Feeding 9 Billion People and Creating a Healthier, More Resilient Agriculture.

That is the challenge taken up by the faculty, staff and students of the Department of Agronomy.  We generate and apply knowledge about plants that feed and benefit humankind.  We find and implement answers to problems and opportunities concerning efficiency and sustainability of crop production and in safe and environmentally-sound ways. We generate knowledge on the genetics, biochemistry and physiology of plants. We study the interactions among cropping systems, climate, and the environment. We work to ensure that agricultural systems and products in Wisconsin and the world are able to meet rapidly-changing needs and those of future generations.

  • Planting corn plots

Switchgrass Trials Show Promise For Alternative Biofuels

   The switchgrass nitrogen fertility trial at Kellogg Biological Research Center in Hickory Corners, MI (left), and GLBRC researcher Laura Smith collecting switchgrass tissue samples at Chiwaukee Prairie in Kenosha City, WI (right). Photos by Laura and Matt Smith. By now most of us are accustomed to filling our cars with fuels that are part ethanol, and we know that corn is not only in our tortillas but also in our gas tanks. Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) researchers, however, are moving beyond corn and other first-generation biofuel feedstocks in an attempt to fill our tanks with environmentally sustainable biofuels. Randy Jackson, GLBRC’s sustainability research group co-leader, says “the focus of agricultural biofuel research has changed recently from ‘agronomic intensification’ to ‘ecological intensification.’ In other words, it’s not just about how much money you can make growing a crop anymore…it’s about how we can grow what we need and nurture the land at the same time.” “One way to move towards a system of ecological intensification,” Jackson continues, “is to move from fields of corn, which need to be planted annually and require lots of ...
February 24, 2015
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Journal Club for 2/23

Greetings Plant Scientists! Next Monday we will meet at noon in Room 473 and follow on a discussion started this week to talk about seed patents and their significance in the plant breeding industry. Brett Burdo will present a paper titled "What if Seeds were not Patentable?" by Elizabeth I. Winston, which explores the consequences of allowing seeds to be patentable subject matter, other protections put forth by the U.S. government to spur growth in research and investment in the seed industry, and the licenses developed by private companies to expand on the protections put forth by the federal government, as well as circumvent them. If you have questions/comments about Journal Club​ or wish to present a paper, feel free to email us at psgsc@rso.wisc.edu or ramstein@wisc.edu. Papers presented may be news articles, research papers or even reviews around a particular research issue that you would like to discuss with colleagues. Winston 2008
February 17, 2015
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Grain Production Clinics Offered

Two identical grain crops production clinics will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 18. The locations are Cobblestone Creek Dining and Banquet, 740 W. Ryan St., Brillion, and Doxbee’s Banquet and Buffet, N6744 County Road C, Seymour. Topics include: How to Keep Drying Costs Down -  Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin-Madison corn specialist; Improving Soybean Yields - David Marburger, a UW soybean doctoral candidate; Managing Fertility in a Low Grain Price Environment - Carrie Laboski, UW soil-fertility specialist; Remote Sensing - Brian Luck, UW Extension precision Ag specialist; and Federal Farm Programs - Ag agents Kevin Jarek and Scott Reuss. The cost is $25 per person. Register for the Brillion meeting with the Calumet County Extension Office, 920-849-1450, and for the Seymour meeting with the Outagamie County Extension Office, 920-832-5121.
February 10, 2015
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CALS Graduates Find Ample Job Opportunities

If high school students or their parents are wondering if there will be jobs available when a student graduates from college, there are jobs for University of Wisconsin-Madison students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, says John Klatt, CALS assistant dean for student development. According to a placement survey conducted on CALS students who graduated in May 2013: *25% of the graduating students had already accepted jobs by graduation *34% went on to graduate school or a professional school, such as vet school *11% had signed up for jobs in organizations such as Peace Corps or Teach for America "What this survey shows is that at the time of graduation, 70% of the CALS graduating class in May 2013 had post-graduate plans," Klatt explains. A follow up study six months later revealed that two-thirds of the 30% who did not have jobs lined up at graduation had accepted full-time jobs. "What this means is six months after graduation, 90% of the graduating class from May 2013 was employed, in graduate school or a professional school or was in organizations such as Peace Corps or Teach ...
February 4, 2015
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New Journal Club Meeting – 2/9/2015

Greetings Plant Scientists! Next Monday the first Journal Club of the year will be held! As usual from now on, we will meet on Monday at noon in Room 473 to discuss – more or less broadly and informally – around a paper that one volunteer chose to present. Next week (February 9th), Matt Murray will present a paper about patterns of genetic ancestry in African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States (attached). Many authors of this paper work with the company 23andMe, the personal genotyping company that has become very common in the US. In this paper they use some of their consumer data as well as some well-known data sets, for example, the 1000 genomes project, to look at ancestry of different sub-populations of humans in the US. The authors pick apart present day admixture with the help of self-reported genealogies and historical human geography. If you wish to present a paper or have questions/comments about Journal Club, feel free to email us at psgsc@rso.wisc.edu or ramstein@wisc.edu. Papers presented may be news articles, research papers or even reviews around a particular research issue that you would like to discuss with colleagues. We hope to see ...
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UW-Madison to host Regional SASES Conference March 12-15, 2015

The Badger Crops Club is proud to announce we are hosting the regional conference for the national organization of Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences (SASES). We expect over 300 students from approximately 15 of the top agricultural universities in the country. Conference activities will include networking, presentations, tours, and other opportunities to meet and connect with future agricultural leaders. For details, hotel, and registration, go to http://www.sases2015.com/.
January 21, 2015
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