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Differences Between Ancient & Modern Corn Genetics can Aid Future Development

Roughly 9,000 years ago, Native American farmers in southern Mexico began domesticating teosinte, the wild ancestor of modern corn. It would take a while — probably another few thousand years — but their efforts would eventually begin to bear more edible fruit. Whereas the ancient teosinte plant produces hundreds of slender, thumb-length ears with no more than a dozen rock-hard kernels, …

Unique Process ‘Cleans’ Crop Water Runoff When Using Dairy Manure as Fertilizer

Dairy manure is a natural crop fertilizer, and Texas A&M AgriLife scientists believe they have discovered a way to make sure that the valuable resource stays on crops where it is applied as a fertilizer, and out of waterways, where it is a potential pollutant. Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Tarleton State University scientists are joining forces to develop and demonstrate a biochar-assisted phytoremediation system …

Revealing the Diversity of Genes Behind Better Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa is a major Western crop and an important food source for dairy cattle and other livestock worldwide. Scientists at Washington State University (WSU), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and partner institutions have identified 10 genetic markers and promising parent varieties that could boost the quality of alfalfa hay, making it more digestible and nourishing. “People don’t eat alfalfa, but …

Insect-Deterring Sorghum Compounds May be Eco-Friendly Pesticide

Compounds produced by sorghum plants to defend against insect feeding could be isolated, synthesized and used as a targeted, nontoxic insect deterrent, according to researchers who studied plant-insect interactions that included field, greenhouse and laboratory components. The researchers examined the role of sorghum chemicals called flavonoids —specifically 3-deoxyflavonoid and 3-deoxyanthocyanidins — in providing resistance against the corn leaf aphid, a …

Improved Method to Test for Mycotoxin in Feed

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Center for Analytical Chemistry (CAC) scientists Bahar Nakhjavan, Nighat Sami Ahmed, and Maryam Khosravifard were recently published in an academic journal after developing an improved method to test for mycotoxin in feed. Their article, “Development of an Improved Method of Sample Extraction and Quantitation of Multi-Mycotoxin in Feed by LC-MS/MS,” details their research …

Flavonoids’ Presence in Sorghum Roots May Lead to Frost-Resistant Crop

Flavonoid compounds — produced by the roots of some sorghum plants — positively affect soil microorganisms, according to Penn State researchers, who suggest the discovery is an early step in developing a frost-resistant line of the valuable crop for North American farmers. That is important because sorghum is a crop that can respond to climate change because of its high …

Dairy’s Shrinking Water Footprint: A Key Piece of the SGMA Puzzle

The implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and and other anticipated water restrictions pose major challenges for California agriculture. Without effective solutions, economists have estimated that up to one million acres of farmland will be fallowed, resulting in a revenue loss of $7.2 billion per year. As the state’s top agricultural commodity, dairy farming is an important part …

New Tool to Combat Fusarium Head Blight in Wheat

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their colleagues have discovered a gene that can be used to develop varieties of wheat that will be more resistant to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), a disease that is a major threat both overseas and to the nation’s $10 billion annual wheat crop. A paper reporting the discovery and the cloning of the gene, …

From Seed to Feedout: CA Silage Conference

New seed and agronomic information, techniques, and a review of silage harvest best practices were taught at the California Silage Conference on July 24, 2019. Over 130 farmers, dairymen, chopping contractors, dairy nutritionists, and industry service personnel were welcomed by the Frank Fernandes family of Legacy Ranches in Pixley, CA. Attendees moved through stations featuring seed corn genetic opportunities, specialized …

February Income over Feed Cost Margin Triggers Second 2019 Dairy Safety Net Payment

feed prices

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the February 2019 income over feed cost margin was $8.22 per hundredweight (cwt.), triggering the second payment for dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new but yet-to-be established Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, is a voluntary risk management program …

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