International Agronomy Day showcases ACES innovations

Tony Studer, Crop Sciences, shows corn with two diffferent leaf areas.

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) welcomed dozens of international guests to the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center on August 28 to learn about the latest research in sustainable agricultural production, human dimensions of agriculture, and information management from its renowned faculty.

“International Agronomy Day is a biennial opportunity for agricultural professionals who are in the area for the Farm Progress Show to see the innovative work coming out of ACES. We provided a comprehensive view of agronomy, including perspectives from engineering, economics, and even animal sciences. The program is similar to those we’ve run for Illinois farmers throughout the summer but geared towards an international audience,” says Adam Davis, head of the Department of Crop Sciences at ACES and organizer of the event.

The attendees included groups from Boliva and Argentina.  

Several ACES faculty shared their ongoing work to meet the challenges of agriculture today and into the future. The presentations included: 

  • Shadi Atallah, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, spoke on the economics of robotics, specifically the two types of robots his team is working on --- one that plants cover crops under corn and another that weeds --- and how farmers are incentivized to adopt these technologies.  
  • Paul Stoddard, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, provided a market update, noting that with recent falling grain prices, Illinois farmers may be at an inflection point with regards to profitability that has been very high the last couple of years. He also discussed trends in Illinois farmland values.  
  • Connor Sible, Crop Sciences, spoke on agronomy for high yields and shared the seven factors that most influence yield.  
  • Aaron Hager, Crop Sciences, spoke on weed management, focusing on how ever-evolving herbicide resistance requires preventing or eliminating weed seed production so resistance can’t spread.
  • Isabella Condotta, Animal Sciences, presented on precision animal management and her work to track animal welfare in real time through continuous, automated monitoring.  
  • Tony Studer, Crop Sciences, spoke on programming plants that help growers' communication with their field, specifically how crops stand in the field with regards to different population densities and reduced leaf areas.  

The guests departed – many wearing their new Block I ACES hats - ready to experience the 2023 Farm Progress Show and armed with the latest information on the agricultural technologies being developed at Illinois.

This event concluded a series of summer 2023 events providing practical, research-based information to improve yield, input management, and sustainability on the farm.   

Visit the Agronomy Days website for more information about its vision to provide  season-long opportunities where stakeholders and community members are invited to interact with experts at the College of ACES research farms.