy population that requires unique ingredients for cooking, such as hot peppers, which may not be accessible in colder climates. And, as the hot pepper sauce industry continues to grow, demand for the hot peppers is also surging. Rutgers University’s Exotic Pepper Breeding Program is meeting that demand by growing these peppers and creating a market for them within that region.

    Not only are hot peppers more accessible now, but this opportunity will allow farmers in New Jersey to specifically grow hot peppers that other states in the northeast region are incapable of growing.

    Find out how you can get your hands on these spicy peppers!

  • The Lag in Herbicide Technology Could Affect Evolving Crops and Gardens

    Over the past decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) saw a steady decline in herbicide innovation. Due to the lack of innovation over the years, those within the EPA believe that agriculture is now behind the curve, which has led to an increase in herbicide resistance.

    Does this mean that as crops evolve they will no longer be resistance to weeds or disease?

    Many of the companies that developed herbicides did not see the benefits within their market share, but as crops have evolved to resist stronger herbicide, companies are seeing their need now more than ever. Farmers believe that they can assist with the innovation, as they see their crops evolving firsthand. With their help, not only will weeds and plant diseases be controlled, but farmers will be able to harvest and produce more crops for our growing population.

    An integrated relationship is needed between farmers and the herbicide manufacturers, and University of Arkansas discusses the details further here.

  • How the Coffee in Your Kitchen Can Benefit your Garden

    In this video below, see how the University of Wyoming Extension uses coffee grounds found in your kitchen to benefit gardens at home.

    Research has shown coffee grounds can prevent pathogenic molds from developing in your garden plants.  Click here to watch the video.

  • Winter is Coming: Can Lentils be Hardened to Grow in the Cold?

    If you’re in agriculture, you may not immediately think of lentils as something that can thrive in the winter. However, new research by Texas A&M is testing those steadfast beliefs; since Texas doesn’t get enough precipitation in the summer, the university has turned to alternative crops for cultivation.

    That’s where lentils come in. Initial studies have been using a variation of traditional lentils to test how they fare against winter wheat and canola.

    If studies prove positive, crop diversity and crop options in Texas and other sunbelt states would improve dramatically.

    Click here to read more about Dr. Emi Kimura efforts to improve crop yields in Texas. 

  • University of Maryland, College Park Helps Discover a Duplicate of the Resistance Gene Fbh1

    Nidhi Rawat, a research assistant at the University of Maryland, is part of the multi-institutional panel who discovered the cloning of a resistance gene. The Fhb1 gene’s ability to deliver broad-spectrum resistance will put a halt to the reduction in crop yield and the millions of dollars lost world wide each year.

    The resistance gene will also help aid a variety of human dietary plants such as tomato and potato plants that are affected by a fungal pathogen called Fusarium graminearum- a toxin unhealthy for human ingesting.

    Read more about it here!

  • Purdue Extension Cracks Untapped Genetic Diversity of Wild Soybeans to Enrich Cultivation

    Wild soybeans are expert survivalist due to their hard skin, however, this has proven difficult for cultivation, until now. Professor of Agronomy, Jianxin Ma at Purdue University Extension has discovered the genetic factors responsible for the soybean’s hard seed coat.

    While soybeans’ hard skin protects the bean in severe conditions, it also prevents the seed from germinating quickly and predictably, especially in different climates. This discovery will not only help scientists in the future to identify additional genes in other plants, but also help cultivate soybean diversity to improve its planting success in different regions.

    Read more about the research here!

  • Kansas State University Feed the Future Assists to Establish Agricultural Research Center in Cambodia

    Kansas State University Feed the Future received an award from the U.S. Agency of International Development to boost Cambodia’s innovation and growth in agriculture. 80% of the Cambodian population is involved in agriculture. The award will be used to establish the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and Nutrition at the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    The Feed the Future project will work with other U.S. universities, including Kansas State University, and provide an international exchange program that will help bridge international knowledge for economic growth, rural development and strengthen global food security.

    Read more here! 

  • Washington State University Biologist Develops Soybean Nitrogen Breakthrough

    Washington State University biologist Mechthild Tegeder has developed a way to exponentially increase the quality and yield of soybeans using nitrogen. This may be a way to increase food in the world as the world population continues to grow.

    Nitrogen is a macronutrient essential for plant growth and with Tegeder’s manipulation of nitrogen, she and her graduate assistant, Amanda Carter, were able to find the rate of nitrogen in order to boost the plant growth into overdrive.

    Read more about the research here!

  • Texas A&M Extension Educator Receives USDA Award

    Stephen D. Green received the 2016 Excellence in Extension Award last week for his “visionary leadership, excellence in programming and positive impact on [his] community.” Community impact is a core value of Cooperative Extension; it helps take the land-grant research and expertise and spread it across the country.

    Stephen Green is an Assistant Direct and child development expert at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Over his 15-year career Green has developed programs like Fathers Reading Every Day, a highly effective program that builds kids’ early literacy. Other teacher-facing programs like the Early Childhood Educator Online Training Program help educators with their professional development. Green is also a prolific speaker and writer, having delivered hundreds of educational presentations and authored 60 articles.

    Read more about the award here!

  • Nutrient Measurements Are Key to Soil Health

    Plants pull nutrients out of soil, that’s why fertilizer is so important; it replenishes the potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen levels to help crops thrive. But fertilizers represent a significant financial expense on a farm so producers have an incentive to use just enough to replace what was removed over the previous growing cycle.

    The University of Illinois Extension has been studying the removal rates of grain so that farmers can find the perfect balance between soil health and economic efficiency. They will present their findings in January at a regional Illinois Crop Management Conference and online. The research promises to enhance the global food supply and strengthen an economic sector that employs 21 million American workers.

    Read more about the new research here!

  • Nutrient Measurements Are Key to Soil Health

    Plants pull different nutrients out of the soil at different rates. Without fertilizer or a crop rotation, this process would eventually leave soil barren.

    The University of Illinois Extension has been studying Potassium and Nitrogen removal rates over the past three harvests to get the most up to date numbers. They will present their updated findings in January at a regional Illinois Crop Management Conference and online. The research is an update to the current University of Illinois Crop Handbook from 2009.

    Read more about the new research here!

  • Rest Assured, Pumpkin Harvest Looking Fine

    Headlines were predicting a major pumpkin shortfall this time last year as half of the crop was threatened by the combination of early rains and fast spreading diseases.

    The University of Illinois Extension reports that this year’s harvest is in much better shape. The weather has been much more forgiving, and an initially scary outbreak of downy mildew was confined to a small area of that state.

    Read more about state of the pumpkin harvest here!

  • Dry, Hot New England Weather Means Smaller But Higher Quality Harvest

    Unpredictable weather patterns leave grape growers unsure of what each yield will return. A warm and dry New England summer meant smaller yields for most grape growers in the region this year.

    Cornell University scientists found a silver lining to the reduced harvest, noting that the grapes we did get are higher quality and intensely flavored. Furthermore, dry conditions also mean fewer crop diseases. While a smaller yield is by no means ideal, there are positive effects that come from the change in weather.

    Read more here!

  • Micronutrients Play a Macro-Role in Soil Health

    While it is obvious that plants need macronutrients such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen to thrive, micronutrients like chlorine, copper, and iron are just as vital to plant health.  However, micronutrients are often overlooked and can quickly inhibit growth. The exact amount of micronutrients needed has been obscure in the past, so farmers, even the ones who do measure their soil nutrients, don’t always know which amounts they need of the different nutrients.

    Iowa State University Extension wants farmers to have the right numbers.  ISU published suggested soil micronutrients that will aid farmers in routinely measuring accurate soil nutrient levels.  The publication reports on the purpose of and amount needed for each nutrient.

    Read more here!

  • NMSU Uses Simulated Storms to Study Crop Damage From Hail

    Hailstorms can cause extensive damage to broadleaf crops. Affected farmers need accurate guidance about how to salvage the situation; is it better to the plow the damaged crop under and start over, or will the plants make a comeback?

    Israel Calsoyas at New Mexico State University College of Agriculture manages a project that is gathering this information by studying chile peppers. Calsoyas’ experiment simulates hailstorms by blasting plants with water during three different stages of the plants’ growth. This will reveal how farmers can better understand the impact of hail on their crops during different parts of the season and make more informed decisions to maximize yields.

    Read more here!

  • Meet the Agrilife Gardening Gurus

    Where can hobby gardeners turn with questions about launching and maintaining their gardens?

    The land-grant university system has valuable resources that can help, like Texas A&M Agrilife.

    AgriLife has thousands of employees and a hundred thousand volunteers who can answer any question related to gardening or farming.

    Check out this great write up about Agrilife in the Dallas Morning News!

  • University of Kentucky’s Advice on Alternative Grain Storage

    As prices drop, producers look to store their grain until prices rise again, which has led to shortages of storage space across the country.

    A recent University of Kentucky Extension article offers advice on alternative storage options. Covered outdoor piles and grain bags can effectively protect crops and minimize spoilage if the proper steps are taken. The key steps are properly drying the grain beforehand and keeping it in a well-aerated space that is protected from pests.

    Read more about alternative grain storage options here.

  • Unchartered Territory: Colorado State Begins Research Into Industrial Hemp

    Industrial hemp has a range of practical industrial applications, but Colorado farmers don’t have enough information about the crop to grow it efficiently and profitably.

    Colorado State University is conducting research (with the permission of the federal government) to determine which varieties of hemp are the best for US climates. According to the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, “Our registrants are passionate and dynamic entrepreneurs who are developing uses that weren’t imagined just a few years ago. It will be exciting to see how this industry develops in the years to come.”

    Read more about the industrial hemp research here.

  • Precision Agriculture Research To Increase Combine Efficiency

    The soybean harvest takes place every year during a short time period. Harvesting combines are expensive, and as a result, farmers have a strong incentive to boost their efficiency as much as possible.

    The latest issue of Discovery Magazine, a University of Arkansas College of Ag journal, writes about a research initiative that studied combine efficiency on three local soybean farms. Their research indicates that the largest factor in increased efficiency was the use of geo-referencing a field, which boosts precision.

    Read more about the research here.

  • Predicting Plant Diseases May Reduce Food Insecurity

    Crop losses from plant disease significantly contributes to crop losses each year, costing the US economy $60 billion a year, and reducing the global food supply. What if there was a way to predict these detrimental pathogens and be prepared for the damage they cause? MSU researchers have found an innovative way to use human medical technology to combat plant diseases.

    Michigan State University researchers from the Human Medicine, Plant Genetics and Plant Pathology departments developed a biosensor that will scan plants in the field to predict track epidemic-spreading diseases. This on the ground data can help farmers make rapid and informed management decisions in a crisis. By reducing crop loss, plant epidemiology may also offer a solution to reducing food insecurity.

    Read more about this interesting technology here!

  • Safflower: An Integrated Pest Management Success Story

    On the surface, safflower may not seem that important. But according to the Western IPM Center, safflower is actually an important plant for rejuvenating soil health. Safflower has a unique way to lower the salt levels in soil by opening up channels for salt to wash down below the root zone.

    However, safflower is extremely vulnerable to lygus bugs, and growers have a hard time protecting the plants. The University of California Cooperate Extension helped a local farmers association develop an effective integrated pest management system. They found that nearby farms were spraying for lygus at different times. As a result, the bugs survived in pockets and quickly repopulated the entire area.

    University of California’s solution was one coordinated area-wide spray. This approach protected the safflower and actually reduced the total amount of spraying that the farmers had to do.

    Read more about safflower and integrated pest management here!

  • Protecting Your Grape Harvest From The Ground Up

    You’re growing grapes to make your own wine. What do you do when birds start to feast on your precious vines? Protecting these grape harvests without sacrificing sun exposure can pose a predicament for growers.

    The University of Wyoming Extension’s “From the Ground Up” YouTube series suggests using netting. The thin mesh keeps birds away but doesn’t block sunlight from reaching leaves. It’s a simple, inexpensive, and practical solution.

    Want to try it? Watch the video here.

