Twice monthly, Agriculture Advancement and Promotion Program Manager Laura Buck will provide a series of links that touch upon emerging technologies and innovations in agriculture. Topics will range from robotics to genetic engineering and everything in between. If it involves agriculture and technology, we want you to know about it (and sound smart when talking to your friends). For questions or comments, contact Laura Buck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
English scientists have already developed self-fertilizing sugar cane, and canola may be the next addition. If plants could sufficiently fertilize themselves through atmospheric nitrogen, the need for land-applied nitrogen-based fertilizers would be reduced. In turn, the environmental burden of nutrient overloading could be lessened.
This article discusses the vast potential of agricultural robotics and some challenges this emerging technology will face.
International scientists have developed a tropical grass that may reduce agricultural emissions of both methane and nitrous oxide. For example, cattle that eat the grass are reported to produce less methane while also showing improved nutrition.
Colorado is hoping to create opportunity out of a common insect problem. Bark beetles can kill off millions of acres of trees, and the dead trees that remain increase the risk of devastating forest fires. With the support of a USDA grant, the state will be researching the conversion of trees killed by bark beetles to a high-octane biofuel.
Canadian Okanagan Specialty Fruits is hoping their Arctic Apple will be approved for human consumption in the U.S. within the next two years. The Arctic Apple has been engineered to not turn brown when cut or bitten. Researchers hope this trait will reduce food waste and increase the use of fresh apples.
The AgriRover is a tool of precision agriculture, based off the Mars Rover. The AgriRover can easily maneuver in the muddiest conditions and provide farmers with data about animal waste and weeds in the pasture (called paddock in this New Zealand article).