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

Tommy Butts talks resistant weeds with WI growers

[From www.agriview.com] At the Pest Management Field Day recently held at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station, weed science graduate research assistant Tommy Butts presented on one of the greatest threats to Wisconsin agriculture. Herbicide-resistant weeds, the nemesis of farmers, have been slowly spreading across the country. Glyphosate-resistant common waterhemp has already been confirmed in 15 other states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. “Wisconsin was bound to be next,” says Butts. Suspected glyphosate-resistant common waterhemp populations were identified in August 2013 from fields in Eau Claire and Pierce Counties, and suspected glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth was identified during the same month in a field in Dane County. It was the Late Season Weed Escape Survey in Wisconsin Corn and Soybean Fields that caught the intruders, conducted by previous graduate research assistant, Ross Recker. Graduate research assistant, Butts, introduced himself at the field day as “the pigweed guy” and relayed the bad news, noting that common waterhemp and Palmer amaranth are part of the pigweed family. Butts’ calm tone turned serious as he detailed the risks associated with these problematic weeds. “I believe both common waterhemp and Palmer amaranth are ...
July 29, 2014

“It’s on all sides. The pollen is all over you. It’s total immersion research.”

[caption id="attachment_735" align="aligncenter" width="834"] Photos by Matt Wisniewski.[/caption] UW Associate Agronomy Professor Natalia De-Leon is profiled in an article by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center discussing her research in mapping the genetic characteristics of corn. Natalia and her team spend long hours every growing season manually pollinating and mapping acres of corn in order to track genetic characteristics among different strains. “When you drive along the highway, you see corn and it all looks the same, but actually corn has a lot of genetic variability,” de Leon explains. “You’ve got different plant heights, kernel colors, cob colors, different compositions, different qualities of grain, and different sizes of cob, and the list goes on.” The GLBRC performs research on converting biomass to ethanol and other biofuels. For more information, visit https://www.glbrc.org/.
July 25, 2014

Sudden Death Syndrome in Soybeans growing issue for WI farmers

Faculty member Shawn Conley discusses Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome with the Wisconsin Agriculturist: "Detection is the first thing," Conley recommends for farmers. "Don't assume it is [brown stem rot]. Know what pathogen is in the field." SDS is a new but increasing concern for Wisconsin farmers. It has similar characteristics to brown stem rot, a familiar enemy, but there is no genetic resistance to SDS. The WI Soybean Marketing Board has free testing kits available for soybean nematodes and SDS. Contact Shawn Conley for more information.
July 22, 2014

Learn to Identify and Manage Invasive Species at WIFDN Field Day

WI First Detector Network Presents: Identifying, mapping, and managing invasive species in Wisconsin Field-day on August 1st. Invasive species are one of the top threats facing Wisconsin’s environment and economy. There are many ways for you to participate in helping to protect our natural heritage; one way is to get involved with Wisconsin’s First Detector Network (WIFDN). WIFDN is a network of volunteers that strive to assist in identification of invasive species. WIFDN is pleased to offer a FREE hands-on training in southeast Wisconsin on August 1st. Topics that will be discussed include emerald ash borer (EAB) and invasive plants. Join experts from UW Extension and Southeast Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium (SEWISC) at Riveredge Nature Center (4458 County Road Y, Saukville, WI 53080) from 9:00-12:00. We will meet in the west parking lot approximately 1 mile southwest of the headquarters (between 4269 and 4277 Hawthorne Dr, Saukville, WI 53080). The first segment of the workshop will demonstrate how to identify trees afflicted with EAB and effectiveness of treatments to prevent injury to infected trees on your property. The second segment will focus on ...
July 16, 2014

Jean-Michel Ané named Rothermel-Bascom Professor in Agronomy

Agronomy professor Jean-Michel Ané was recently appointed the Rothermel-Bascom Professor in Agronomy.  The five-year professorship, bestowed by the UW-Madison Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, provides support for Ané’s research and scholarly activities.
July 8, 2014

Joe Lauer named Fellow of CSSA

Congratulations to Joe Lauer, professor and Extension corn specialist in the Department of Agronomy, who has been selected as a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America. Fellow is the highest recognition bestowed by the Crop Science Society of America. Members of the Society nominate worthy colleagues based on their professional achievements and meritorious service. Nominees will have made outstanding contributions in an area of specialization whether in research, teaching, extension, service, or administration and whether in public, commercial, or private service activities.
July 2, 2014