  • UW Extension Investigates How To Boost Recycling of Ag Plastics

    A University of Wisconsin Extension survey found that the majority of farms either landfill or burn their waste plastic due to a lack of convenient recycling programs. That translates into hundreds of millions of pounds annually in the United States.Agricultural plastics are essential for the storage and protection of high quality hay, but the widespread lack of recycling poses a problem.

    UW hopes to make recycling easier and more available for these farmers. Their survey found that nearly all respondents were willing to transport their waste for free disposal. Based on a two-year pilot study with UW-Extension Green County, Arkansas-based Revolution Plastics will be providing a free plastic recycling program in several Wisconsin counties.

    To read more about how UW-Extension plans on connecting farmers to recycling services, click here.

  • Harvest Safety Tips

    According to the International Labour Organization, there are over 150,000 workplace fatalities in agriculture across the world annually, but many of them can be prevented by following safety best practices. As harvest time is upon us, Iowa State University Extension has compiled helpful resources on farm safety.

    Some of the easiest steps to boost safety are to simply get a full night’s sleep and take regular breaks. More deliberate steps include always powering down machines before trying to clear entanglements.

    Read more here [pdf].

  • Land-Grant Universities Bolster the US Potato Genebank’s Impact

    September 13, 2016

    Land-grant universities are collaborating to support the United States Potato Genebank in its endeavors to conduct potato research, support creation of new potato varieties, and conserve specimens to overcome future growing challenges, like droughts, natural disasters, or emerging pests and diseases.

    As the most widely grown and consumed vegetable in the US, improving potato varieties will impact everything from agricultural productivity, to jobs, to consumer health.

    “The Genebank is helping sustain one of the most universally affordable and nutritious crops for future generations,” says Dr. John Bamberg, Project Leader for the US Potato Genebank. “In addition, the benefits to consumers are extensive. For example, new varieties of potatoes with higher levels of essential nutrients can promote good health of U.S. citizens.”

    Developing new potato varieties also has a huge economic impact. The value of potato production in the U.S. was around $3.9 billion in 2015, with over $1.3 billion in exports, but those numbers could soar.

    “Potatoes with a strong resistance to disease can prevent crop losses and boost profits. Ultimately, this will increase our production and exports of the vegetable, as well as French fries, chips, and frozen potato products,” Dr. Bamberg states.

    Since 1947, researchers, breeders, and farmers have relied on the U.S. Potato Genebank to collect and preserve potato specimens. In 2015, over 11,000 genetic samples from the Genebank were sent to 34 different U.S. states and ten countries.

    The land-grant universities cooperating with the U.S. Potato Genebank include:

    • Colorado State University
    • Michigan State University
    • University of Minnesota
    • North Carolina State University
    • Oregon State University
    • University of Wisconsin
    • North Dakota State University
    • University of Idaho
    • University of Arizona
    • University of Nevada
    • University of California
    • University of Florida
    • Virginia Tech
    • Washington State University
    • Texas A&M University

    About Agriculture Is America (AgIsAmerica)

    Agriculture is America is a national communications initiative to promote research and news from land-grant universities in the United States. The agriculture industry – sustained in large part by the American land-grant university system through Colleges of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Stations, and Cooperative Extension – is integral to jobs, national security, and health. To learn more, visit http://agisamerica.org

  • MSU Researchers Bringing Back a 100 Year Old Barley Crop to Bolster the Craft Beer Industry

    The huge growth of craft breweries in recent years has led to increased demand for high quality, unique ingredients. Local producers in Michigan have been trying to get their hands on Spartan barley, which had a reputation for high quality in the 1930’s but it fell out of favor after World War II. Today it is all but extinct.

    Researchers at the Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources have successfully revived the Spartan barley from a small, five gram seed sample that was saved in a USDA gene bank. They now have 10 acres of Spartan planted, and according to Michigan Live, ‘local maltsters … are anxious to give it a try.”

    Read more about the Spartan barley miracle here.

  • New Texas A&M Center to Protect Coffee Industry

    Coffee producers are having a hard time meeting the massive global demand for their product due to disease and narrow genetic diversity. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that coffee plants haven’t benefited from advanced scientific study in recent years.

    Texas A&M AgriLife Research aims to take on these challenges at their new Center for Coffee Research and Education. The Center will focus its initial efforts on quick projects where they can rapidly deliver solutions to producers.

    Read more about the research at the Center for Coffee Research website.

  • UMD Student Run Farm Teaches Economics Behind Local Food Movement

    Students who want to get involved in organic farming, farmers markets, or food trucks face a unique set of economic challenges. The skills needed to bring in a bountiful harvest don’t help when it comes to writing a business plan.

    The student-run farm at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is specifically designed to help build these commercial skillsets. According to the TerpFarm website, the project is “economically sustainable by closely following a strong business plan that transitions away from reliance on grant funds towards profitability.” The farm engages students with the economics and networks behind agriculture while supplying nutritious food to the UMD dining halls and food truck.

    Read more about how UMD students are learning on the farm in the latest issue of Edible DC.

  • UNH Brings Mobile Technology to the Dairy Farm

    New technology like drones, cloud computing and smartphones have the potential to transform many aspects of the agricultural industry. The University of New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station has harnessed mobile technology to developed a more efficient way for farmers to monitor pregnant cows during the night.

    They created a non-invasive sensor that attaches to a cow’s tail and sends a text message to a UNH employee when the cow goes into labor. It does this by measuring tail movement that is associated with a cow having contractions.

    The device was covered in a great article on Fosters.com.

  • Arkansas Extension’s Low Tech Solution to a High Tech Problem

    Farmers who use multiple pesticide technologies can have a hard time keeping track of which one is in use where. Conventional crops without herbicide technology traits could be killed if they are accidentally sprayed. The University of Arkansas Extension Service developed a cheap and easy solution to help farmers juggle multiple technologies: colored flags.

    The approach, called “Flag the Technology” essentially demarcates fields with colored bicycle flags that are color-coded to indicate what kind of pesticides are used on which crops.

    According to a recent blog post from the University of Missouri Extension, the use of Flag the Technology is spreading across the Midwest and South.

    Kevin Bradley of Missouri Extension explained how the system helps farmers: “When they pull into a field to apply herbicide, the flags help to assure them that they have the right chemical in their tank to match the traits in that field . . . Also, they might be able to look at fields across the road, and if there are different colored flags in nearby fields, then we hope applicators will think twice before spraying in windy conditions.”

    Read more about Flag the Technology on the University of Arkansas Extension website.

  • It’s Time for Gardeners to Plan for the Next Season

    As we head into September, it is time for gardeners to start prepping for changes in the weather.

    The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service has put together a helpful checklist to get you started. There are tips about how to protect your soil from snowfall, storing tools, and planning for the next season. Taking basic steps now, like turning compacted soil and mulching, will help your soil next spring.

    Download the fall & winter gardener checklist on the University of Alaska website here.

     

  • Alabama Extension Specialist Offers Drought Tips for Horse Owners

    The limited water and high temperatures that often accompany droughts can pose a threat to horses’ health.

    Alabama Cooperative Extension specialist Dr. Courteney Holland compiled some helpful tips for how much your horses should be eating (and drinking), and how to help them cope with the heat.

    Check it out here!

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Helps Breweries And Cideries Hone Their Craft

    The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is home to a vibrant community of craft breweries and cideries. Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) works to enhance this sector’s productivity and has joined forces with industry leaders to provide  resources for the area’s brewers, malters, and grain growers.

    With CCE’s help, the Finger Lake’s region has gotten advice on avoiding potential pitfalls, the growing basics and cidery set up,  legal and supply chain analysis, and more.

    This research and advice were on display at the second annual Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Conference hosted by CCE of Seneca County in Seneca, New York.

    Noel McCarthy, a resident from the area and home brewer who attended the conference, stated: “I heard from brewers, grain growers, and educators, and all the other kinds of people in the industry about trends and best practices they see across the state, it’s given me a better sense of how everything fits together.”

    The research and shared expertise promoted a collaborative culture between attendees and speakers. It had a personal feel as educators, growers, and scientists shared their stories and experiences with participants, and provided good insight for those in the industry.

    Read more here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Student-Run Organic Farm Thrives at Iowa State University

    The student-run organic farm at Iowa State University, which emerged in the 1990s, has continued to bond the community through the shared passion of farming, writes Iowa Public Radio.

    The farm runs on a Community Supported Agriculture model. Members who donate their time to farming get boxes of fresh and nutritious produce. “It’s hands-on learning, it’s just-in-time learning, it’s eating what you’ve just learned to do,” said advisor Mary Weidenhoeft. “And so that’s why the student organic farm is really unique.”

    The land grant from Iowa State University has given students the opportunity to grow food, manage a business, and get other’s engaged.  The surplus produce grown at the organic farm is donated to those in need within the community, allowing students to understand the importance of giving back. Within a season, students will grow up to 40 different vegetables and fruits, showing other students the importance of fresh, organic produce.

    Read more here!

     

     

     

  • Penn State: Land-Grant Programs Help Keep Farmers on the Farm

    Penn State  teamed up with Texas A&M – Galveston to measure the impact of the land-grant system over past decades. They found that cooperative extension programs have helped over 137,000 farmers stay in business since the 1980’s.

    The cooperative extension program started in 1914 with the Smith-Lever Act, and has had a profound impact as a job creator, according to the researchers. “Compared to the costs of other job creation programs, cooperative extension is a remarkably good investment,” said Stephan Goetz of Penn’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “Over our 26-year sample, this federal spending amounted to only $265 per farmer per year, while agricultural research spending added another $140.”

    Read more here!

  • When Plants Are Cut, They Bleed, Sort Of

    Do plants bleed after a cut?

    A researcher from the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources looked into this and solved one of the mysteries of plant biology. After a cut, a plant directs nutrients to the incision to section the area off and protect the rest of the plant. This is similar to what happens with clotting in the human body.

    A plant transmits information and minerals through holes in the cell walls, which is called plasmodesmata. Plasmodesmata is guarded by a glucose-like wall, which constrict and open the passages to control the flow within a plant’s cells.

    The research was conducted by Weier Cui for her Ph.D. thesis, it was published in the journal Nature Plants.

    Read more here!

  • University of IL: Container Gardening

    A small space doesn’t have to limit gardening potential.

    A University of Illinois Extension educator recommends container gardening for people without outdoor availability for plants.

    Extension educator, Ken Johnson, explains different containers, such as pots, buckets, milk cartons and shoes can be used to grow plants with essential basic needs.

    As long as a container is able to hold water and has drainage pathways available, it can be used to grow plants.

    To find out more about container gardening, click here.
  • Wildfire effects on various grasses

    A Kansas State professor in agronomy offered advice for farmers on how to respond to fires.

    Walter Fick said it’s difficult to treat every fire the same since each has different effects.

    Fick said short grasses, like blue grama, might be impacted greatly by wildfires. In comparison, rhizomatous grasses, like Indiangrass, would recover easier, especially if they grow deep into the soil.

    If you want to learn more, click here

  • Growers cautioned to be on the lookout for invasive pigweeds

    Pennsylvania farmers face a new threat.

    Palmer amaranth and waterhemp have invaded the state. These two pigweeds can harm crop yields up to 91 percent.

    Researchers at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences recommend farmers exercise complete control over possible outbreaks.

    But since these pigweeds grow at fast rates, they can often become difficult to control.

    To read more about the danger facing Pennsylvania farmers, click here.

  • More Than 10,000 Ohio Farmers Have Received Water Quality Training From Ohio Extension

    Ohio State Extension trained 10,000 farmers in the last year in fertilizer best practices that optimize yeild and minimize runoff. The Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training program helps their bottom line and improves water quality throughout the greater water system.

    The program aims to help Ohio farmers meet new regulatory standards. The 2014 agricultural fertilization law requires 50+ acre farms to reach a heightened certification level by 2017. According to the USDA, the average Ohio farm is 188 acres.

    Read more here!

