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New U of I open house event introduces families to today’s agriculture

University of Illinois, but now there’s another reason to head south of campus Oct. 2. Kids and families are invited to the first-ever Crop Sciences Harvest Open House to explore all things agriculture.  

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Tomatoes, but not farm workers, gardeners, safe from soil lead

URBANA, Ill. – Urban agriculture is booming, but there’s often a hidden danger lurking in city soils: lead. A recent University of Illinois study showed universally elevated lead levels in soils across Chicago, an urban ag hotspot.

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Events keep rolling through August during U of I’s Agronomy Days

URBANA, Ill. – For sixty-odd years, the University of Illinois held a single Agronomy Day at the end of August, inviting farmers and ag industry stakeholders to learn the latest advancements directly from researchers. The pandemic and other forces inspired a change this year, and today Agronomy Days events stretch across the entire season. In August, three events stand out.

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Illinois project takes on quantitative disease resistance in corn

URBANA, Ill. – Like the virus that causes COVID-19, pathogens that attack crops change constantly to evade host immunity, or disease resistance in plant parlance. Sometimes, a single gene makes the difference between a resistant crop and one that’s susceptible. In those cases, the gene typically blocks the pathogen for a while, until the microbe makes a change. 

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Head to Orr Agricultural Center July 20 for an agronomy-focused field day

URBANA, Ill. – As summer 2022 rolls on, so do the events of this year’s University of Illinois Agronomy Days. Farmers in the know are keeping a close watch on the summer-long calendar of events providing practical, research-based information that can improve yield, input management, and sustainability on the farm.

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New greenhouse lighting helps researchers’ urgent need for speed

As a plant breeder, Milcah Kigoni faces enemies every season. Pests. Disease. Weather. But her most relentless nemesis is time.

New lights in the University of Illinois Plant Care Facilities give her and other researchers leverage to develop better plant varieties faster to help feed the world’s growing population. The drama is real.

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How much spring nitrogen to apply? Pre-planting weather may provide a clue

URBANA, Ill. – With the rising cost of nitrogen fertilizer and its impacts on air and water quality, University of Illinois researchers want to help farmers make more informed fertilizer rate decisions. Their latest modeling effort aims to do that by examining the role of pre-growing season weather on soil nitrogen dynamics and end-of-season corn yield.

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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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Study: Proposed nitrogen fertilizer policies could protect farmer profits, environment

URBANA, Ill. – Nitrogen fertilizer has major implications for crop yields and environmental health, specifically water quality in the Gulf of Mexico. Federal and state governments have shied away from regulating nitrogen fertilizer use, but voluntary and incentives-based programs have not been particularly successful; the oxygen-starved “dead zone” in the Gulf remains much larger than goals set by the federal-state Hypoxia Task Force.

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