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Study: Canada geese beat humans in longstanding territory battle

URBANA, Ill. – Canada geese collide with aircraft, intimidate unassuming joggers, and leave lawns and sidewalks spattered with prodigious piles of poop. They’re widely considered nuisance birds, and municipalities invest considerable time and money harassing geese to relocate the feisty flocks. But new University of Illinois research shows standard goose harassment efforts aren’t effective, especially in winter when birds should be most susceptible to scare tactics.

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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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New monounsaturated soybean oil works well in pig diets

URBANA, Ill. – Adding a fat source to the traditional corn-soy swine diet is common practice, but the type of fat can make a difference both for growing pigs and carcass quality. Polyunsaturated fats, the primary type in distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), can reduce fat quality and complicate processing of pork bellies and bacon.

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‘Devastatingly cute’ bats look for bugs in forest clearings and corridors

URBANA, Ill. – Forest managers cut down trees, but their ultimate goal is to keep forests healthy and growing. Bats might help with that, according to recent University of Illinois research, thanks to their appetite for bugs that could otherwise destroy tree seedlings.

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CABBI team adds powerful new dimension to phenotyping next-gen bioenergy crop

Miscanthus is one of the most promising perennial crops for bioenergy production since it is able to produce high yields with a small environmental footprint. This versatile grass has great potential to perform even better, as much less effort has been put into improving it through breeding relative to established commodity crops such as maize or soybean.

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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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Should maize farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa store or sell their grain?

URBANA, Ill. – Many maize farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa sell their crop at harvest, often because they need funds to pay expenses. Development agencies often support or sponsor harvest-time loans that encourage farmers to store some of their grain for later sale, on an assumption that its market value will increase in months to come. But that’s not a sure bet, as a new University of Illinois study reveals.

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Illinois report says native fish overlooked as invaders in U.S. waters

URBANA, Ill. – Rivers split across mountaintops and other geographic barriers may flow only a few miles from one another, but to the aquatic creatures in those waters, the separation could represent millions of years of evolutionary time. So, when an angler or a curious child moves a fish from one side of the mountain or one side of the country to the other, it’s a very big deal to the fish. Some may discover a competitive advantage in a new stream, potentially disrupting eons-old ecological hierarchies.

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3,300 hidden fungi coat soybean plants: New research explains significance

URBANA, Ill. – Septoria brown spot may be the common cold of soybean diseases, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely benign. The ubiquitous fungal disease can cause 10 to 27% yield loss, according to University of Illinois research. For many farmers, the obvious response is to fight back with fungicide, but a new U of I study shows Septoria can actually increase after fungicide application.

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Bats protect young trees from insect damage, with three times fewer bugs

URBANA, Ill. – Bats help keep forests growing. Without bats to hold their populations in check, insects that munch on tree seedlings go wild, doing three to nine times more damage than when bats are on the scene. That’s according to a groundbreaking new study from the University of Illinois.

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