Agriculture

University of Delaware look at adding silicon to soil to strengthen plant defenses
August 15, 2017 01:44 PM - University of Delaware

To help plants better fend off insect pests, researchers are considering arming them with stones.

The University of Delaware’s Ivan Hiltpold and researchers from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University in Australia are examining the addition of silicon to the soil in which plants are grown to help strengthen plants against potential predators.

The research was published recently in the journal Soil Biology and Biochemistry and was funded by Sugar Research Australia. Adam Frew, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Charles Sturt University in Australia, is the lead author on the paper.

More Berries in the Box
August 15, 2017 08:03 AM - Dalhousie University

As Dalhousie’s Industry Chair in Wild Blueberry Physiology, David Percival had just one challenge: to put more berries in the box.

That was 20 years ago. Today, wild blueberry production in Nova Scotia has quadrupled to over 400 million pounds annually. And it’s a story that begins with Mr. Blueberry himself, John Bragg.

Plants Love Microbes — And So Do Farmers
August 10, 2017 12:54 PM - University of Queensland

The Sunshine Coast’s plant diversity has helped University of Queensland researchers confirm that nurture has the upper hand – at least when it comes to plant microbes.

Plants Love Microbes — And So Do Farmers
August 10, 2017 12:54 PM - University of Queensland

The Sunshine Coast’s plant diversity has helped University of Queensland researchers confirm that nurture has the upper hand – at least when it comes to plant microbes.

Pesticides Prevalent in Midwestern Streams
August 10, 2017 08:10 AM - USGS

One hundred small streams in the Midwest were tested for pesticides during the 2013 growing season and found to contain, on average, 52 pesticides per stream

More than 180 pesticides and their by-products were detected in small streams throughout 11 Midwestern states, some at concentrations likely to harm aquatic insects, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Biochar shows benefits as manure lagoon cover
August 9, 2017 09:48 AM - American Society of Agronomy

Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few.

Biochar shows benefits as manure lagoon cover
August 9, 2017 09:48 AM - American Society of Agronomy

Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few.

The mystery of the yellowing sugarcane
August 8, 2017 03:34 PM - University of Texas At Austin - Texas Advanced Computing Center

Since 2011, a mysterious illness known as Yellow Canopy Syndrome, or YCS, has afflicted Australian sugarcane. The condition causes the mid-canopy leaves of otherwise healthy plants to rapidly turn yellow to a degree that the plant's sugar yield can decrease by up to 30 percent.

In recent years, the syndrome has spread across the continent. Losses are estimated at around $40 million and growers fear it could ruin the industry in Australia.

"At the start of the project, there were many possibilities but little evidence to suggest the cause," says Kate Hertweck, an assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) and a member of the team of researchers exploring the causes of the disease. "It could be a physiological reaction caused by water or nutrients in the soil. Or it could be a biological cause, like an insect, virus or fungus."

Dramatic changes needed in farming practices to keep pace with climate change
August 4, 2017 02:24 PM - Lancaster University

Major changes in agricultural practices will be required to offset increases in nutrient losses due to climate change, according to research published by a Lancaster University-led team.

Ongoing monitoring program finds potato psyllids but no evidence of bacteria that causes zebra chip disease
August 4, 2017 08:23 AM - University of Lethbridge

University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dr. Dan Johnson and his team have been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid insect and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops.

“We found hundreds of potato psyllids last year, but we have found under 10 so far this year and none have the bacteria that cause zebra chip,” says Johnson, who coordinates the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network.

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