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Cover crops not enough to improve soil after decades of continuous corn

URBANA, Ill. – Although about 20% of Illinois cropping systems are planted to continuous corn, it’s nearly impossible to find fields planted this way for decades at a time. Yet long-term experiments like one at the University of Illinois, including over 40 years of continuous corn under different nitrogen fertilizer rates, provide incredible learning opportunities and soil management lessons for researchers and farmers alike. 

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Rethinking Agronomy Day at U of I means pop-up events and more

URBANA, Ill. – In its 65th year, the University of Illinois’ “Agronomy Day” is a day no more. Instead, the Department of Crop Sciences, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and Illinois Extension will host a series of events all season long. They will include traditional field days as well as new pop-up tailgate events and shade tree talks.

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U of I wheat, barley field day set for May 21 at Riggs Beer Company

URBANA, Ill. – Riggs Beer Company and the Small Grains Improvement Program at the University of Illinois are teaming up from 3 to 5 p.m. on May 21 for their first Field Festival. The event, which organizers hope to host annually at Riggs, welcomes current and curious wheat and barley growers, maltsters, home brewers, and members of the public to tour test plots and learn more about the crops that give beer its distinctive flavor.

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Corn genetic heritage the strongest driver of chemical defenses against munching bugs

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Plants release chemical distress signals when under attack from chewing insects. These “911 calls,” as entomologist Esther Ngumbi refers to them, alert other bugs that dinner or a nice place to lay their eggs is available nearby. If predatory or parasitic insects detect the right signal, they swoop in like saviors to make a meal out of – or lay their eggs in – the bodies of the herbivore insects.

Read more from the Illinois News Bureau.

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Climate change demands near perfect weed control in soybean

URBANA, Ill. – Growing crops in a changing climate is tough enough, but when weeds factor in, soybean yields take a massive hit. That’s according to new research from the University of Illinois and the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and it means farmers will need to achieve greater weed control than ever to avoid yield loss.

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University of Illinois offering free quantitative plant breeding workshop in June

URBANA, Ill. – The Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois will host a workshop on applied quantitative genetics for plant breeders June 1-3, 2022. The free workshop will give graduate students and other interested professionals the statistical tools to achieve greater crop breeding outcomes.

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Illinois researchers find exotic sources of resistance to tar spot in corn

URBANA, Ill. – When tar spot – a fungal disease of corn capable of causing significant yield loss – popped out of nowhere in 2015, Midwestern corn growers were left scrambling to manage the outbreak with few effective tools. The industry has since made some progress toward management with fungicides, but many researchers agree resistance is the path forward for living with tar spot.

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Gene important in soybean protein content found after 30-year search

URBANA, Ill. – Soybeans outmatch all other legumes as the protein powerhouses of the plant kingdom, providing a key protein source for humans and livestock around the world. And now, after 30 years, University of Illinois scientists have identified the gene with the largest impact on seed protein in soybean.

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Illinois research shows how dicamba could be safely used in sweet corn

URBANA, Ill. – Many agronomic weeds are developing resistance to available herbicides, making them harder and harder to kill. With few effective chemicals left and no new herbicide classes on the horizon, farmers are going back to older products that still offer the promise of crop protection.

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Illinois soybean breeder named AAAS Fellow

URBANA, Ill. – Last week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named soybean breeder Brian Diers one of its 2021 Fellows. The honor recognizes the contributions of researchers for the advancement of science or service to society.

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