     

  • Penn State: Engineers Working on a Better Blueberry Picker

    Penn State engineers are working on a research project that could boost efficiency for the blueberry harvest. The project is being pursued in collaboration with 14 researchers from the University of California-Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Georgia, Michigan State University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Penn State and Washington State University.

    The blueberry industry in the United States has experienced a sort of Renaissance over the past three decades, as total production has increased fourfold. This makes for a huge opportunity for innovators who can improve on the current harvest method: hand picking.

    “The overall goal … is to advance harvest efficiency and improve postharvest handling of fresh-market highbush blueberries by developing a scale-neutral harvest-aid system and advanced sensor technologies,” said Charlie Li, the principal investigator.

    Read more here!

  • NMSU Researcher Develops Method for Cloning Pecan Rootstock

    A New Mexico State University researcher has developed an innovative new method for cloning pecan rootstock.

    The discovery by a research associate at the NMSU Department of Entomology, Plane Pathology, and Weed Science will result in greater pecan yields for farmers.

    The aim is to clone a pecan rootstock that will be ideal for growing conditions in the Southwest. This will be distributed to farmers to make pecan farming easier.

    Read more here!

  • CSU-Led Team Highlights Ways to Address Global Food System Challenges

    Megan Schinpanski, an assistant professor at Colorado State University is exploring how to increase food production for a growing global population.

    Schnipanski’s research looked at food access disparities where the problem is less about the amount of food and more on poverty and the access of resources.

    Read more here!

  • MSU: Preventing sidewall compaction in field crops

    Michigan State University Extension released tips to help with sidewall compaction.

    The current wet soil conditions will result in sidewall compaction. MSU Extension recommends taking preventive measures since once sidewall compaction occurs it can’t be undone.

    The most effective step is to wait for proper soil moisture conditions before planting. Other recommendations include leaving some crop residence to delay soil drying and opening of the seeds, use seed firmers, and adding one spoke closing wheel to break up compaction.

    Read more here!

     

  • New Cantaloupe, Pumpkin, and Acorn Squash Seeds Developed at UNH Now Available

    A researcher at the University of New Hampshire develops new seeds for cantaloupes, pumpkins, and acorn squash.

    Brent Loy, working as a NH Agricultural Experiment Station researcher, has created more than 70 new types of pumpkin, squash, melon, and gourd seeds. These seeds are can be purchased throughout the world through seed catalogs.

    Among his creations include two new cantaloupe varieties, and a Naked Bear pumpkin, which is a hull-less pumpkin, resilient to powdery mildew disease. Two other white pumpkins were released to the market in conjunction with Seneca Vegetable Research. The team at UNH also released three strands of acorn squash with higher starch content than standard squash.

    The National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the U.S Department of Agriculture jointly fund this research at UNH.

    Read more here!

     

     

  • UC Davis Studies the Effects of a Grapevine’s Environment

    Dr. Dario Cantu joins the Viticulture and Enology Department at UC Davis in order to study how the environment is causing diseases on grapevines.
    The Cantu Lab has discovered how these diseases lead to noble rot, eventually impacting grape metabolism and disrupting the flavor development in winemaking. Dr. Cantu hopes to detect these diseases faster, develop immunization procedures to protect the vines, and control our fruit ripening.
    Read more here!
  • USDA Announces $4.7 Million Available in Grants for Food Safety Training, Outreach and Technical Assistance

    The Department of Agriculture plans to offer nearly 5 million dollars in new grants for food safety training, sponsored through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  These grants are meant to help the owners of small to mid-sized farms, disadvantaged farmers, and small fresh fruit and vegetable wholesalers comply with food safety guidelines created by the Food Safety Modernization Act.

    NIFA will fund pilot projects, community outreach projects, and multi-state educational projects to support the development of food safety concerns.

    Read more here!

     

  • UF / IFAS Researchers Expand Muscadine Grape Market

    University of Florida researchers aim to increase demand for muscadine grapes by building awareness.

    Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences studied the public’s knowledge of muscadine grapes. The respondents familiar with muscadine grapes were more open and creative with food selection and preparation.

    Researchers at IFAS also reported the high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants in muscadines make them the next potential “super fruit”.

    Read more here!

  • UF / IFAS researchers: Florida Sees Dramatic Increase in School Gardens

    Florida students and teachers reap the benefits of school gardens. A recent study by the University of Florida claims school gardens introduce fresh produce to the classroom as well as giving students real-world experience with science and nutrition concepts.

    The gardens also allow teachers to introduce lessons in a interactive manner to reach students who might not perform as well in traditional classroom settings. There are approximately 1,300 school gardens in Florida.

    Read more here!

  • Cooperative Extension Programs Help Farmers Stay in Business

    In a recent study from Penn State University, federal cooperative extension programs were credited with assisting more than 137,000 farmers remain in business since the mid 1980s. The study also showed how extension programs act as job stimulants and allows farmers to communicate information effectively with one another.

    The Cooperative Extension System has a long history of helping America’s farmers.

    In the 102 years since the Cooperative Extension System was created with the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, farmers and small business owners have received vital agricultural information.

     

  • UF/IFAS Research May Help Expand Avocado Production

    A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher has identified the true hybrids of the Hass and Bacon avocado variants. The project suggests that Hass-like avocados can thrive in Florida’s climate.

    A particular focus was placed on selecting hybrids that are resistant to laurel wilt, which kills avocados and has been causing concern in Florida.

    Read more here!

  • UNH Finds Benefits of Growing Peppers in High Tunnel Greenhouses

    Researchers at the University of New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station recently concluded trials to determine which varieties of bell peppers do best in the unheated environment of a high tunnel greenhouse.

    “Growing peppers in unheated high tunnels permits the production of very high quality colored fruit,” said UNH’s Becky Sideman. “Colored bell peppers have the potential to be a profitable, alternative crop for New Hampshire farmers, although a number of factors such as infrastructure costs, marketable yield, and market prices need to be considered.”

    Sideman and the UNH team saw pepper yields ranging from 46,000 to 66,600 pounds per acre, which is more than double the typical field-pepper yield.

    Read more here!

  • NDSU: A Heads-up for a Dry Summer, Plan Forage Production Now

    North Dakota State University Extension Service advises ranchers to plan ahead for a dry summer. Kris Ringwall, a Beef Specialist at NDSU, outlines the benefits of Dry Lot and Oats in a recent “Beef Talk” blog post.

    Read more here!

  • UF: Avocado Tree-Destroying Pathogen Spreading

    University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences warns that laurel wilt has been reported in all but 6 of the state’s 67 counties, and is expected to spread. UF experts recommend maintaining the health of your avocado trees with proper fertilizer and irrigation. If you suspect that some of your trees are infected with laurel wilt contact the Florida Division of Plant Pathology. Do not attempt to move infected trees unless burning / burying them at a local landfill.

    Read more here!

  • VSU Receives $1.6 Million to Assist Virginia Farmers

    Virginia State University’s College of Agriculture has received seven federal and state grants totaling over $1.6 million. The grants included four federal, two from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, and one grant from Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

    The funding will be used in the university’s land-grant outreach and research missions. Research projects consist in a variety of diverse fields. Included in the research is both the studies of crops and meat production.

    Crop research includes the study of hops for beer, soybeans, hemp, and berries. Livestock research will be used to identify safer, more humane slaughter methods for sheep and goats. Other funds will be used to study genomes for farming and to develop new education techniques.

    Read more here!

  • Implications of Corn and Soybean Planting Progress

    As Spring arrives, a University of Illinois agricultural economist predicts how successful will this year’s corn and soybean market be!

    Learn how much time and planning goes into harvesting corn and soybeans.

    Read more here!

  • USDA Grant Expands UNH Research on Managing Parasitic Roundworms

    University of New Hampshire researcher Rick Cote has received a grant from the USDA to expand his research on roundworms. Cote and his team are hopeful that their research will lead to the discovery of pesticides that will combat these agricultural pests. The work will be in collaboration with Valerie Williamson, professor of entomology at UC Davis.

    Parasitic roundworms infest 2,000 species of plants and are one of the most damaging groups of roundworms to crops. Crops like corn, cotton, wheat, soybean, rice, and potato are particularly vulnerable to the pest.

    Research by Cote, Williamson, and their research teams will discover new nematicides to eliminate the roundworms without adverse effects on the agricultural ecosystem.

    Read more here!

  • Gray Water Recycling has Part in Efficiency

    A researcher at the Mississippi State University Department of Landscape Architecture is pushing for increased recycling of gray water.

    Gray water is any water that comes in contact with humans. This includes water used for showers, washing dishes, and other daily activities.

    MSU says gray water is perfect for use in gardening and agriculture.

    Read more here!

  • Oregon State: Have a Date With Your Shrub Before Getting Out the Clippers

    Spring’s arrival signals gardening season. Are you pruning your plants properly? Oregon State’s Extension program is offering helpful tips to keep your garden in tip-top shape this Spring.

    Different plants and shrubbery require their own pruning techniques. However, constant pruning is unhealthy for plants. It’s important to keep the plant size and blooms in mind before cutting back a plant.

    Read more here!

  • UNH Scientists Investigate How Droughts Impact Northern Forests

    Researchers at the University of New Hampshire Ag Experiment Station have launched a multiyear program targeted at understanding the impact of droughts on Northern forests.

    This research will allow scientists to understand the effect of climate change on forest health, productivity and hydrology, and will enable researchers to make decisions ensuring the sustainability of forests and water resources in the future. The team hopes to simulate a 55 percent reduction in annual growing season precipitation, determined after a review of 100 years of precipitation records.
    Read more here!

  • UVM’s goCrop Software Improves Farm-Based Nutrient Management Planning

    The University of Vermont Extension has developed new software that helps farmers produce high-yield, high-quality crops. GoCrop allows farmers to track a field’s soil fertility and nutrition. This easy-to-use app can be accessed online and all information is stored in a cloud database system.

    Over 200 Vermont farms have been using the app since its 2012 release. The app also helps farmers save money and maintain high water quality. UVM also launched a series of courses for farmers that, in conjunction with the app, allow farmers to learn about nutrient management and the impact of water quality on crops.

    Read more here!

  • Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Without Soil Data, Crop Insurance Pricing is a Bust

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture first authorized Federal Crop Insurance in the 1930s to protect farmers ravaged by the Dust Bowl. Federal Crop Insurance provides farmers with some economic protection for the enormous risks that comes with the job of growing crops, from unpredictable weather to rampant pests. However, this insurance doesn’t take into account one of the most crucial aspects to farming: soil.

    Soil type and quality have a significant impact on crop yield, but the USDA does not integrate soil data into calculations that determine insurance rates. By not accounting for this in determining these premiums, the government’s models are imprecise. By matching insurance data with soil information, Federal Crop Insurance could become more efficient and beneficial to each farmer.

    Read more here!

  • UNH Research on Growing Spinach in Winter Going Strong

    An ongoing study into the production of spinach during winter months is filling the void in research that could help New Hampshire growers tackle the area’s short growing season and boost the local economy.

    The study is being conducted at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, the University of New Hampshire’s original research center, and is funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Eight different spinach varieties are being tested in terms of yield, sugar content, ease of harvest and average leaf size measurements across six different time points in order to create recommendations and even target planting dates to help growers make the most of their resources.

    Read more here!

  • Penn State: Fruits, Vegetables, ‘Farm-to-Fork Continuum’ Vital to Cancer Prevention

    Research for decades has focused on boosting yields, and improving the appearance of fruits, vegetables and grains. A cancer researcher at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Ag Sciences says it’s time to focus on ways to boost the health benefits these foods can provide.

    Read more here!

  • Auburn/ Alabama A&M: Farmers Wait for Warmer Soil Temperatures

    As spring approaches,  Alabama Extension is offering tips to take advantage of prime planting season. Recent warm temperatures might make it tempting to begin planting early, but Alabama Extension encourages waiting until warm weather settles in before starting your garden.

    The disadvantages of planting in cool soil include low yields, slow growth, and higher susceptibility to insect and weed damage. Because of these risks, the safest time to plant is generally mid-March-April or May in most places.

