Posts Tagged With: United States Department of Agriculture

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 lbuck@isda.in.gov.

“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.

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

Introducing… 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 lbuck@isda.in.gov.

 

Canola field in Temora, New South Wales

Canola field in Temora, New South Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Could Self-Fertilizing Canola Be Coming Soon?”

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.

“Transformational Robotics and Its Application to Agriculture”

This article discusses the vast potential of agricultural robotics and some challenges this emerging technology will face.

“New Grass Developed to Curb Greenhouse Gas Emission”

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.

“USDA Grant Aims to Convert Beetle-Killed Trees into Biofuel”

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.

“Genetics Might Lead to Better Apples, Other Types of Food”

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.

AgriRover Brings Mars Technology to the Farm”

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).

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

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