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Sweet corn sweltering in summer heat spells uncertainty for corn lovers

URBANA, Ill. – Few things say summer in America more than buttery corn on the cob, but as summer temperatures climb to unprecedented levels, the future of sweet corn may not be so sweet. New University of Illinois research shows sweet corn yields drop significantly with extreme heat during flowering, especially in rainfed fields in the Midwest.

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Holiday favorite good to go for 2022

Few of us stop to wonder how that slice of pumpkin pie made it onto our plate, but if it weren't for the Illinois pumpkin industry and plant pathologist Mohammad Babadoost, the classic fall dessert might not be on the menu at all. Back in 1999 and 2000, a devastating pumpkin disease threatened to wipe out the crop in Illinois - the number-one pumpkin-producing state in the nation - but Babadoost came up with solutions to not only prevent the industry's collapse, but to help it grow.

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Three ACES scientists rank among world's most influential

URBANA, Ill. — Three researchers affiliated with the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. The list recognizes research scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence – reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade.

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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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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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ASC wins grant to quantify phosphorus leaching from stream bank erosion

A team of Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC) scientists, including faculty from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Crop Sciences, was awarded a grant from the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council to quantify streambank erosion across the state and its contributions to phosphorus loading of surface waters. 

Read more from the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.

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Best way to estimate costs for invasive plant removal? Get out and dig

URBANA, Ill. – Plants are designed to travel. They might not stand up and walk, but many plants produce seeds or other bits that can be carried long distances by wind or animals and start growing. While that might be great news for the plant, escapes like these can disrupt natural ecosystems and be costly to remove.

But just how costly?

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What keeps plant roots growing toward gravity? Study identifies four genes

URBANA, Ill. – What happens belowground in a corn field is easy to overlook, but corn root architecture can play an important role in water and nutrient acquisition, affecting drought tolerance, water use efficiency, and sustainability. If breeders could encourage corn roots to grow down at a steeper angle, the crop could potentially access important resources deeper in the soil.

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RIPE researchers prove bioengineering better photosynthesis increases yields in food crops for the first time ever

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — For the first time, RIPE researchers have proven that multigene bioengineering of photosynthesis increases the yield of a major food crop in field trials. After more than a decade of working toward this goal, a collaborative team led by the University of Illinois has transgenically altered soybean plants to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis, resulting in greater yields without loss of quality.

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