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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Research

Pest Eating Chickens Play Role in Creating Sustainable Agriculture Systems

August 12, 2012 |

When Malena Laylin first moved to Virginia, she wanted a place to not only raise a family, but raise animals as well.

“We got our chickens in the spring of 2006 when the local producer of pastured, organically-fed chicken eggs stopped selling.” Not interested in buying conventionally grown and processed meat and produce, Laylin and her family sought a way to ensure a steady supply of fresh and sustainable food. Read More

UD Researchers Look to Honeybees’ Natural Behavior for Solutions to Improve Hive Health

August 9, 2012 |

Photo by Zachary Huang, http://cyberbee.net/gallery

Across the nation, beekeepers, entomologists, and farmers have watched in horror as colony after colony of the country’s precious honeybees have died or just plain disappeared. While researchers all over the country have been scrambling to pinpoint the cause of the massive bee deaths, scientists at the University of Delaware have been wondering if the honeybees themselves might have a solution. Read More

12-year UC Study Shows Conservation Tillage Saves Oil, Soil and Toil in Cotton

July 23, 2012 |

News Release – A 12-year study published in the July-September 2012 issue of the University of California’s California Agriculture journal demonstrates that cotton grown in rotation with tomatoes — using lower-impact conservation tillage — can achieve yields similar to standard cultivation methods and at lower cost.

Conservation tillage seeks to reduce the number of times that tractors cross the field, in order to protect the soil from erosion and compaction, and save time, fuel and labor costs. Cotton crops are planted directly into stubble from the previous crop in the rotation. Read More

As Farmers Feel Heat, Need to Explore Irrigation Options Grows

July 17, 2012 |

Over 1,000 heat records in the United States were broken over the past two months, with expectations of more to come throughout the summer (1). The intense weather has shriveled corn (2) and scorched soybeans (3). In response to the heat wave and associated drought, one reporter visiting a tree farm in Ohio quipped, “Orange Christmas trees are not exactly what comes to mind when thinking about the holiday season” (4). But the intense heat and lack of rain in the early summer has caused concern about massive crop failure this year (5), potentially making those orange Christmas trees a reality.

With extreme temperatures and drought, farmers have been forced to rely more heavily on irrigation systems. Unfortunately water, especially in the Western States where irrigation is most common (6), is becoming a limited resource (7). Read More

Field to Market Releases National Report on Agricultural Sustainability

July 15, 2012 |

Field to Market - The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable AgricultureNews Release – WASHINGTON, DC – A new report released by Field to Market, the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, demonstrates how six commodity crops (corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, rice and potatoes) are being produced more efficiently in the US than they were thirty years ago, accompanied by important improvements in farm safety and economic sustainability for producers. At the same time, increased production to meet growing demand has also resulted in greater overall resource use by many crops. Read More