    Alabama Extension encourages planters to check soil temperatures by placing a meat thermometer 2″ below the soil. Using the temperature and a warm 7-day forecast, the best planting decisions can be made.

    Read more here!

  • UW-Madison: Even Cows are “Texting”

    Automatic milking technology has been around for a number of years, but newer systems are able to do much more to keep farmers updated about their livestock.

    Douglas J. Reinemann, professor and chair of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at UW–Madison and a milking equipment/energy specialist with UW–Extension, explains that new mobile apps allow the computer milking the cow to send updates to farmers, like if a cow produced less milk than expected, if a cow didn’t show up to be milked, or even if a milking machine isn’t working properly, and so much more.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS to Hop Into Hops Varieties for Microbreweries

    With the explosion in popularity of craft beer and micro-brewing, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers hope to take advantage of the trend by cultivating hops in Florida.

    ​Currently, more than 2 million pounds of hops are imported from places like Washington, Oregon and Germany. With hops grown in Florida, the resulting beer would have a unique flavor generated from the state’s special soil and climate.

    ​Read more here!

  • Invasive Superweed Johnsongrass is the Target of a USDA-Funded Collaborative Research Effort

    A $5M grant from the U.S Department of Agriculture will find new ways to combat Johnsongrass, a troublesome agricultural weed.

    This five year project will include help from researchers from Virginia, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. The new information may lead to new management strategies and provide farmers with more options to stop the stubborn weed. Johnsongrass was introduced to the U.S in the 1800s and is responsible for millions of dollars lost in agricultural revenue every year.

    Read more here!

  • UCANR and CDFA Researchers Make Progress In Fight Against Stink Bugs

    University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (URANR) and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) researchers are developing a biological method of pest control to combat the threat posed by brown marmorated stink bugs. The team are rearing Asian wasp Trissolcus japonicas in quarantine, which is a species that co-evolved in China as the natural control to the stink bug population.

    This work funded by a CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program grant is vital in safeguarding California’s $54B agricultural economy, as the parasites have caused great damage to crops on the east coast.

    Read more here!

  • UF-IFAS: Find Out When to Plant with the Florida Fresh App

    The University of Florida – Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has rolled out a new app to help gardeners determine the optimal time to plant various types of produce. The user-friendly app, “Florida Fresh”, can be downloaded for free on any smart phone device. After downloading, just enter your zip code to get up-to-date planting information.

    Not only does the app include planting tips, but it also provides information on the availability and nutritional value of different fruits and vegetables. This makes it easier to both grow and buy fresh, local produce.

    Read more here!

  • Why are my Grape Vines Stunted? OSU Smartphone App has the Answers

    With grape growing season approaching, Oregon State University (OSU) has developed a new, free smart phone app to help grape growers have a successful yield. One of the best aspects of the app? You don’t need to be a professional grape grower to take advantage of this new technology. Its uses are beneficial to winemakers and home growers.

    The app’s purpose is to manage and identify issues with vines. It provides pictures and in-depth information to help growers identify vine issues. Once the issue is identified, it also gives resources to manage the problem and maximize yields. Among the issues this diagnostic tool helps identify include early frost, herbicide drift, water stress, nutrient deficiency, and disease.

    Read more here!

  • UNL-IANR: Maximize Yields With New Program

    An assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources (UNL-IANR) has developed a free, web-based program that condenses the latest climate, soil and crop modeling technologies into an interactive tool farmers can use to help plan their business. Guillermo Baigorria, in his role as a Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute Faculty Fellow, has launched CropClimate which allows users to input the data of different environmental situations and so maximize yields.

    With CropClimate’s potential to increase production, reduce risk and conserve resources, this launch will be of great interest to a number of groups, from farmers and policymakers through to seed agrochemical and insurance companies.

    Find out more here!

  • UF/IFAS Scientists Present Plant Diagnostic Data at D.C. Conference

    Researchers met recently at the 4th National Plant Diagnostic Network in Washington, D.C. to help shed light on potentially devastating plant issues.

    Researcher Jason Smith of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Plant Diagnostic Center shed light on the importance of this issue and discussed ways to control the spread of the pathogen Laurel Wilt, as it could severely impact Florida’s $100 million-a-year avocado industry.

    Read more here!

  • Crowdfunding Studies Instrumental in Securing Five-Year USDA Grant

    Martin Nielsen, parasitologist, veterinarian and assistant professor at the UK Gluck Equine Research Center, has given a glimpse into the future of scientific research funding after winning a $2.1M 5-year grant from USDA.

    The money was awarded after Nielsen raised over $12,000 through crowdfunding to conduct lab tests with collaborators that supported his proposal. Working with teams across other universities nationwide, Nielsen will lead the equine arm of a project that will help develop and test a new bacterial agent for parasite control among farm animals.

    This research will also be of medical importance as over 1.5 billion people globally suffer from parasite infection.

    Read more here!

  • UNL Researchers Identify Target of Disease-Causing Plant Pathogens

    A team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers led by Jim Alfano at the Center for Plant Science Innovation and Department of Plant Pathology have published their findings into the work of the bacterial pathogens that target a plant’s immune system. Their study centered on the pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and its method of injecting the protein HopE1 into plant cells which through a series of reactions ultimately compromises the plant’s immune system.

    The research into HopE1 is part of the team’s larger work to identify new components in plant immunity. An improved understanding of the defense mechanisms of plants would pave the way to improved disease resistance of crops and therefore increase crop quality and yield.

    Read more here!

  • USDA: Shiitake Mushrooms: A Commercial Forest Farming Enterprise

    Forest-grown mushrooms not only generates tasty food, but also produces the most reliable and profitable non-timber products in the forest farming system.

    Over the years, people have become more interested in forest-cultivation, and now Cornell University is currently working on informing farmers on methods like mushroom cultivation.

    Read more here!

  • National Drink Wine Day: UC Davis: Winery Wastewater a Viable Water Source For Vineyards

    University of California, Davis scientists look into winery wastewater, in hopes of finding smart and eco-friendly ways to irrigate vines.

    Researchers have studied winery wastewater samples from 18 wineries in the Napa and Lodi regions of California for nearly two years.

    The information is the first data to support the California wine industry’s reuse of treated winery wastewater.

    Read more here!

  • Happening Today: Congressional Hearing on Citrus Greening

    A group of Congressional lawmakers are holding a forum today to investigate the status of USDA research on citrus greening. The Congressional Citrus Caucus has invited USDA officials including Mike Gregoire (associate administrator of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service), Mary Palm (national coordinator for Citrus Pest Programs), and Sonny Ramaswamy (director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture).

    Reps. Tom Rooney (FL), David Valadao (CA) and Filemon Vela (TX) chair the Citrus Caucus. The forum will take place at 1:30 pm in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill.

     

    Read more here!

  • National Almond Day: UNL: 5 Ways to Make a Healthier Trail Mix

    Tackle health issues like lowering your blood pressure and fueling your body with the nutrients it needs,by making a healthy trail mix that fits you!

    Simply add any whole grains, dried fruit and protein like; cashew, almonds, or pumpkin seeds. With portion control, you can also add sweets to your trail mix.

    A healthy severing can help supply your body with proteins and essential vitamins.

    Read more here!

  • WSU: New White Wine Irrigation Techniques

    Washington State University’s viticulturists are changing the grape-growing game. Their research is developing new ways to conserve water and improve the production of white wine grapes.

    In the arid areas of Washington, efficient irrigation techniques are key to white wine grape production. This is especially important for Washington where chardonnay and riesling grapes account of 75% of the state’s wine production.

    Aside from merely studying various irrigation methods used around the world, WSU is putting new irrigation strategies to the test. The researchers are assessing three decision aid tools for irrigation scheduling.

    Read more here!

  • VT: Susan Duncan Named Associate Director of Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station

    Virginia Tech professor Susan Duncan has been named associate director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station.

    Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, created in 1886, is at the forfront of key, innovative research in the ag sector. It also works in conjunction with Virginia Cooperative Extension to create and maintain science-based applications to guarantee the use of agricultural, natural, and community resources in an economic and environmentally sound capacity that enhances the quality of life.

    Not only will Duncan be overseeing the experiment station and 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers around the state, she will also be heading major research initiatives through the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station in her new role.

    Read more here!

  • UGA: Smart Irrigation Techniques

    University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is getting the word out about smarter irrigation strategies. By developing cost-effective, easy to use water saving tools, UGA is hoping to increase the number of farmers using irrigation scheduling.

    Currently, only 10-20% of Georgia farmers use irrigation scheduling.

    UGA Cooperative Extension is researching ways to provide farmers with both the techniques and the knowledge to implement water-saving irrigation plans through smart phone apps and web tools like IrrigatorPro.

    Read more here!

  • Montana State: Developed Wheat Seed Fighting Pest

    Montana State University’s Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) has been working with scientists at the Northwestern Agricultural Research Center to fight a major pest that has been destroying wheat yields throughout Montana.

    The tiny orange Wheat Midge has had devastating consequences for Montana farmers, destroying crops and costing producers millions of dollars. In 2007, most farmers had stopped growing spring wheat and by 2009, Wheat Midge was detected throughout the state.

    MSU has developed a new breed of Spring Wheat, Egan, to fight the Wheat Midge’s destruction. Egan has high grain protein, strong yield potential, and is resistant to wheat disease. Because of its SM1 gene, Egan is blended with 10 percent of a non-resistant variety to prevent the Wheat Midge from developing resistance. Egan is now available to producers in a certified blend.

     

    Read more here!

  • University of California – Davis: Endive Farmer Attributes Success to Ag College

    Rich Collins graduated from UC Davis in 1983 and now operates a successful business, California Endive Farms. In a recent profile, Collins attributes part of his success to the start he got at the California agricultural college.

    In particular, Collins remembers a feasibility study he undertook his freshman year that focused on the farming operation he dreamed of one day creating. Today, Collins is the only commercial grower of the Belgian variety of endive in the U.S. His farm employs 65 people year round.

     

    Read more here!

  • UF & FSU Share $4M Grant to Fight Bacterium Causing Premature Greening

    The University of Florida and Florida State University are sharing a $4 Million USDA grant to tackle citrus greening, a disease that moves through a tree’s veins.

    Since citrus greening was first detected in 2005, Florida has lost over $7 billion in revenues, 162,000+ acres, and nearly 8,000 jobs. Researchers at UF and FSU are hoping to use the grant to find new, more effective techniques to combat the issue.

    Read more here!

  • Berkeley to Lead $12.3M Study of Crop Drought Tolerance

    UC Berkeley is set to lead a $12.3 million project to explore how epigenetics can allow plants to better survive drought conditions. The project is funded by the Department of Energy, and comes at an important time for water security in California.

    The researchers at UC Berkeley will be working with scientists at UC Agriculture andNatural Resources, the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, and the Pacific Northwest National Lab.

    The grant was announced on Monday and will fund the project for five years.

    Read more here!

  • Oregon State Extension: Get Indoor Pests to Bug Off Without Chemicals

    Insects lurking under leaves, climbing up stems and settling into the soil of houseplants frustrate indoor gardeners to no end.

    But there are answers, according to Amy Dreves, an entomologist with Oregon State University’s Extension Service.

    “Winter is a good time to check indoor plants for sap-sucking insects like mites, thrips, mealybugs, scales, whiteflies and aphids,” she said. “Spotting problems and responding to them early can keep populations from exploding.”

    Dreves suggests a number of strategies to keep your indoor pests at bay without resorting to chemical controls.

    Read more here!

  • Montana State University: Producers Who Grow Cover Crops Cite Soil Health as Main Reason

    According to MSU researchers, producers throughout the state grow cover crops primarily for their benefits to soil health. These findings come from a recent survey that looked at how ag producers’ manage cover crops.

    The survey was led by researchers including Clain Jones, Perry Miller and Cathy Zabinski. In addition to soil-health considerations, the study has revealed that forage is also an important rationale for cover crops for many producers. 30% of surveyed producers cite grazing as one of the reasons they plant cover crops.

