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

UW Crops Team competes in Chicago Collegiate Crops Judging Contest

On November 19, the UW Crops Team placed 8th out of 10 teams in the Chicago Collegiate Crops Judging Contest. The contest was held at the Loyola University downtown Chicago, IL campus and is sponsored by the CME Group, GROWMARK, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists. The Crops Team consists of undergraduates Katelyn Van Treeck, Rachel Perry, Clare Gietzel, and Jacqui Hilliard. The team was advised and coached by volunteers Dan Smith and Nate Drewitz. The contest consisted of weed, disease, and crop identification, grain grading, and seed analysis. In the identification portion of the contestant they were given plant and seed samples and had to identify common crops, wheat varieties, common diseases of corn, soybean and small grains, and weeds. In the grain grading portion of the contest they were required to grade barley, corn, oats, rye, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat according to USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service standards. In the seed analysis portion they were required to identify seeds of common crops, weeds, restricted and noxious weeds. The Crops Team is ...
December 1, 2016
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Agronomy Links for 11/30

Molly Jahn: Thanksgiving 2050: To feed the world, we have to stop destroying our soil The Christian Science Monitor Will New Dicamba soybeans mean better yields? Don't count your chickens, says Shawn Conley. Registration open for 2017 Wisconsin Ag Outlook Forum  
November 30, 2016
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Listen: Gary Oates and John Greenler on The Larry Meiller Show

One Friday Gary Oates and John Greenler appeared on The Larry Meiller show to talk biofuels and take questions from the audience. A link to listen is below: http://www.wpr.org/listen/1025951  
November 29, 2016
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Agronomy news for 11/8

Soybean cyst nematode resistance threat - Agri-View News 2017 Crop Production and Management Meetings - Wisconsin Ag Connection Pest Management Update Meetings - Wisconsin Ag Connection
November 8, 2016
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In Memoriam: Supporting Young Women in Science

Sharon Gray’s work in Ethiopia is not done. The 30-year-old UC Davis postdoc had gone to the African nation to discuss the start of a plant biology research project. She and others — including Associate Professor Siobhan Brady — were in a car, driving on the outskirts of the capital city, Addis Ababa, when a rock came crashing through a window, striking and killing Gray. Brady was not injured. Now, to preserve her legacy of mentorship, and hopefully bring this scientist to the United States,Gray’s family is raising money via GoFundMe to mentor women in science. “The mission of this current campaign is to make something positive out of this tragedy,” Markelz wrote for the GoFundMe site. He said the family is discussing the exchange proposal with multiple institutions, including UC Davis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Gray received her Ph.D. Meanwhile, as of around 11:00 am today (Oct. 18), the GoFundMe drive had raised more than $92,000 toward its $200,000 goal. Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/sharonbethgray Article detailing Sharon’s life and mentoring: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/sharon-grays-mentorship-lives-on
October 18, 2016
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New Jackson lab manuscript on plant-associated soil microbes

The Randy Jackson lab has released a new manuscript titled "Bioenergy cropping systems that incorporate native grasses stimulate growth of plant-associated soil microbes in the absence of nitrogen fertilization". Abstract: The choice of crops and their management can strongly influence soil microbial communities and their processes. We used lipid biomarker profiling to characterize how soil microbial composition of five potential bioenergy cropping systems diverged from a common baseline five years after they were established. The cropping systems we studied included an annual system (continuous no-till corn) and four perennial crops (switchgrass, miscanthus, hybrid poplar, and restored prairie). Partial- and no-stover removal were compared for the corn system, while N-additions were compared to unfertilized plots for the perennial cropping systems. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and Gram-negative biomass was higher in unfertilized perennial grass systems, especially in switchgrass and prairie. Gram-positive bacterial biomass decreased in all systems relative to baseline values in surface soils (0–10 cm), but not subsurface soils (10–25 cm). Overall microbial composition was similar between the two soil depths. Our findings demonstrate the capacity of unfertilized perennial cropping systems to recreate microbial composition ...
October 14, 2016
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