Posts Tagged With: Fertilizer

Laura’s Links: Ensuring Your Ag-Tech Literacy

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

“Moving Beyond Agricultural Pesticides”

Australian scientists are exploring how fertilizers can be used to control agricultural pests. You read that correctly – fertilizers as a form of pesticide. Plants are most vulnerable to pests when they are “ill” – either too much or too little nutrients – so maintaining a correct balance of nutrients improves a crop’s resistance to pests.

English: Pea plant One of thousands growing here.

English: Pea plant One of thousands growing here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“New, Disease-Resistant Pea Lines Developed”

Help is on the way for pea growers. USDA scientists have developed peas tolerant to a particularly troublesome form of root rot. There is currently no fungicide available for peas that is capable of tackling this form of root rot, which can result in crop losses up to 100%. Researchers hope the tolerance trait will be introduced to commercial pea varieties soon.

“Air, Water, Energy and Food in a Nutshell: Space Exploration as a Driver for Sustainable Robotic Agriculture”

The following article explores the relationship between agriculture and space exploration. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a farmer in outer space, this read is for you. Perhaps someday in the not-too-distant future, Major Tom will be Farmer Jon.

“Science of the Times: NASA Sows Seeds of Science for Children”

Speaking of farmers in space, NASA has launched a new program to engage children in agriculture. Once again, you read that right – NASA engaging students in agriculture. Classrooms around the country will be encouraged to create “growth chambers,” which will be used as controls for the experimental growth chambers NASA will be sending to the moon in 2015. Basil and turnip seeds will be used in the experiment, which should tell us a lot about the potential of lunar greenhouses.

Categories: Farming in the 21st Century | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some easy experiments for the classroom or home

October is National Farm-To-School Month.  Check back every Monday of the month for a post about how to incorporate agricultural themes into the classroom.

Sometimes, modern agriculture becomes an impersonal force in the food system.  We don’t understand how it works, the science behind it, and what it means for our world and our lives.


Agriculture (Photo credit: thegreenpages)

Here are two links that illustrate some of the scientific principles behind the agriculture around us.

In this YouTube video, you can learn how to extract a mass of DNA from strawberries using common household items.  This is an experiment I did in freshman botany at Purdue, and it helped me visualize the various components of a living plant.

This experiment teaches about the basics of fertilizers.  Fertilizers are mainly composed of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and help farmers compensate for the deficiencies of the soil where they’re planting.  Through this experiment, students can learn how fertilizers are tools to help with plant growth.

Happy experimenting!

Categories: Farming in the 21st Century, General, Informational | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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