    Read more here!

     

  • University of Delaware: UD Research May Lead to New Control for Devastating Rice Disease

    University of Delaware plant researchers are making scientific progress towards combatting a fungus (Magnaporthe Oryzae) that can devastate rice plants.

    The work is being lead by Harsh Bais, associate professor of plant and soil sciences in University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    The findings were recently published in Frontiers in Plant Sciences and in Current Opinion in Plant Biology.

    Read more here!

  • Family & Consumer Sciences Extension: Making a Difference

    The North Central Cooperative Extension Association (NCCEA) has released a new study, prepared in conjunction with the research organization Battelle, that showcases the importance of Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) Extension.

    FCS Extension offers programming by Cooperative Extension, which provides non-formal education from the nation’s land-grant universities to help Americans develop skills to live healthier and more productive lives.

    Read more here!

  • Louisiana State University: Fertilize Some Winter Plants

    Most plants are fertilized during spring. But on this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill explains why some plants need to be fertilized during winter. 

    Watch the video here!

  • Auburn University: New Soil Measurement Could Boost Production, Conservation

    What’s your SQI? Auburn University researchers are working to ensure that this is a common question among the state’s farmers.

    Charles Mitchell, a professor in the College of Agriculture Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department and an Alabama Extension agronomist, explained that Alabama’s SQI (Soil Quality Index) —the first of its kind in the South—is a new measurement of soil health that can help farmers improve their crop production and help conserve natural resources.

    “We want our soils to be healthy enough to grow row crops, fruits and vegetables and forages,” said Mitchell. “This index can be reviewed every few years to ensure that your soils are improving.”

    It’s a great project, and a fantastic closing note on the 2015 International Year of Soils.

    Read more here!

  • University of Georgia: Poinsettia History

    In addition to being a holiday favorite, Poinsettias are actually the best selling potted plant in the United States. The University of Illinois Cooperative Extension recently compiled a list of interesting Poinsettias to think about this holiday season:

    • Greenhouse producers grew about 33.2 million poinsettias, worth about $141 million, in 2014, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.
    •  Poinsettias are named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, a scientist who would go on to help found the Smithsonian Institution before his death in 1851.
    • California and North Carolina top the nation in poinsettia production, growing 6.7 million and 4.6 million plants per year, respectively, but Georgia growers also turn out hundreds of thousands of poinsettias each year.

    Read more here!

  • Iowa State University: Caring for Poinsettias

    Poinsettias are the most popular potted flower in the United States, but taking care of these festive plants can sometimes be challenging!

    Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturalists put together this useful FAQ on caring for your poinsettias. Click through the link below to see answers to these questions:

    • Why is my poinsettia dropping some of its leaves? 
    • My poinsettia suddenly wilted and died. Why?
    • Small, white insects flutter about my poinsettia when I water the plant. What are they and how do I control them? 

    Read more here!

  • Kansas State University Researcher Seeks New Ways to Battle Johnsongrass

    Noxious weeds can be an irritable part of daily life for many farmers, but what if that weed is closely related to one of the most important crops grown in the United States? Johnsongrass fits this profile, and it is closely related to the important grain Sorghum. The close relationship between the two plants complicates the eradication of Johnsongrass.

    Kansas State University’s Michael Smith, a professor of entomology, is leading a five year research project supported by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find genetic material in Johnsongrass to help fight the noxious weed.

    The program is called “Principles underlying the success of the weedy invader Sorghum halepense (‘Johnsongrass’) toward its containment and mitigation.”

    Read more here!

  • Delaware State University Awarded Almost $900,000 in USDA Grants

    Delaware State University’s College of Agriculture and Related Sciences was recently awarded almost $900,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture grant funding to help support research, teaching and cooperative extension programs. 

    The funding to DSU was part of a larger package of more than $18 million that the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has recently distributed through 53 competitive grants to support research, teaching, and extension activities at 1890 historically black land-grant colleges and universities.

    The grant awarded to DSU will go toward three specific projects:

    • “The Development of Epigenomic Tools in Legumes – Global Understanding of Biotic Stress Methylomes and Transcriptomes in Common Beans.”
    • “Nanomaterial Detection in Food, Water and Environmental Waste by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry.”
    • “Collaborative Initiative to Assess and Develop Intervention Programs to Combat Obesity among Low-Income Families.”

    Read more here!

  • Agriculture Projects Help Auburn Earn National Innovation Award

    The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities has named Auburn University the winner of the 2015 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University prize. The award recognized several innovative projects, including an effort to establish an off-bottom oyster-culture industry along the Alabama coast.

    Auburn won in the “place” category for excellence in the field of community, social and cultural development work. 

    Auburn University contributes $5.1 billion per year to Alabama’s economy, and supports 23,600 jobs. Auburn was one of 18 universities named to the APLU third annual class of Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities.

    Read more here!

  • Virginia Tech’s John Munsell Awarded $1.4 million for Agroforestry Projects

    Virginia Cooperative Extension associate professor John Munsell, a forest management specialist, was recently awarded $1.4 million to expand the use agroforestry to complement farm and forest production. Agroforestry is a land use management system that uses trees in conjunction with crops to create more diverse and productive land use systems.

    Professor Munsell will use the funding to integrate agroforestry practives into Virginia’s water quality trading program.

    “The objective is to increase tree-based nutrient offset opportunities on farmland in Virginia’s region of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and beyond,” Munsell told the Augusta Free Press.

    Read more here!

     

  • OK State University: OSU Cooperative Extension given USDA dollars for irrigation project

    Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension received a $775,000 for irrigation management technology. The funding was part of the over $20 million that USDA awarded to 45 projects.

    “Recent advances in sensing and telecommunication technologies have made it possible for agricultural producers to utilize sensor-collected information on various parameters (e.g. soil moisture content, canopy temperature, etc.) to fine-tune their irrigation scheduling and minimize possible water losses,” said Saleh Taghvaeian, a water resources specialist on the Oklahoma State University project.

    Read more here!

  • Multistate Project Manages Invasive Weeds in Wheat

    The multistate Research and Extension Project WERA 77 was formed to find sustainable and economical ways to combat weeds in wheat. Coordination of the research and extension efforts has facilitated the rapid transmission of new knowledge to growers.

    The project has provided the tools for quicker identification of weed species and this has allowed more targeted herbicide applications that prevent outbreaks.

    Read more here!

  • Berkeley to Lead $12.3M Study of Drought Tolerant Crops

    Researchers at Cal Berkeley won a grant to study Sorghum cultivation in drought conditions. Researchers hope to learn more about how Sorghum adjusts to different climates and how the crop survives without water for extended periods of time. The study will focus on the plant’s genetics and specific traits that are expressed over a three year period.

    Read more here!

  • NDSU to Hold Irrigation Workshops

    The North Dakota State University Extension Service is holding irrigation workshops Dec. 10 in Bismarck and Dec. 16 in Williston.

    “The drought in California and its impact on high-value irrigated crops have been in the news for the past year,” says Extension water quality and irrigation specialist Tom Scherer. “This has raised concerns about fresh water supplies throughout the U.S. Irrigators in California and many other states have been using more technology to fine-tune their management of allocated water, resulting in less pumped water with equal yields. Better irrigation management technologies are the focus of these workshops.”

    Read more here!

  • Pumpkin Science at UC Davis

    Scientists at UC Davis are researching pumpkins to better understand how parts of a plant communicate. The researchers have already made several important breakthroughs including genome sequencing and the identification of florigen, which is the signal that tells the plant when to flower.

    Read more here!

  • Cost Effective Solution Found For Weeds in Onions

    Perennial Sow Thistle is a weed that interferes with onion growth in muck land areas. Researchers at Cornell University Cooperative Extension ran a project to test ways to protect valuable onion crops in New York. They found that one herbicide, Stinger, if applied at the right time in the thistle’s growth can eliminate its ability to survive the winter. The discovery gives growers a cost effective and practical technique to protect their crops through the winter. Read more here!

  • Sustaining Our Salad: UC Davis Wins Specialty-Crop Grant For Lettuce Project

    UC Davis has received a grant from the USDA-NIFA to study how new technologies can help sustain and increase the world’s lettuce supply. The researchers are looking at every level of the lettuce production chain including isolating stress resistant traits for breeding and developing imaging technologies for producers. The project brings together researchers from across the state with breeding companies and the California Leafy Greens Research Board.

    Read more here!

  • Grant Promises Blueberry Farmers More Weapons In Fight Against Spotted Wing Drosophila

    The spotted wing drosophila, a small insect that targets berries and stone fruits, costs farmers more than $700 million a year. The insects lay their eggs in ripe fruit, particularly blueberries, which makes them unfit to be sold. Blueberries are a huge industry in the state of Georgia, where in 2013 farmers produced $313 million in the fruit. To help reduce the loss from these pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently gave the University of Georgia a $2 million grant to research ways to stop the spotted wing drosophila. The effort is led by Ashfaq Sial, an expert on the insect and an entomologist at the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. 

    Read more here!

  • Plant Pathology Professor Awarded Grant to Study the Involvement of Blue Light in Plant Immunity

    The Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is helping Nebraska farmers learn more about their fields and how they can improve productivity. Nebraska Extension educators work with farm operators to assess which projects should be evaluated and work together to discuss findings and improve practices. Topics for research include: optimal planting populations, including variable rate seeding approaches, nitrogen management using several new technologies, strip-tillage, evaluation of insect and disease control products and row spacing. Most research takes place on the farm with the grower’s equipment and practices. The network includes Nebraska Extension, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Board.

    Read more here!

  • The International Year of Soils: Soils and the Products We Use

    2015 is the International Year of Soils and this October the focus was on “Soils and the Products We Use.” Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, K-State Research and Extension, explored this topic by highlighting how different soils can be used to make art, houseware, and even houses themselves! Clay can be used to make plates and coffee mugs we use everyday, while adobes can even be used as houses in climates with low humidity. 

    Read more here!

  • UGA Cooperative Extension Pecan Specialist Lenny Wells Optimistic About This Year’s Crop

    The University of Georgia’s pecan specialist believes that the state’s trees have finally overcome the struggles of a wet 2013. Wet years are known to cause increased pecan scab disease which stress a tree and can infect nuts. This year, farmers were more able to protect their trees and as a result stand to make more profit due to increased yields and steady prices. Georgia is the nation’s leading pecan producer, with over 145,000 acres of pecans being grown in 2013.

    Read more here!

  • MSU Experts Help Growers Fight Aphids in Sorghum

    Researchers at Mississippi State have found a way to help farmers protect their grain sorghum crop. In other states, sorghum had been destroyed by aphids but researchers at MSU found that a combination of insecticides has protected the $33 million crop. Additionally, the researchers were able to reach out to the Environmental Protection Agency to make the use of insecticides more affordable for local farmers. Overall, the early numbers of this year’s harvest could reveal a record-breaking yield.

    Read more here!

  • NDSU Celebrates 42 Years of Excellence in Agriculture and Bison Athletics

    On November 6 and 7, North Dakota State University will host the 42nd annual Harvest Bowl program. The event honors agriculturalists and student athletes for their achievements and dedication. The program begins with event honorees participating in educational sessions around the NDSU campus. The event culminates on November 7 with the Harvest Bowl football game where the NDSU Bison will take on Western Illinois. Each year, the event honors a distinguished agribussiness professional doing great work in North Dakota and beyond. This year’s award goes to Lynden Johnson, executive vice president of CHS Country Operations. 

    Read more here!

  • Sweet Potato as an Alternative Agriculture Enterprise in Delaware

    Research from the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences and the Cooperative Extension at Delaware State University has led to new advances with sweet potatoes crop, and may be the key to unlocking a cheaper source of valuable nutrients. Because of its drought resistant nature, sweet potatoes can be used as an alternative enterprise for farmers with limited resources. Four different varieties have been shown to grow well in Delaware’s climate. Read more here!

