Science News

Less water, same Texas cotton

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Plants need water—but what about when it’s running low? Is it possible to use less water and still have healthy crops?

In Texas, the Southern High Plains uses water from an aquifer to water cotton fields. However, the aquifer is running low, so it’s important to use less and less water. Scientists from the area are working to find the best irrigation method for cotton that uses the least water. They want to do this without loss of cotton yield and profits to struggling growers.

Plant breeders balance shared innovation, revenue

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Have you thanked a crop breeder today? Public-sector plant breeders (for example, at public universities) have developed crops for better productivity.

Corn with straw mulch builds yield, soil carbon

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How do you boost soil water content and soil health without irrigating? Best cover it with a layer of straw, a new study concludes.

Root exudates affect soil stability, water repellency

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As the growing season progresses, you might not notice much about what’s happening to plants under the soil.

Faba fix for corn’s nitrogen need

Researchers have good news for growers. Farmers raising a nitrogen-hungry crop like sweet corn may save up to half of their nitrogen fertilizer cost. The key: using a faba bean cover crop.

Dry the weeds, keep the crops

Interest in organic farming is growing. However, controlling weeds without synthetic herbicides, as organic certification requires, is challenging.

Ragweed casts shade on soy production

Ragweed, its pollen potent to allergy sufferers, might be more than a source of sneezes. In the Midwest, the plant may pose a threat to soybean production.

Fixing soybean’s need for nitrogen

Soybean is rich in protein, which is great for the humans and animals eating it. But this high protein content comes at a cost.

Chesapeake Bay’s nitrogen clean-up crew

A ditch containing woodchips may look unassuming—but with a name like bioreactor it’s guaranteed to be up to more than you think.  

Crop rotation, grazing rebuilds soil health

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Soil gets tired. After years of supporting a rotating cast of crops, the soil’s nutrient supply is often exhausted.