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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is much more carbon stored in Earth’s soil than in its atmosphere. A significant portion of this soil carbon is in organic form (carbon bound to carbon), called soil organic carbon (SOC). Notably, unlike the inorganic carbon in soils, the amount of SOC, and how quickly it is built up or lost, can be influenced by humans. Since its advent about 10,000 years ago, agriculture has caused a significant amount of SOC to be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.
URBANA, Ill. – In Kirsten Wyatt’s agriculture science classroom in Paxton, an unusual piece of equipment helps high school students learn genomics. Not a microscope or a PCR machine, but a popcorn popper.
URBANA, Ill. – Just how much carbon is in the soil? That’s a tough question to answer at large spatial scales, but understanding soil organic carbon at regional, national, or global scales could help scientists predict overall soil health, crop productivity, and even worldwide carbon cycles.
URBANA, Ill. – A tight-knit team of University of Illinois experts collected kudos this week from the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). One of them helped make sure a colleague who promotes their work received attention, as well.
URBANA, Ill. – Agriculture’s one big thing, according to Dennis Bowman, is this: feeding the world sustainably in the face of climate change.
Ag has always been a complicated business, a mix of biology, geology, and weather influenced by ever-changing economics, politics, and public opinion.