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Drones and AI detect soybean maturity with high accuracy

URBANA, Ill. – Walking rows of soybeans in the mid-summer heat is an exhausting but essential chore in breeding new cultivars. Researchers brave the heat daily during crucial parts of the growing season to look for plants showing desirable traits, such as early pod maturity. But without a way to automate detection of these traits, breeders can’t test as many plots as they’d like in a given year, elongating the time it takes to bring new cultivars to market.

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Illinois scientists rev up plant breeding for organic corn

URBANA, Ill. – A new $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) will support University of Illinois scientists and collaborators as they develop improved seed corn tailored to the needs of the rapidly growing organic industry.

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Common feed ingredient tested safe in bulls

URBANA, Ill. – Cattle feeders choose distillers grains in feedlot diets as an inexpensive alternative to corn and soybean meal. But until now, no one had studied the effects of the common feed ingredient on bull development and fertility. With bull fertility to blame for a significant portion of reproductive failures in cow-calf operations, University of Illinois researchers decided it was worth a look.

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Beef Selection and Reproduction Management Seminar scheduled for late January

URBANA, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension has announced it will hold its annual Beef Selection and Reproduction Management Seminar on Jan. 29 at the American Legion in Lincoln. The meeting will start at 5:15 p.m. and conclude at 8:30 p.m.

The program will include experts sharing practical knowledge on a range of topics.

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Dietary supplement may enhance dairy cattle health and reproductive capacity

  • Dairy cattle diets are often deficient in the essential amino acid methionine; supplements have been shown to increase milk production and protein concentration.
  • A new study shows that rumen-protected methionine supplements can change gene expression in the ovarian follicle, potentially leading to shorter time between ovulation events.
  • Methionine supplements also decrease expression of genes related to inflammation in the cells of the ovarian follicle.
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Methionine could be key to improving pregnancy rate in dairy cattle

  • Rumen-protected methionine (RPM) added to the diet of Holstein cows improves the survival rate of preimplantation embryos.
  • Cows fed methionine have more lipid droplets inside the preimplantation embryo, which could be used as energy by the embryos.
  • Embryonic death has been shown to drop from 19 percent to 6 percent in cows fed methionine.
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