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

Who Gets Kissed?

[caption id="attachment_987" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Professor Bill Tracy holds an ear of sweet corn developed through his breeding program.[/caption]   “Who Gets Kissed?” is the name of a new organic sweet corn developed by the UW-Madison and a nonprofit called the Organic Seed Alliance. The corn, with its equally corny name, was announced December 5 by the university. It’s named after a game played at “husking bees” (gatherings of farm families and friends to husk corn, in case you haven't been invited to one yet). The first person to find an ear with all red kernels – this used to be much more common – got to choose one person in the group to kiss. “Who Gets Kissed?” was developed after a Minnesota farmer reached out to the Organic Seed Alliance and an agronomist at UW. The farmer was having trouble growing organic sweet corn in colder soil. The corn took about seven years to develop, according to the university. In addition to its hearty and decidedly Midwestern ability to grow in cold temperatures, they say it is also resistant to “common rust and corn smut.” The corn ...
December 8, 2014
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Final Plant Sciences Journal Club of the semester!

Hello plant scientists! Thank you to those who attended last weeks' journal club with Dr. Fred Gmitter! We had a great discussion, so thanks to all who came, listened, and asked questions. There is one more journal club to attend today, so let's go out with a bang! Herbicide resistance is a very important issue in crop breeding and plant production, especially with the high selection pressure placed on weeds with frequent use of herbicide, and characterizing these types of naturally-occurring resistant mutants is important for management practices. Lynn Maher has selected a paper on the topic of collecting and screening a wide population of grass weeds for resistance in order to infer the evolution of these resistance traits. So please come today, Monday December 8th at Noon to Moore 473 to discuss weeds, resistant mechanisms, regulations, and anything else you would like to discuss. See you there, -PSGSC Herbicide Resistance
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Dr. Chris Kucharik: Crop productivity and the rise in CO2 seasonality

In a study published Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Nature, scientists at Boston University, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and McGill University show that a steep rise in the productivity of crops grown for food accounts for as much as 25 percent of the increase in this carbon dioxide (CO2) seasonality. “This is another piece of evidence suggesting that when we (humans) do things at a large scale, we have the ability to greatly influence the composition of the atmosphere,” says UW-Madison’s Chris Kucharik, a co-author of the study and professor in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Department of Agronomy and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Full story here: http://www.news.wisc.edu/23298
November 20, 2014
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Wisconsin Soybean Grower Conferences to take place 12/2-12/4

MADISON, Wis. — A series of one-day Wisconsin Soybean Growers Conferences will prepare farmers for the 2015 season. In early December, growers, media and others interested in the state’s $59 billion agriculture economy will converge at regional soybean conferences held around the state. More than 75 farmers are expected to attend each of the conferences, where they will receive updates for next year’s growing season. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, these day-long events are scheduled for December 2 in Janesville, December 3 in Eau Claire and December 4 in Ripon. Workshops at the series of Wisconsin Soybean Grower Conferences will cover a wide range of agricultural concerns and issues. At each location, the topics will include presentations on 2014 Soybean Diseases, Marketing Hints for 2015, and Irrigation, Soil and Water Management. Among the expert presenters is Dr. Shawn Conley, Soybean Extension Specialist at University of Wisconsin, Madison. He says, “Growers will learn what is new from a seed, crop protection and innoculants perspective, as well as managing inputs for 2015.” Mike Cerny, president of the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board adds ...
November 14, 2014
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Molly Jahn Keynote Speaker at NYTFFT Conference

Agronomy professor Molly Jahn was the afternoon keynote speaker at Wednesday's New York Times Food For Tomorrow Conference. Dr. Jahn talk was titled "The Role of Technology in Achieving Food Security". [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwIZWrqcoZw&w=560&h=315]
November 13, 2014
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Gaspar, Smidt, Marburger featured in Corn and Soybean Digest

Graduate students Adam Gaspar, Ethan Smidt, and David Marburger are featured in the late November 2014 edition of The Corn and Soybean Digest, discussing their high-yield soybean research. “You can’t approach 100 bushels without at least covering what they remove — 130 pounds of potassium per acre and 85 pounds of phosphorus per acre,” says Gaspar. Marburger, Gaspar, and Smidt are graduate students with Shawn Conley.
November 11, 2014
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