Category: Agriculture

40% of U.S. produce is wasted. This vertical farming startup is fighting to change that

Read the full story at Fast Company.

80 Acres Farms is creating a replicable model for distributing locally grown produce more effectively.

Something fishy in the water? Minnesota monitoring tech senses risks in real time

Read the full story at Centered.

Aquaculture is the practice of breeding and harvesting fish, shellfish, and plants in freshwater or saltwater environments for human use. Aquaculture supplies more than 50% of all seafood produced globally for human consumption, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association considers it one of the most resource-efficient ways to produce protein.

Diseases can occur in these farmed fish communities just like they can among other animal populations. But factors including climate change are contributing to worsening aquaculture disease outbreaks, creating a major threat to production, food security, and environmental health.

Minnesota startup Nucleic Sensing Systems, or NS², is developing patent-pending, cloud-based sensing and analytics technology to automatically detect environmental DNA that signals the presence of troublesome organisms in the water.

EPA researchers study what causes agricultural nutrients to move into waterbodies of the Midwest

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

While there are many studies that focus on nitrogen and phosphorus losses, very few systematic reviews exist that aim to understand the impacts of site-specific conditions and management practices on annual nutrient losses in subsurface and surface runoff. To address these research gaps, EPA researchers gathered hundreds of peer-reviewed literature sources to conduct two studies that analyzed existing data from the Lake Erie Basin and 12 states in the greater Midwest U.S. These regions served as good research areas since the land is primarily used for crops – mainly corn, soybean, and wheat. 

Solar parks could be used to boost bumblebee numbers, study suggests

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Lancaster University researchers say sowing wildflowers alongside panels would have benefits for farmers who rely on pollinators.

Fertilizer washes off Midwest farm fields and taints communities’ drinking water, poisons Gulf of Mexico

Read the full story from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

As rainfall events become more intense and frequent, fertilizers applied to Midwestern farmland wash away, contaminating waterways near and far.

Native Americans’ farming practices may help feed a warming world

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Indigenous peoples have known for millennia to plant under the shade of the mesquite and paloverde trees that mark the Sonoran Desert here, shielding their crops from the intense sun and reducing the amount of water needed.

The modern-day version of this can be seen in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, where a canopy of elevated solar panels helps to protect rows of squash, tomatoes and onions. Even on a November afternoon, with the temperature climbing into the 80s, the air under the panels stays comfortably cool.

Such adaptation is central to the research underway at Biosphere 2, a unique center affiliated with the University of Arizona that’s part of a movement aimed at reimagining and remaking agriculture in a warming world. In the Southwest, projects are looking to plants and farming practices that Native Americans have long used as potential solutions to growing worries over future food supplies. At the same time, they are seeking to build energy resilience.

Purdue project could lead to farms co-producing crops, clean energy

Read the full story in the Washington Times-Herald.

As suburbs expand and housing developments continue to eat up previously undisturbed tracts of rural land, the issue of available space is becoming a greater consideration among solar companies and researchers. It’s led to a new field of study: agrivoltaics — combining agriculture and photovoltaics, a branch of technology focused on converting light into energy.

A team of engineers and agronomists at Purdue University has been experimenting with the possibilities of “aglectric” farming, mounting solar panels 15 to 20 feet above the ground at the university’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) facility in West Lafayette. Among the project’s goals is to establish and refine efficient methods of collecting infrared radiation for energy production while letting visible light pass through to crops like corn and soybeans.

New understanding of plant nutrient response could improve fertilizer management strategies

Read the full story from the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Green is a color that is almost universally associated with plants — for good reason. The green pigment chlorophyll is essential to plants’ ability to generate food; but what happens if they don’t have enough of it?

New work reveals the complex, interdependent nutrient responses underpinning a potentially deadly, low-chlorophyll state called chlorosis that’s associated with an anemic, yellow appearance. It could usher in more environmentally friendly agricultural practices — using less fertilizer and fewer water resources.

Finding the recipe for a larger, greener global rice bowl

Read the full story from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

A global assessment of rice yields and efficiency in 32 rice cropping systems concluded that there is still substantial room to increase rice production while reducing the negative environmental impacts. A leading agronomist describes the study as ‘the most comprehensive global evaluation of production systems for a major staple crop, (one that) will set the standard for future global comparison.’

Husker team gains momentum toward developing nitrogen-efficient crops

Read the full story from the University of Nebraska.

As nitrogen fertilizer prices rise across the country, a research team that includes University of Nebraska–Lincoln scientists has gained new resources and partners as they work to decrease the amount of nitrogen that crops such as sorghum and corn require to reach their maximum yield potential.

%d bloggers like this: