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.
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.
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.
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.
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.