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

Mallika Nocco wins EPA STAR grant

Mallika Nocco is one of two Nelson Institute graduate students, both pursuing doctoral degrees in Environment and Resources, who have been awarded fellowship grants as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. Mallika Nocco, advised by associate professor Chris Kucharik, is among 105 graduate students across the nation to receive $8.6 million in STAR grants. Nocco will be awarded $84,000 in funding for two years of research. The STAR grants support research with cross-cutting impacts in the environmental science field, providing scientific knowledge to meet future environmental challenges, strengthen the nation’s economy and security, better protect our health and environment, and combat climate change. Nocco is studying how irrigated agriculture and climate affect surface water quantity and quality in the Wisconsin Central Sands, in response to scientific questions identified by stakeholders. Since its creation in 1995, the STAR program has awarded fellowships to 1,884 students, totaling approximately $65 million in funding. (As seen on nelson.wisc.edu)
October 31, 2014
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Dr. Chris Kucharik to speak at Badger Bioneers 2014

Agronomy faculty member Chris Kucharik will speak at Sustain Dane's Badger Bioneers 2014 event on Tuesday, November 18. [caption id="attachment_919" align="aligncenter" width="199"] Dr. Chris Kucharik[/caption] Badger Bioneers is the Madison Region's premier forum for business, academic, and civic leaders to come together around a common goal: a brighter, more sustainable future for our region. This year's theme of "Disruption: Embracing Change for a Sustainable World" will engage participants in exploring disruptive solutions and envisioning new possibilities to make a more sustainable future possible - faster. Dr. Kucharik will speak about Yahara 2070, a project that uses a set of 4 scenarios about the Yahara Watershed in the year 2070 to help people better understand the range of potential changes in the region’s ecosystem. Dr. Kucharik currently serves as the lead investigator on the NSF funded Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) project, which includes Yahara 2070, a set of four scenarios about the Yahara Watershed in the year 2070. The scenarios combine science, public participation, computer models, storytelling, and art to create snapshots of how life in the region might look under differing conditions of ...
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Plant Sciences Journal Club for 11/03

Hello plant scientists! With advancing technology, it's amazing how much science can be down nowadays without the need to step into a lab (or a field). Bioinformatics, big data, and computer models are a very interesting branch of research, and the paper for next week explores how simulated predictions can be used in plant breeding. Matt Murray has selected a very interesting paper for us to discuss this week exploring those topics in biparental crosses in corn. In it, the author simulates the crossing outcome of double haploids based on which favorable alleles are contained in the parents. Please take a look and join us next week to discuss predictive models, computer simulations, and their practicality in plant breeding, or anything else you would like to talk about! See you at noon in Room 473! Article: Genomewide Selection of Parental Inbreds
October 29, 2014
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Plant Sciences Journal Club – 10/27

With domesticated crop species in many places of the world growing alongside their wild counterparts, an interesting question to explore is if and to what extent our cultivation affects these wild species. A study of their genetic diversity can also tell us where the crop was likely domesticated and what changes occurred along that process. Claire Luby has selected a very interesting paper for us to discuss this week exploring those topics in cotton. Please take a look and join us next week to discuss crop domestication, gene flow, speciation, plant evolution, or anything else you would like to talk about! Article: Distribution and Differentiation of Wild, Feral, and Cultivated Populations of Perennial Upland Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean    
October 23, 2014
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Pest Management Update Series to begin Nov. 10

“While we have a long history of success with this meeting, we are thrilled to partner with the UW Integrated Crop and Pest Management Program this year” says Mark Renz, UW-Extension/Madison weed specialist. (fyi.uwex.edu) MADISON, Wis. — Have you struggled to manage your pests in agronomic crops this year? If so consider attending a Pest Management Update Series hosted by University of Wisconsin-Extension. Eight meetings that provide updates to weed, insect and disease management in corn, soybean, small grains, and alfalfa will be held throughout the state in November. Discussions of important pests that are spreading in Wisconsin and management approaches will be highlighted. In addition to these updates, participants will also have a chance to hone their IPM skills with hands on training in the afternoon. This conference has always been highly valued by agribusiness and crop consultants noted Mark Renz, UW-Extension/Madison weed specialist. He said previous meeting attendees estimated that information they received from the meeting adds/saves them more than $10 per acre. “While we have a long history of success with this meeting, we are thrilled to partner with the UW ...
October 20, 2014
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Plant Sciences Journal Club – 10/20

There is much debate in both the academic and public sector question whether or not organic produce is any different than conventionally-produced vegetables. This recent meta-analysis explores this question by looking at composition differences between organic and non-organic food, and we hope that you will be intrigued by the results! Article: Baranski British Journal of Nutrition 2014 Chris D'Angelo has selected a very interesting paper for us to discuss this week, so please look it and join us next week to discuss organic production, human health, or anything else you would like to talk about.  
October 15, 2014
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