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

Plant Sciences Symposium Seeking Proposals

(as seen on eCALS) The Plant Sciences Graduate Student Council (PSGSC) is in the midst of planning the annual UW-Madison Plant Sciences Symposium. This fall our symposium will be entitled Plants and Society: Integrating Food and Science in Today’s Culture. The theme of the the integration of multiple disciplines and perspectives in addressing research inquires related to agriculture. This year we are adding four 15-minute presentations to the schedule. PSGSC invites students from departments related to agriculture to join us in creating another great symposium. This is a great opportunity for students to work on professional presentation skills as well as receive recognition from the UW-Madison community, and the larger international audience that the symposium attracts via the live webinar. The symposium will be held on Friday, October 3rd in Union South. We would like to give everyone an opportunity to apply for the chance to be one of our featured speakers in this year’s symposium. Student presenters will be given 15 minutes to talk about their work, followed by 5 minutes for questions. To apply please send a brief abstract (max 300 words) describing the research you would like to present and a current CV to psgsc@rso.wisc.edu. After review ...
August 18, 2014
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It’s All in the Genes: Dr. Bill Tracy discusses sweet corn with Lynn Rosetto Kasper

Listen to department chair Bill Tracy discuss sweet corn with Lynn Rossetto Kasper on this week's episode of The Splendid Table: Food keeps getting more complicated. Take sweet corn: It's no longer enough to buy it directly from the farmer or to pick it yourself. You need a degree in agriculture to figure out which kind of sweet corn you want: sugary, sugary enhanced, supersweet, synergistic or augmented.  
August 14, 2014
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Agronomy Department Handbook Updated

As of Fall 2014, new credit requirements go into effect for graduate students. These changes are reflected in the updated Agronomy Graduate Student Handbook (link opens PDF). This handbook can be permanently found on its own page in the Program menu. Questions about the changes may be directed to Chris Kucharik, Joanna Schuth, or Jillene Fisch.
August 8, 2014
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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
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“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
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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
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