  • Study: Spring heat more damaging to wheat than fall freeze

    Kansas produces around 15 percent of U.S. wheat per year, earning up to $3 billion annually. Kansas State agricultural economist, Andrew Barkley, has been studying wheat for close to 30 years and found that spring heat is more damaging to wheat than freezing temperatures. Research also suggests that pest-resistant strains of wheat are less able to handle temperature changes.

    Read more here!

  • NDSU Using Sensors to Identify Weed Infestations

    A North Dakota State University project received an $85,500 research grant to identify which weeds are infesting specific crops, which parts of fields the weeds are infesting, and the degree of the weed problem. NDSU has teamed up with Sentera, a company that designs sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, and software technologies. Project personnel will collect data on plants growing in university greenhouses as well as outdoor plot and field weed patches. Project results will help producers spot weed problems early in the growing season to ensure reduced weed competition and higher yields.

    Read more here!

  • Putting Locally Raised and Processed Meat on the Table

    Oregon is home to many smaller and less commercialized farmers looking to sell their locally raised and processed meats. Lauren Gwin of Oregon State University Extension plays a big role in helping these smaller farmers increase their profits and get information they need. Gwin offers consulting and workshops that focus on both starting a business or expanding one. Gwin has also helped connect members of this market via the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network and enable them to communicate with each other via a listserv to help solve each other’s problems. Her contributions have been recognized, and she has been invited to legislative hearings to provide technical expertise.

    Read more here!

  • Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat

    In a new technique to try to decrease water pollution from agricultural runoff, Mississippi State developed a program to work with a network of farms to monitor the impact of certain conservation policies. The program, titled REACH, has enlisted the help of 51 farms mainly from the northwest region of the state, where agriculture is more widespread. The pollution is a result of fertilizer use on farms when nitrogen and phosphorous are carried downstream by draining water, encouraging algae growth in the Gulf of Mexico, and removing oxygen from the ecosystem. The project is designed to give policymakers more information to implement conservation strategies.

    Read more here!

  • 2015 Applying integrated pest management

    Alaska imports much of its food and horticultural products, which causes a problem with invasive species in the state. Agents and integrated pest management staff at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service worked with producers to help identify and combat these pests. There has also been work on an app which will aid in the identification of pests, as well as traps put in place to help eradicate them. These programs have so far been very successful. After a conference put on by UAF, 70% of attendees said they had used information from previous conferences and 95% of attendees indicated they would use information learned at the conference. 

    Read more here!

  • Drip Irrigation With Fertilizer Boosts Citrus Tree Growth

    The citrus fruit industry is Florida’s top agricultural commodity, bringing in $10.7 billion each year. In recent years, citrus greening disease has posed a real threat to this productivity as farmers have to replant trees at a higher rate. Luckily, University of Florida Professor Kelly Morgan’s five-year study on drip irrigation brings good news for farmers. The drip irrigation method helps young trees grow more than 30% faster than usual and with greater fruit production.

    Read more here!

  • Research Finds Soil Microbes Across the Globe Behave Similarly to Fertilizer Additions

    Despite different locations and environments, soils located around the world may be more closely related than previously believed. A new global study has found that despite having different microbial compositions, the responses of the soil to nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers were similar. Understanding this fact is important for “improving the sustainability of agricultural and forage production practices,” according to the University of Kentucky’s Rebecca McCulley. Microbes have been shown to impact soil fertility, health and the function of ecosystems.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS Researcher Growing 1,500 Types of Peanuts as Part of USDA’s Genetic Resources Unit

    Researchers at the University of Florida are growing 1,500 different types of peanuts in order to help feed starving children. By growing all 1,500, Greg MacDonald and his researchers can do a side-by-side study of yield, grade, biochemical components and genetic background of the different varieties. Eventually, the results will be used via a partnership with USAID to create a peanut paste that can provide all of a child’s nutritional needs from a meal in one pouch. MacDonald is also hoping to combat aflatoxin, which is produced by mold in peanuts, which has caused cancer and other health issues in humans.

    Read more here!

  • Corn Irrigation in West Tennessee

    Center-pivot irrigation is a farming technique that is growing in popularity – but is it profitable? Researchers at the University of Tennessee have determined that there are specific criteria required in order to successfully utilize this technique. Center-pivot irrigation can only remain profitable if corn prices remain at a high level and a farmer’s land exceeds 125 acres, and even then still involves risks, mainly involving the price of corn. Transitioning to center-pivot irrigation is no easy task and requires significant investment and a tough, long-term decision.

    Read more here!

  • Farming in the City

    University of Maryland Extension is providing the technical expertise to build a thriving urban agricultural community in Baltimore. The initiative is helping to feed city residents, promote healthy living and improve the environment. Most of the food is donated to help to overcome Baltimore’s food deserts, which are low-income areas where supermarkets are distant and automobiles are few. If the food can’t be donated, it’s put into a compost pile to help enrich the city soil. The Extension personnel also provide technical expertise, like nutrient management, to help boost yields and also help to connect growers so they can work collaboratively and provide training so they can think entrepreneurially.

    Read more here!

  • Ripe on Time

    UMD Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture professor, John Lea-Cox, is leading a team of researchers from 12 land-grant universities in developing ways to overcome the difficulties involved with farming strawberries. They have placed wireless sensor networks in three Maryland farms, which will collect data on weather conditions, soil moisture and temperature, and fertilizer concentration. Farmers can access the data in real time from their computers or smartphones. The goal of the project is to conserve resources, reduce costs, and improve sustainable production practices.

    Read more here!

  • MU Extension Offers to Help Reduce Atrazine Runoff

    Water quality specialist Bob Broz says that corn farmers may want to look into reducing atrazine runoff after this spring’s heavy rainfall. Some of the tips he offers are to consider applying atrazine at lower rates, take note of the weather so that atrazine can be applied at least two days before rainfall, and to understand the soil type. MU Extension also created and released a DVD and Powerpoint presentation that helps farmers learn ways to reduce runoffs.

    Read more here!

  • Farming for the Future

    Noe Noe Lwin, a graduate student at Auburn University’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences is conducting extensive research on innovative aquaculture practices. She is researching a new feed and diet practice for farm-raised mangrove crabs, hoping to eventually test several popular aquaculture ingredients to ensure that her new formulations meet the crab’s dietary needs. Her long-term goal is to manufacture the feed, and conduct trials to determine which formula results in the fastest growth and survival rates.

    Read more here!

  • Stem Counts Help Assess Alfalfa Stand Potential

    Every spring, alfalfa producers experience winterkill to their crop – particularly in stands that are older, and less winter hardy. NDSU reports on how to tell whether a stand will be good enough to keep. The article explains that one can assess stand yield potential by measuring stem density by square foot. Over 55 stems indicates that density will not be a limiting factor, between 40-55 stems indicates that some yield reduction is likely, and under 40 stems suggests that the stem may need to be terminated. It also offers short and long-term solutions, such as planting a fast-growing annual forage, or inter-seeding with perennial grasses.

    Read more here!

  • Mulching Tips for Shrubbery in the Home Landscape

    During the hot and dry summer, mulching not only retains soil moisture; it will suppress weeds and prevent crusting of the soil surface. A regional grounds agent with Alabama Extension suggests that mulching material should be applied to provide a three inch depth after settling. However, depending on the texture of the soil, this depth may vary.

    Read more here!

  • High-Density Planting of Avocados Boosts Yield

    The University of California helped grow the the avocado industry this season. The UC Agriculture and Natural Resource department conducted a study on high density planting by increasing per-acre yield of avocados, with promosing results. Not only is avocado production increasing, but now more farmers are staying in buissness. The success of the study increased avocado production for most farmers from an average of 7,000 pounds per acre to 13,000 pounds per acre.

    Read more here!

  • Actions, Inactions Impact Soil Health

    A soil specialist from Mississippi State University Extension Service tells us that soil must be kept healthy to make efficient use of inputs like fertilizers. It is an organism, above all, to be kept alive. Soil scientists from the MSU Agriculture and Forestry department agree. If we keep soil healthy, it will reduce the use of fertilizer and other processed chemicals used to grow a successful crop, as well as reducing the cost. A more efficient use of nutrients in the soil and improved use of soil water should improve profitability and ultimately keep the soil healthy.

    Read more here!

  • Interest in Canola Increasing in Kentucky

    A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment scientist and a consultant agronomist have been working hard with farmers and consultants throughout Kentucky who are interested in canola farming. It is important to do thorough research on canola, as the process is much different from the corn, soybeans and wheat rotations farmers are more accustomed to. The reserachers are ensuring that interested farmers grasp how to make the most out of their production, both agronomically and economically. As Kentucky is a no-till state, they are actively researching a solution to grow canola without the tilling process.

    Read more here!

  • OSU Scientists Invent Rain-Resistant Coating That Cuts Cherry Cracking in Half

    Oregon State University researchers have developed a new bio-film to be sprayed on cherries to prevent cracking during the rainy season. Half of an entire crop of cherries can crack if it rains an unusual amount during growing season. The SureSeal film can cut 50% of the breakage, which would save an entire crop every season.

    Read more here!

  • Chesapeake Bay Visitors Credit Arkansas Research With Moving Water Quality Science Forward in U.S.

    Ann Swanson, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and Rona Kobbell, environmental reporter with the Cheseapeake Bay Journal, visited Jeff Marley on an Arkansas Discovery Farm, to learn about the most effective management of phosphorous. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is listed as one of the nation’s leading experts in phosphorous regulation research.

    Read more here!

  • Center for Diversified Farming Systems

    The University of California at Berkeley has developed a center for diversified farming systems. They research how different forms of agriculture affect society and the enviornment. Right now they are researching how to diversify food systems. The Berkeley Food Institute has also conducted research on ecology and agricultural sustainability while comparing it to governance institutions and policys. It’s evident that they are striving to improve the agriculture industry by developing the most efficient food and farming systems.

    Read more here!

  • A Better Understanding of Plant Immune Response Could Lead to Better Crops

    Students at the University of Missouri have discovered new regulations of defense pathways for plants. Their findings could lead to plants like pear trees, roses, soybeans, and rice being able to fight off certain bacteria. The MU researchers found that if the plant is exposed to a bacteria, it activates three separate parts of its immune system. Each part must have the right amount of immune receptors in the right place in order to respond correctly. The plant can only administer the appropriate immune response if the combination is perfect. This new information could allow researchers to develop stronger strategies for plants to fight off diseases.

    Read more here!

  • Getting Down With Soil Scientists

    Oregon State University soil scientists are looking below the surface to find out more about soils. James Cassidy, one of OSU’s soil detectives, led a team of students in soil judging. The group stood in a six-foot deep hole the size of a car and had less than an hour to decide what the soil would be best used for. There are layers, colors, textures, smells, and even tastes. Soil can be used just like DNA in crime investigation with one billion types of bacteria per teaspoon. Looking this closely at soils can give farmers better insight into the best type of soil for specific crops. Bacteria found in soil may be able to generate electricity, degrade pollutants in the air, and even make antibiotics.

    Read more here!

  • UMD Researchers Help Develop Open-Source ‘Plant Library’

    Researchers at the University of Maryland recognize that the threat of endangered plant species is a growing problem. To combat this, they are pushing for an open-source online database of nearly 600 plant species and research. One UMD student contributed data on 217 species. This database will allow scientists to make comparisons across species and regions to tackle global-scale issues.

    Read more here!

  • Growing Figs in Alabama

    In Alabama, home grown figs are no longer a thing of nostalgia. More and more residents are growing fig trees and making preserves, just like Grandma’s. Fig trees can produce three crops a year on the Gulf Coast. They do not require cross-pollination and are self-fruiting, making for very low maintenance plants. Fig trees should be planted in late winter or early spring and require full sunlight and lots of space, say Alabama Extension experts. They can grow anywhere from 5 to 10 feet tall.

    Read more here!

  • MSU Extension Integrated Management of Agricultural Weeds

    Montana is experiencing increased costs associated with weed management techniques. MSU Extension’s cropland weed specialist has devised numerous ways to raise awareness of the need for collaboration on this effort. At the Montana USDA Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) Professional Development Program, attendees discussed crop system diversification, ecologically-based pest control, and farmer networks. These means of communication could improve weed management state-wide in the future.

