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

Agronomy News for 5/27/15

Nominations open for the 2015 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application. - The prize recognizes exceptional, science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under 40. Pasture partnership supports organic dairy farmers across Wisconsin. - Erin Silva and the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Program work to imporve the health of dairy pastures. Walk away from the calendar - Cutting forage at the optimal quality for feed. - The PEAQ stick was developed by UW Professor Ken Albrecht and his colleagues. Speakers stress need to focus on climate change. - Professor Molly Jahn speaks at the Door County Climate Change Forum.  
May 27, 2015
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“Second generation” Feedstocks Reduce Greehouse Gas Emissions

[caption id="attachment_1226" align="aligncenter" width="1140"] Left photo by Andrew Dean, Right photo by Gregg Sanford.[/caption] Scientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Michigan State University (MSU) report today that emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O) can be reduced significantly by replacing annual biofuels feedstocks, such as corn, with second-generation, perennial feedstocks such as switchgrass. “If we are going to add second-generation biofuel crops to the landscape, we need a better sense of how they’ll impact ecosystem processes such as greenhouse gas emissions,” says Gary Oates, research scientist in the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) Sustainability group and the paper’s lead author. The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology–Bioenergy, compares eight different biofuel cropping systems planted at both UW–Madison’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station and MSU’s Kellogg Biological Research Station. So-called “first-generation” biofuel crops in the study include corn, soybean, and canola, which need to be replanted each year. Second-generation crops include switchgrass, miscanthus, poplar, a mixture of native grasses, and a prairie mix. These perennial crops require an “establishment phase” after planting, a few years during which they settle into ...
May 19, 2015
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Agronomy News for 5/5/15

UW-Madison places 5th in the world for Agriculture and Forestry in the 2015 QS World University Rankings. Alumnus Bryan Decker joins La Crosse Seed sales team. Shawn Conley and Adam Gaspar discuss early spring soybean planting. The 6th Annual Wisconsin Soybean Yield Contest has begun! The first place award in each division includes a $1,000 cash prize; second-place honors include a $500 prize. Winners will be selected for having the highest soybean yield based on bushels per acre at 13% moisture.  
May 5, 2015
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Shawn Conley wins Pound Extension Award

This week Professor Shawn Conley was presented the Pound Extension award by Dean Kathryn VandenBosch at the 2015 CALS Awards. The Pound Award is given to a faculty member is an outstanding integrated Extension asset of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.  
May 1, 2015
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“Microbes are incredibly charismatic if you have the right mindset”

David Duncan loves to think about dirt, and a quick glance at his family tree could lead one to believe he comes by it naturally. His grandfather was an agricultural extension agent and his handful of uncles includes two agronomists and an expert on fungi. But Duncan, a University of Wisconsin–Madison doctoral student in agronomy and a Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center researcher, asserts that what really pulled him into agronomy was his mother. “My interest in biology was agricultural from the get-go and I think it’s because my mom always loved the idea of having a great big garden,” Duncan says. “Early on, I learned from her that growing things was a good pursuit, something worth doing.” Duncan spent his childhood in central Wyoming, an arid region where it’s hard to grow much of anything. He recalls tending some strawberries and rhubarb with his mom, but remembers even better the summers he spent digging around in the decomposing pile of grass clippings out by the shed. “It was sort of an early experiment in microbial ecology,” Duncan says. “Unfortunately, it ended when the ...
April 27, 2015
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“Now it’s time to really make decisions”

Click here to listen to Joe Lauer talk about the 2015 corn growing season with Sevie Kenyon of UW CALS.
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