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Making the oxygen we breathe, a photosynthesis mechanism exposed

June 11, 2018

Oxygen photosynthesis has to be the greatest giver of life on Earth, and researchers have cracked yet another part of its complex and efficient chemistry. The more we know about it, the better we may be able to tweak photosynthesis, should it come under environmental duress, or should we need to boost crop productivity.

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Source: Science Daily By: Georgia Institute of Technology

NASA soil moisture data advances global crop forecasts

June 1, 2018

Data from the first NASA satellite mission dedicated to measuring the water content of soils is now being used operationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to monitor global croplands and make commodity forecasts.

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Source: NASA By: Kate Ramsayer

Solar a win-win for ranchers, lessees

May 30, 2018

Todd Heward installed solar panels on a trailer so he could provide water to cattle where needed on his southeast Wyoming ranch. In this case, the panels are powering a pump at the site of an old windmill.

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Source: Western Farmer-Stockman By: Robert Waggener

Taking the 4R Plus approach

May 25, 2018

You’ll be hearing more about the 4R Plus program, launched earlier this year in Iowa. A coalition of agriculture and conservation stakeholders has joined together to raise awareness about practices farmers can use to improve soil health and productivity, reduce erosion and runoff, and protect water quality. The 4R’s of nutrient stewardship — applying the right source of fertilizer at the right rate and right time, and in the right place — aren’t new. These guidelines have been around awhile. The “Plus” has now been added to include soil conservation and water quality practices. The combination can increase yield and efficiency while protecting the environment.

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Source: Wallaces Farmer By: Rod Swoboda

Finding hope in water-sipping sorghum

May 22, 2018

The Ogallala Aquifer is the lifeblood of semiarid landscape. The economy around it—one  centered  on  crops,  cattle,  packing plants and fuel—couldn’t be sustained without water. The aquifer is dropping at an alarming rate, Tom Willis, CEO of Conestoga Energy Partners, said. Wells on his farm declined from 600 gallons a minute when he bought the land a half dozen years ago to 300 gallons a minute. So he  did  something unprecedented in southwest Kansas—he began to switch his operation from water-intensive corn to sorghum, a reliable, drought-tolerant crop that uses fewer inputs.

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Source: High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal By: Amy Bickel