    Read more here!

  • Edamame to the Rescue?

    Before the tobacco quota buyouts of 2002 and 2004, tobacco had been a big pillar of Virginia agriculture. Now, researchers at Virginia State University have identified vegetable soybean (edamame) as a potentially profitable option for former tobacco farmers. Similar to tobacco, edamame can potentially, with proper marketing, emerge as a lucrative cash crop. With help from VSU and the Virginia Tobacco Commission, tobacco is emerging as a specialty crop in Virginia.

    Read more here!

  • Towards Environmentally Conscious Precision Agriculture

    After extensive research and testing, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore has adopted a new farm input management system on their research complex. It utilizes precision agriculture, yield monitoring, and remote sensing. A cost-benefit analysis showed that the conjunction of these three practices yielded an optimum management strategy to increase efficiency and reduce environmental effects. Researchers have since developed a set of procedures for farm operators to utilize these platforms for day-to-day activities.

    Read more here!

  • MSU Extension Integrated Management of Agricultural Weeds

    The costs of weed management across Montana is rising. To raise awareness, Montana State University’s Extension program developed 23 outreach presentations related to agricultural weed management. The topics addressed included sustainable agriculture, cropping system diversification, pest management, and farmer networks. The evaluations of the presentations have been very positive.

    Read more here!

  • UC to Study the Fate of Street Trees Grown in Increasingly Popular Bioswales

    To keep pollution out of the ocean and natural creeks, California city planners are building bioswales, shallow roadside basins designed to hold water as it slowly percolates into the soil can be delivered to waste water treatment plants. The UCANR California Institute for Water Resources this month announced a $25,000 grant to fund the performance of trees in bioswales and their potential damage to facilities from repeated removal and replanting. Data collection for the project will begin this month. 

    Read more here!

  • MSU Organic Farming Study Finds Diverse Benefits Using Sheep

    An MSU professor of land resources and environmental sciences is part of a research team working to enable farmers who grow organic crops to save money, reduce tillage, manage weeds and pests, and reduce the risk of soil erosion. The team placed sheep at the heart of the project, and by doing so, the MSU scientists were able to find out that an integrated cropping system that uses domestic sheep for targeting grazing is an economically feasible way of reducing tillage for certified organic farms.

    Read more here!

  • Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

    Numerous surveys conducted by the Lincoln University Cooperative Extension (LUCE) program have shown that pest management is one of the biggest problems facing vegetable growers in Missouri. LUCE’s Integrated Pest Management Program has developed several new tools to deal with this problem, including a method called trap cropping, which protects the more valuable crops from insect infestation. This tactic has already gained some traction among Missouri vegetable growers, and is showing tangible savings and reductions in operating time.

    Read more here!

  • West Virginia State University Natural Resources Management

    New research at West Virginia State is focusing on identifying and developing remedies for the condition of local agricultural economies and environmentally friendly use of soil, water, and renewable resources in the Appalachia region. This research has uncovered the potential to mitigate the impact of storm water runoff on water quality, divert selected waste streams into valuable products to improve soil fertility, and improve productivity of disturbed areas and reclaimed land, among others.

    Read more here!

  • Vermont, Bread Basket of New England?

    Although Vermont used to be a place of high wheat production and indigenous knowledge needed to produce the crops, farmers are now requesting information about local grain production and seeds that can adapt to Northeast climatic conditions. The University of Vermont Extension’s Northwest Crops and Soils program is working to focus on seeds and resurrecting wheat varieties. The program hopes to release a new commercial wheat variety in 2015 and will hopefully be able to diversify and market their products locally. 

    Read more here!

  • Irrigation Research Delineates Tradeoffs in Fruit Quality and Yield

    In the southern San Joaquin Valley of California, minimum harvest standards for juice sweetness and fruit color for naval oranges are preventing production to reach their full potential. Advisors at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources have developed and implemented a series of carefully monitored irrigation treatments that demonstrated that late season irrigation can save water, increase development of early fruit color and increased the concentration of soluble solids, such as sugar; however, water stress can generally reduce fruit size and yield.

    Read more here!

  • Kentucky State Aquaculture Disease Diagnostic Laboratory

    Kentucky State University College of Agriculture, Food Science and Sustainable Systems Aquaculture Division’s Fish Disease Diagnostic Laboratory is saving the state a lot of money when it comes to the aquaculture industry. Healthy fish and high quality water are both needed to make a profit, and the Kentucky State University lab is there to diagnose fish pathogens and water quality problems. Immediate savings for Kentucky residents who benefit from the services the lab provides most likely exceeded $155,000.

    Read more here!

  • Farmer-to-Farmer Program Provides Agricultural Mentorship in Haiti

    Eight volunteers from Florida A&M University traveled to Haiti to train local small farmers on best agricultural practices and market development. FAMU’s Office of International Agricultural Programs donated seeds, fertilizer, and hand tools to stimulate growth for small farms. While farmers had not previously taken advantage of the opportunity for increased income through production of high-value vegetable crops, FAMU’s contributions now gives them a chance.

    Read more here!

  • Development of Ethnic Vegetable Crops as Niche Market Cash Crops to Sustain Small Farms in Alabama

    New ways to stay ahead are constantly being developed, and in this case, it is all about ethnic vegetable crops. Non-traditional customers are looking for vegetables they grew up consuming in their home countries, and they are willing to pay premium. Some farmer groups have already begun featuring and growing these crops, many from India and China. Though production potential has been determined at the Alabama A&M University, there is still a need for determining the production economics and cost. Outreach strategies for this project will help improve the financial status and small- and medium-sized family farms.

    Read more here!

  • Workshop Set for Water Quality Professionals and the Public

    The University of Arkansas is hosting a five-day workshop reserved specifically for water quality modeling professionals. Researchers at the university have developed a modeling program to measure water quality and will use software created by the Centre for Water Research (CWR). The CWR hopes to optimize water quality, publish impact papers and produce quality post graduate students, and establish and maintain links with the industry through incorporated, transferable tools.

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  • New Knowledge on Conservation Tillage Systems for California Tomatoes Indicates Cost Savings and Resource Conservation Benefits

    The tomato production industry in California is looking for new ways to cut rising fuel and labor costs. University of California researchers have been comparing standard till (ST) and conservation tillage (CT) systems in terms of economics, profitability, soil properties, and dust emissions through a tomato-cotton rotation. The study found that the CT system reduced the total number of passes over the field by an average of nine per year and showed an increase in profitability. In addition, the value of the savings from reducing labor and fuel prices will increase and greenhouse gas emissions will lower.

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  • Nine Arkansas Discovery Farms Demonstrate Impact of BMPs on Environment on Working Animal and Crop Operations

    In the past, Arkansas farmers have faced several environmental issues that inhibited their ability to do business. Now, with the implementation of Discovery Farms, farmers are more involved in resolving farm related environmental issues including water quality and quantity, irrigation water use and soil health, among others. These nine Discovery Farms are becoming increasingly central to best agriculture practices across the state.

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  • MU Extension Offers Educational Grain Marketing Game

    For the second year in a row, University of Missouri Extension is hosting a “Show-Me Market Showdown” game that encourages farmers to improve their knowledge of grain marketing strategies and marketing plans. It is essentially a simulation in which players are provided a 10 week window to increase the value of their grain. “It is a risk-free opportunity to experiment with grain marketing tools and strategies,” says Mark Jenner, MU Extension agriculture business specialist. Hopefully this program will raise awareness about the difficulties of grain farming and stimulate support around the industry.

    Read more here!

  • Seed Treatments can Reduce Pest Battles as Crops Grow

    With all of the insects that feed on recently planted crops, it can be difficult for corn, cotton and soybean producers to achieve profits each year. Increasingly, seeds are being pretreated with insecticides. Don Cook, an entomologist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said corn and soybean insecticidal seed treatments have been used routinely in the state for the last decade. The question used to be whether or not producers treated their seeds; it is now about which one they want. Some people will buy corn with low rates of treatment; others will go to a midrate treatment. Regardless, seed treatments stabilize yields to some degree and minimize the amount of replanting.

    Read more here!

  • Drs. Angela Myracle and Renae Moran Have Been Awarded a State Agricultural Development Grant

    Plum production could soon be increased in the state of Maine thanks to the work of Dr. Angela Myracle and Dr. Renae Moran from the University of Maine. The two researchers were awarded an Agricultural Development Grant, which will help fund their project “Increasing Local Plum Production for Farm Market Diversification.” The project seeks to identify climate viable varieties of plums and to aid in diversifying tree fruit production.

    Read more here!

  • UK Soil Scientists Begin Cover Crop Research Project

    2015 is International Year of Soil! And what better time to rediscover an old practice than the 21st century? New studies have unveiled the forgotten value of cover crops. There is evidence that they have the potential to suppress weeds and keep nitrates out of the soil supply. As the project progresses, it will become clear what adjustments farmers need to make to maximize crop yields and returns.

    Read more here!

  • UF/IFAS Awarded Funding to Fight Citrus Greening

    Four studies aimed to help fight citrus greening at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have been awarded $13.4 million through the Specialty Crop Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Education (CDRE), made available through the Farm Bill. Citrus greening is a devastating disease for the $10 billion citrus industry in Florida. Some examples of the research that will take place include development of an environmentally safe, systematic bacteriacide and targeting the use of field trials.

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  • Alternative Uses Explored for Culled Sweet Potatoes

    Students as Mississippi State University are finding new ways to use culled sweet potatoes in the first Sweet Potato Innovation Challenge. These potatoes that never make it to market create a loss in income for farmers, but they are being given a second chance. Eleven of the 23 projects that were presented to judges will receive funding in order for the students to continue to develop their ideas.

    Read more here!

  • Undergraduates Lend Their Hands to Fruit Research

    This year, undergraduate horticulture students at the University of Arkansas participated in research efforts at the Division of Agriculture’s Fruit Research Station. The students’ work helped advanced division research and breeding efforts to improve fruit production in Arkansas. Their research helped find results that correlated bacterial spot disease in peaches with genetic markers, which can help breeders make crosses to improve resistance.

    Read more here!

  • A Numbers Game

    The journey from baby potato spuds to a fiber-rich meal can take a minimum of 12 years with Oregon State University’s potato breeding program. Once creating a versatile and flavorful baby potatoes, called miniature tubers, the best-looking ones are shipped out for purchasing. In the last four years, Oregon State’s program released 12 new varieties of the 30 that have been released since 1985. These varieties are now worth an estimated $600 million to Pacific Northwest growers.

    Read more here!

  • Local Wineries Say it’s a Vintage Year

    Oregon winemakers have had a near-perfect year in 2014 thanks to ideal weather conditions, says Oregon State University Extension Service. Many vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley are anticipating the quality and yield of wines made this way to be higher than usual. The economy is expected to benefit from the great year, though more competition between wineries is predicted.

    Read more here!

  • Summary of University of California Research on Irrigation Management for Almond Trees Under Drought Conditions

    As the California drought continues, new research from the UC System provides the best way to manage irrigation for almond trees. It is a challenge to manage any orchard when the climatic water demand exceeds the water absorbed by the roots. It’s important to measure tree stress, and decide whether to adopt a moderate, severe, or “staying alive” drought strategy.

    Read more here!

  • New UC Studies Outline Costs of Growing Tomatoes Under Furrow and Sub-surface Drip Irrigation

    Two new studies from University of California Cooperative Extension examined costs and returns for growing transplanted processing tomatoes under furrow irrigation and sub-surface drip irrigation in the Sacramento Valley. Each analysis uses a hypothetical farm operation, under which researchers are able to devise potential profits. This new data will be very helpful for farmers and corporations planning to conduct operations in this region.

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  • Stewards of the Land

    Agriculture is one of the backbones of American culture. It is becoming increasingly important to know the history and formulate strategies for cultivating future generations of farmers. Presented by Oregon State University Extension Service, hear, in their own words, what these farmers have to say about sustainable agriculture.

