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Organic farmers’ beliefs about soil microbiome affect their practices, study shows

Organic farming can support soil microorganisms that promote plant defenses and reduce insect pests. But not all organic practices are equally beneficial for soil microbes, and it’s important to understand farmer motivations in order to encourage the adoption of microbiome-supportive efforts.

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University of Illinois Agronomy Days series kicks off this month

Illinois growers have long relied on University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign crop scientists and  Extension specialists to deliver research-backed recommendations that optimize productivity, profitability, and sustainability on the farm.

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Illinois researchers develop an AI model to reduce uncertainty in evapotranspiration prediction

When scientists look at the Earth’s available water for ecosystem services, they don’t just look at precipitation. They must also account for water moving from the ground to the atmosphere, a process known as evapotranspiration (ET). ET includes evaporation from soil and open water pools such as lakes, rivers, and ponds, as well as transpiration from plant leaves.

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ACES scientists improve understanding of canopy-level photosynthesis

In recent years, the scientific community has increasingly turned its attention to sustainable agriculture, aiming to maximize crop yield while minimizing environmental impact. A crucial aspect of this research involves understanding the fundamental processes of plant photosynthesis and how they can be monitored at scale. One promising method for assessing photosynthetic activity is through the measurement of sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence, a byproduct of photosynthesis that can be detected from ground-based sensors as well as from satellites in space.

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Illinois study: Systematic review of agricultural injuries can help inform safety measures

Agricultural occupations are  hazardous with one of the highest rates of workplace injuries and fatalities in the U.S. The manual and often strenuous nature of the work, combined with the use of machinery and exposure to environmental hazards create a challenging work environment. Understanding the nature and causes of injuries can help improve safety guidelines and policy measures. However, obtaining a comprehensive overview of injuries is hindered by the absence of a central reporting system.

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ASC announces N2Onet to track nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural systems

Due to its status as a long-lived greenhouse gas, controlling the emission of nitrous oxide (N2O) is recognized as a core component of climate change mitigation. This gas largely comes from nitrogen fertilizer applied to soil in agricultural regions. An international team led by the Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is developing an initiative to better track and understand these emissions.

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How the Russian invasion of Ukraine has impacted the global wheat market

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 caused an immediate disruption in the global wheat market, with serious implications for food prices and global food security. Wheat is a staple commodity in many countries and one of the most extensively traded crops worldwide.

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Scaling up urban agriculture: Research team outlines roadmap

Urban agriculture has the potential to decentralize food supplies, provide environmental benefits like wildlife habitat, and mitigate environmental footprints, but researchers have identified knowledge gaps regarding both the benefits and risks of urban agriculture and the social processes of growing more food in urban areas.

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New genetic vulnerability to herbicide found in nearly 50 sweet and field corn lines

When a sweet corn breeder reached out in 2021 to report severe injury from the herbicide tolpyralate, Marty Williams hoped it was a fluke isolated to a single inbred line.

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