Retaking The Field Volume 4

Retaking the Field Volume 4: Science Breakthroughs for Thriving Farms and a Healthier Nation Click to download report

Retaking the Field Volume 4: Science Breakthroughs for Thriving Farms and a Healthier Nation  is a collaborative report from 20 FedByScience universities and the SoAR Foundation. The report highlights research projects in the five Science Breakthroughs areas identified as the most important fields to advance in agriculture by the year 2030: genomics, microbiomes, sensors, data and informatics, and transdisciplinary research.  The report shows how scientists funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) are leveraging federal resources to advance the five breakthroughs areas.

From changing how wheat pollinates to using drones and sensors that optimize farming methods, “Retaking the Field” tells stories about exciting advances and innovative research in agricultural sciences. 

Stories from the issue

Diversifying Dinner: Creating Hybrid Wheat for Improved Productivity and Nutrition

Wheat provides 20 percent of the protein and 20 percent of the calories consumed by humans worldwide. By developing cross-pollinating hybrids, scientists hope to leverage the natural...

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Deploying Drones: Helping Farmers Utilize New Technology to Improve Efficiency

Dr. Williams and his colleagues at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) are bridging-the-gap of information between drones’ technological advances and farmers’ needs and expectations. In...

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Promoting Precision: Using Satellite Data to Manage Water and Fertilizer Use

Dr. Khosla and his team are reducing water and nitrogen use by enhancing the efficiency, productivity, profitability, and sustainability of crop production systems through informatics....

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Defending Dairy: Connecting Expertise to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The dairy industry is committed to reducing GHGs associated with milk production. The researchers learned that if farmers implemented best management practices worldwide to reduce GHG...

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Saving Citrus: Using Genetics to Boost Resistance to Citrus Greening

At University of Florida, researchers are working to save Florida’s citrus industry by applying a new gene-editing technique to combat citrus greening disease.

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Protecting Pork: Harnessing Genomics to Improve Livestock Resilience

Biosecurity protocols and vaccinations help prevent or reduce disease in pigs, but some animals will still get sick. To address this, Dr. Dekkers and his international team utilized the...

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Powering Pecans: Leveraging Genetics to Defend Crops Against Disease and Weather

Dr. Randall and her team are utilizing the available natural genetic diversity in pecans for future breeding of better seeds. The ultimate goal of the research is to produce trees with...

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Fortifying Fruit: Harnessing Soil and Root Microbiomes to Boost Crop Productivity

This Penn State team is working to better understand how soil microbes and plant roots interact in order to provide new tools that maximize production, improve soil health, and reduce the...

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Maximizing Microbes: Improving Feed Efficiency and Nutrition for Sustainable Beef

Dr. Myer and his team work to improve the nutrition and feed efficiency of beef cattle. To do so, they are developing tools and technologies that examine the rumen and gut microbiome....

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Rejuvenating Resources: Working With Farmers to Improve Soil Health

Healthy crops depend upon healthy soil. Dr. Scow leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers working at UC Davis’ Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility and in farmers’...

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Applying Alternatives: Leveraging the Soil Microbiome to Fight Disease

Charcoal rot is a soilborne disease caused by a fungus (Macrophomina phaseolina) that results in significant crop losses. At Kansas State University, a team of researchers quantified the...

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Feeding Farm Animals: Using Computing Technology to Individualize Diets

Dr. White focuses on precision animal nutrition to improve livestock health and the efficiency of food production. Her team explores how the nexus of a specific animal’s behavior and...

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Boosting Bees: Improving Bee Health to Benefit Farmers

Because pollinators are critical for the production of most berry crops, Dr. Isaacs and his transdisciplinary team investigate pollinator ecology and management, economic value, and...

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Deciphering Decisions: Using Digital Tools to Help Farmers Plant the Right Seeds

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are using machine learning to help farmers make informed planting decisions. The computational models allow farmers to receive the top...

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Elevating Evaluation: Developing New Tools to Understand Animal Genetics

Dr. Misztal and a team of international researchers are working to simplify genetic analyses for dairy cattle evaluation. Using data from more than 3 million Holstein cows, the team...

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Reinforcing Resilience: Leveraging Super Computers to Predict Crop Yields and Water Requirements

Dr. Guan and his team use computer modeling to determine how increasing temperatures impact soybean growth and crop production.  This enables them to more accurately predict the future...

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Sensing Safety: Deploying Sensors to Safeguard the Food Supply

To protect against foodborne illnesses, researchers at North Carolina State University are working to keep certain disease-causing microorganisms out of the food supply entirely.

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Software for Soybeans: Using Drone Technology and Computer Analysis to Evaluate New Plant Varieties

Dr. Rainey and Dr. Cherkauer are automating part of the breeding process for soybeans. Drones fly over test plots and record high-resolution photos in a fraction of the time that it would...

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Supporting Soil: Improving the Way Scientists Measure and Communicate the Value of Soil

Dr. Morgan and her team are helping farmers and the public understand the importance of soil health. No-till farming, or growing crops without disturbing the soil through tillage, is a...

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Improving Irrigation: Developing Sensors to Measure Thirst in Plants

Dr. Stroock and his team are developing sensors to detect the thirst of apple trees in order to more precisely irrigate orchards. Instead of using traditional techniques to estimate water...

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