    Read more here!

  • AMTek Microwaves Lends Equipment for Research in Rice Drying, Processing

    For years, rice in the US has been dried using natural air in-bin, and heated-air, high-temperature cross-flow drying systems. That may soon change. Researchers at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture are testing the effects of AMTek microwave-dried rice to prevent cracking and maintain milling quality. If the results prove promising, this may cut down on breakage, which would increase milling yield. Researchers also see the potential for disinfestation and decontamination using this technology.

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  • NMSU Professor Shares Experience on USDA Organic Certification Process

    The Student Research and Education Gardens at New Mexico State University have been awarded an organic transitions grant from the USDA. This makes the first land that has been awarded to NMSU since 1888. Mark Uchanski, a professor with the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, says “Organic production is the fastest growing sector of New Mexico’s agricultural production and our students now have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what organic is, including how it compares to other systems, and this makes our students more knowledgeable and marketable.” Dive into a Q&A with Mark below.

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  • Avocado Production in the San Joaquin Valley Gets Closer

    UC Cooperative Extension Specialist Mary Lu Arpaia is conducting research to bring avocados to the San Joaquin Valley. Avocados have had success in areas of mild climate, like San Diego and Ventura counties. California consumers favor Hass avocados, but these avocados can’t tolerate heat in the valley. Arpaia is testing different varieties that are comparable to Hass in taste and that can take the place of citrus trees that once thrived. She said, “In the San Joaquin Valley, water is relatively cheap and we have better water quality than San Diego County. If farmers have property where they can grow lemons, they could try avocados.”

    Read more here!

  • No-Till Ag May Boost Crop Yields

    The largest meta-analysis ever done in agriculture is finally wrapping up for UC Davis. The study concerns no-till farming, a popular conservation agriculture strategy that has long been promoted worldwide in an effort meet global food demand. The results of this analysis revealed that no-till farming negatively impacts yields on a global scale. Long considered the most sustainable form of farming, researchers now have to reconsider when and where to implement no-till strategies.

    Read more here!

  • NDSU Releases ND Henson Soybean Variety

    The North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station has released their new soybean variety, ND Henson, just in time for Soybean Sunday. ND Henson is intended to replace the NDSU-developed cultivar Cavalier due to its delayed maturity and increased yield rate. “With the growing problem of glyphosate-resistant weeds, there is a potential for a conventional soybeans, such as ND Henson, to be a good fit with marginal land situations and save on seed costs,” says Ted Helms, and NDSU soybean breeder. To learn more about this development, follow the link below:

    Read more here!

  • Oregon’s Working Landscape

    Everyone knows Oregon as one of the rainiest places in the United States, with some areas getting over 100 inches of rain annually. But did you know that all that rain gives Oregon the capacity to flourish as one of the most agriculturally productive states in the country? There are over 35,000 farms, 114,500 miles of rivers and streams, and forestland is responsible for 48% of the state’s land cover. It contributes greatly to the national output as its top agricultural commodities are greenhouse, cattle, and hay. To learn more about Oregon’s agricultural process and its working landscapes, follow the link below:

    Read more here!

  • NDSU Releases Two-rowed Barley Variety

    The North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station has released a two-rowed barley line, dubbed ND Genesis. The high grain yield potential, increased resistance to net blotch, and good malt extract values of ND Genesis make it a viable replacement for the current barley type that is utilized throughout the craft brewing market. In addition, its large kernel size and low grain protein will be helpful in environments where moisture stress develops after heading. To learn more about ND Genesis, follow the link below:

    Read more here!

  • UNH Scientists Successfully Grow Onions Overwintered in Low Tunnels

    As we get into the heart of a very cold winter, the demand for year-round produce is one thing that isn’t freezing over. Researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station have developed an onion production model that is sustainable through the colder months, and will help farmers in more severe climates maintain productivity. The main components of the system are the low hanging tunnels that shelter the onion cultivars from the harsh conditions. Planted during the fall, these crops saw a survival rate between 65 and 100 percent. If growers are able to harvest and sell these onions during the winter, it would provide a great opportunity for direct-market sales. Learn more about the NHAES project below:

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  • $18.75 Million To Boost International Efforts

    Small farming households may be the key to fighting the widespread hunger problem. A new $18.75 million grant has just been awarded to UC Davis for their outstanding work in this field, particularly with optimizing small farming practices. In conjunction with the Horticulture Innovation Lab, UC Cooperative Extension has been working to solve agricultural problems and develop long-term relationships with other land-grant universities who provide research to the innovation lab. All the research is done under the umbrella of “Feed the Future”, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. This program supports a country-led approach to reduce hunger, poverty, and malnutrition by promoting growth in the agriculture sector. To learn more about “Feed the Future” and UC Davis’s contributions, click the link below the jump.

    Read more here!

  • ‘Rice-enomics’ in a Drought

    From an early age, George Tibbitts, a Colusa County farmer, has recognized the importance of cooperation between growers and researchers. Once George and his siblings bought out their old family farm, they implemented more modern practices and scientific innovation. In conjunction with the UC-supported Rice Experiment Station, George’s farm is now practicing sustainable rice farming. The key to this type of farming is water management, especially during the current drought. See what other type of modernization is happening on George’s farm, and how it is affecting the future of rice farming:

    Read more here!

  • How to Harvest Dry, Edible Beans

    While the direct harvest of dry edible beans is not a new practice, producers in western Nebraska, northeast Colorado, and southeast Wyoming are still discovering the finer details that will make the system work well for them. In anticipation of this, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension has provided some helpful tips for harvesting in time for the bean growing system. These direct harvest practices include suggestions such as utilizing a disk drill with heavy openers to achieve proper planting depth, minimizing ridge size by using a wider pivot tire and directional watering, and leaving the soil surface as level as possible. To see the full list, click the link after the jump.

    Read more here!

  • Is Effluent the Water of the Future? Scientists Invited to Discuss Issue in Rome

    Two New Mexico State University researchers may have found an answer to the turf irrigation and landscaping water shortage. Bernd Leinauer and Elena Sevostianova are suggesting that using effluent water would eliminate the need for additional mineral fertilizers. Typically, most of the water used for irrigation and landscaping has been cleansed to remove nitrogen. These NMSU scientists are suggesting leaving the nitrogen in, and using decentralized water treatment systems and subsurface irrigation systems instead of sprinklers. That way, we will eliminate a huge chunk of fertilizer production, saving money and reducing our carbon footprint. Find out more about their panel in Rome:

    Read more here!

  • Soybean Tests Yields Strong

    As the demand for soybean increases, so does the yield for the University of Missouri Extension program. MU Extension specialists have topped statewide averages of soybean bushel yield for 2014. Despite the emergence of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a fungal disease, in two tests areas this year, yields in the central and southeastern part of the state were much higher than expected. This new data bumps Missouri up to seventh in soybean production in the country. For more details on the tests and their subsequent yields, follow the link below.

    Read more here!

  • Lexington Hosts Ag Leadership Conference For First Time

    Agricultural leaders from all over the globe recently congregated in Lexington for their annual meeting regarding fundraising, programming, speakers and travel. The annual meeting is for the network of people to exchange ideas. “The value with helping all the ag programs is there are so few people involved in production agriculture these days. The people who are making the decisions about agriculture, a lot of them don’t know anything about agriculture,” said Joe Waldrum, association’s executive secretary and interim assistant director of community and economic development in the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

    Read more here!

  • University of Kentucky – Timber Harvesting Field Day

    Timber Harvesting Field Day is scheduled for October 30. The goal of this field day is to focus on managing and harvesting timber in Eastern Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky landscape poses many challenges in harvesting timber. Harvesters will be able to see how these features impact the value of timber. If you are wishing to sell and manage timber, want to cut and haul timber, know timber and log values, sell and market timber and protect water quality, this field day is for you.

    Read more here!

  • Auburn Grape Study Good News for State Vineyards, Wineries

    The future of wine grapes in Alabama may be about to change. Elina Coneva, an Auburn University Horticulture Associate Professor, established a 100-vine research vineyard at the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station’s Chilton Research and Extension Center four years ago. One of the biggest problems facing the wine industry in the South is the prominence of Pierce’s disease, which causes bacteria to clog water-transporting tissues in a vine. Coneva used a species called Vitis Vinifera, a hybrid of European wine grapes, but took advantage of a California plant breeder’s Pierce’s disease-resistant grapevine selections. Thus far, every year has produced an impressive yield, as well as stayed free of any trace of Pierce’s disease. As a result of these promising tests, wine growers are getting a better sense of best management practices and production system recommendations for Alabama.

    Read more here!

  • Agribusiness Expert Sees Big Potential in China for U.S. Corn, Livestock Exports

    The urbanization of the Chinese population provides an opportunity for a boost to U.S. agriculture, predominantly among the corn and livestock sectors. A large portion of Chinese citizens live on rural land that is ideal for farming, and with China’s recent encouragement of these people to move into urban areas, there will likely be vast expanses of land available for raising crops and livestock. Speaking at Kansas State University’s 2014 Risk and Profit Center, Dermot Hayes spoke about the potential for agribusiness growth in China, the barriers presented by the Chinese government’s regulation on farmland, and what Chinese investments in U.S. companies means for consumers.

    Read more here!

  • Arkansas Fruit Program Included In Second Phase of USDA Grant to Advance Marker-Assisted Breeding

    The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture fruit-breeding program is expanding its participation in the second phase of the USDA-funded research project to apply genetic marker technology to specialty crop breeding program around the United States. The research will focus on eight crops: apples, blackberries, peaches, pears, roses, strawberries, sweet cherries, and tart cherries. According to John Clark, University Professor of Horticulture and director of the Arkansas fruit-breeding program, the goal of the project is to implement DNA-based tools to complement traditional breeding process by increasing the efficiency of breeding fruits that are superior in quality and disease resistance. The results of the program RosBREED, Combining Disease Resistance with Horticultural Quality in New Rosaceous Cultivars, will be to bring many tools to fruit growers and consumers not only in Arkansas, but also throughout the country.

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  • MSU Goats Grow in Popularity as Farmers Diversify

    Many farmers in the state of Mississippi who want to diversify their farming business are turning to goats. Farmers are doing this because they want to raise livestock that will supplement other income, and some with fragmented property are not able to raise cattle. Mitch Newman, Greene County agricultural agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service says that goats are able to thrive on few acres, reproduce more quickly and mature faster if they are managed well. In the Mississippi market, goats are grown for meat, milk, hair and 4-H youth livestock projects. The demand for goats is expected to keep increasing, which is another reason many producers are adding goats to their farms. However, with the success in the goat market, one problem faces Mississippi growers: 18 percent of goats die annually due to the wet and humid climate.

    Read more here!

  • For Oregon, Potatoes Become a Numbers Game

    The journey of a potato one is a numbers game. Sagar Sathuvalli leads Oregon State University’s potato breeding program. He is responsible for hundreds of tests on thousands of spuds and dozens of generations of potatoes. Those delicious sweet potato fries, or garlic mashed potatoes, and so on, didn’t just magically taste delicious, after all. Are you curious about the journey of the great potato? Learn about each phase, brought to you by Oregon State, after the jump.

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  • Might be a Good Year to Creep Feed Calves

    Kentucky beef producers might start creep feeding calves because cattle prices are at a record-high. Creep feeding is when producers provide supplemental feed to animals that are still nursing as a way to efficiently help them grow and attain a higher weaning weight. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment beef specialist, Jeff Lehmkuhler, does not normally support this feeding method, but believes that if producers are careful, they could cash in.

    “As we think about creep feeding, increased pounds at weaning do not necessarily result in a direct increase in profitability,” he said. “We need to more accurately account for feed costs, price slide, equipment investment and labor inputs to look at the potential increase in profit,” said Lehmkuhler.

    Creep feeding also comes with some concerns: excessively conditioning replacement heifers, inducing acidosis and getting feeders too fleshy.

    Read more here!

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