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New CPSC Video
Discover Crop Sciences

We have released our newest video! You can hear about the goals and experiences of our students, learn how Dr. Andrew Margenot got his start in crop sciences, and how Dr. Laura Christianson sees the future of agronomy. You can watch the video here.

CPSC in the News
Dr. Frank Zhao part of project granted $5.2 million to examine fire blight

Dr. Frank Zhao will be joining researchers from many universities on a project team examining fire blight. The project was awarded a $5.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) to research control methods for fire blight, a bacterial disease that can hinder crop yields and kill apple and pear trees. The project also includes researchers from Michigan State University, University of California-Riverside, Cornell University, Washington State University, North Carolina State University, and Oregon State University. Together, the states in which these institutions are located represent 89% of apple production and 100% of pear production in the United States. The four-year project begins in fall of 2020. You can read more about the project here.

New report shows UI Extension generates value 10 times its budget

Kim Kidwell, dean of the College of ACES, announced a new report detailing the impact of Illinois Extension, the public outreach and engagement arm of the University of Illinois.

Prepared by TEConomy Partners, LLC, a firm specializing in impact assessments, the report values the annual economic and functional benefits of Illinois Extension at over $603 million, about 10 times the $60.9 million annual budget of the university unit. Read more here.

Universities.com ranks UIUC as #2 in Agronomy and Crop Sciences Colleges

UIUC was ranked second by Universities.com on their list of "The Best Agronomy and Crop Science Colleges of 2019" in the United States. The rankings are "based on the compilation of [their] data from reliable government sources, student surveys, college graduate interviews, and editorial review." You can see the full list here.

Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative launches

UIUC is pleased to announce the Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative (IRAI), a new home for regenerative agriculture research, education, and outreach. The IRAI launches this fall with grant support from Fresh Taste, bringing together researchers on campus and stakeholders in Illinois and beyond to create agriculture and food systems resilient to climate change, improve soil and water quality, support healthy communities, and enhance food security. Read more here.

Cover crop could solve weed problems for edamame growers

For vegetable growers, weeds can mean lost income from reduced yield and foreign plant matter contaminating the harvest. But for many crops, particularly vegetable legumes, weed management options are very limited. However, a new study from the University of Illinois and USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) shows early-terminated rye could be a promising part of an integrated weed management program for some vegetable legumes, including edamame. Read more here.

Research links soil nitrogen levels to corn yield and nitrogen losses

In a recent paper leveraging a multi-year dataset from 11 experimental plots and on-farm trials around the state, University of Illinois scientists definitively established the relationship between soil nitrogen at different growth stages and corn yield. The results provide more precise ways to manage nitrogen for grain yield while lowering nitrogen losses. Read more here.

Awards and Accomplishments
UIUC Wins First in 2020 International Freezer Challenge

For the third year in a row, UIUC researchers won first place in 2020 International Freezer Challenge. Given by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab, the challenge is designed to encourage all laboratories to recognize the benefits of good cold storage management. "Freezer Challenge participants have already saved over 8.5 million kWh since 2017. That's enough to offset the carbon emissions associated with driving over 15 million miles!" Learn more about I2SL and the Freezer Challenge here.

Extra! Extra!
Energy Farm Weighing Room Expansion

Despite COVID, we are putting the finishing touches on the weighing room expansion project this fall. There are now 3 freight container drying ovens, and with harvest season fully adding demands for dryer space, this is a very timely completion of the project. There are minor contractor activities finishing up this week, and then the last activities will be the hemp/corn/Miscanthus fiber walls to finish out the project. Biomass heat from our boiler has been providing the necessary heat to run the ovens for the last week, along with heating the greenhouse as colder weather is upon us. See more photos of the expansion here.


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