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Agriculture

Gully erosion prediction tools can lead to better land management

URBANA, Ill. – ­Soil erosion is a significant problem for agricultural production, impacting soil quality and causing pollutants to enter waterways. Among all stages of soil erosion, gully erosion is the most severe phase, where large channels are carved through the field. Once gullies develop, they are challenging to manage through tiling; they require a more comprehensive approach along the impacted area. 

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Illinois study: Which weather characteristics affect agricultural and food trade the most?

URBANA, Ill. – Changing weather patterns have profound impacts on agricultural production around the world. Higher temperatures, severe drought, and other weather events may decrease output in some regions but effects are often volatile and unpredictable. Yet, many countries rely on agricultural and food trade to help alleviate the consequences of local, weather-induced production shifts, a new paper from the University of Illinois suggests.

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Farmers in China, Uganda move to high-yielding, cost-saving perennial rice

URBANA, Ill. – After more than 9,000 years in cultivation, annual paddy rice is now available as a long-lived perennial. The advancement means farmers can plant just once and reap up to eight harvests without sacrificing yield, an important step change relative to “ratooning,” or cutting back annual rice to obtain second, weaker harvest. 

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Rooting for ecosystem services: New U of I project goes underground

URBANA, Ill. – Decades of corn breeding efforts emphasizing yield have contributed to modern hybrids with shallower and less complex root systems than their predecessors. Because the breeding and selection of most modern hybrids has taken place in environments with high nutrient concentrations, optimal weed control, and soil moisture conditions, hybrids perform best under high input systems.

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$30M USAID grant sees soybean innovation through the last mile in Africa

URBANA, Ill. – Last month, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new $30 million investment in the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) at the University of Illinois. The competitive grant was awarded under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative led by USAID. 

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Amino acid supplement key to reproductive health in dairy cows

URBANA, Ill. – Lysine is an essential amino acid for dairy cows, helping boost milk production when added to the diet at adequate levels. But could lysine benefit cows in other ways? A new University of Illinois study shows rumen-protected lysine can improve uterine health if fed during the transition period.

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Digital tools can transform agriculture to be more environmentally sustainable

URBANA, Ill. – Agricultural producers face dual challenges of increasing output for a growing world population while reducing negative effects on the environment. Digital technologies and artificial intelligence can facilitate sustainable production, but farmers must weigh opportunities and risks when deciding whether to embrace such tools.  

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Nitrous oxide emissions from Corn Belt soils spike when soils freeze, thaw

URBANA, Ill. – Nitrous oxide may be much less abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but as a greenhouse gas, it’s a doozy. With a potency 300 times greater than CO2, nitrous oxide’s warming potential, especially via agriculture, demands attention.

University of Illinois and University of Minnesota researchers are answering the call. In a new study, they document an overlooked but crucial timeframe for nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in U.S. Midwest agricultural systems: the non-growing season.

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New U of I farm apprenticeship turns out veggies and well-equipped farmers

URBANA, Ill. – A new University of Illinois program will train beginner specialty crop growers in every aspect of farm operation and management. The year-long Illinois Small Farm Apprenticeship Program offers new farmers opportunities to learn by doing and to deepen that experiential knowledge with lessons from faculty experts in soil science, pest management, and more.

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New U of I open house event introduces families to today’s agriculture

University of Illinois, but now there’s another reason to head south of campus Oct. 2. Kids and families are invited to the first-ever Crop Sciences Harvest Open House to explore all things agriculture.  

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