Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment

Farm Ditch is Home, Sweet Home, to Tiny Aquatic Species

Seasonal agricultural streams and flooded ditches, remnants of when the Willamette Valley was one big wetland, are full of aquatic life. Scientists at Oregon State University (OSU) ventured into farmers’ flooded fields in southern Williamette Valley and discovered that this biodiversity persists.

A Multistate Hive Mind of Research

Bees provide essential pollination for many of the nut, berry, fruit, vegetable, and seed crops grown in the U.S. To supplement wild bee pollination, farmers often rent managed honey bee colonies. Demand is skyrocketing, but catastrophic die-offs are threatening the supply of healthy honey bee colonies.

Almonds, Wildflowers, Bees, Oh My!

Some almond growers have started planting wildflowers on the edges of managed fields as a way to help bees do their jobs in the face of pollinator pressures. There are, however concerns that the wildflowers may pull valuable pollination services away from the almond crops. New research reveals that almond growers can put this particular concern aside.

Pollen Power

Bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State. With NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative funding, the researchers found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets.

What Wild Bees Need

A new national assessment estimates that wild bees declined in 23 percent of the contiguous United States between 2008 and 2013. The team of Project ICP researchers, led by Insu Koh at the University of Vermont, found that the decline was generally associated with conversion of natural habitats to row crops. Areas of intense agriculture (e.g., the Midwest Corn Belt and the Central Valley of California) have among the lowest levels of predicted wild bee abundance.

Hot Cities Spell Bad News for Bees

As urban temperatures increase, common wild bee species decline, according to a new study from North Carolina State University. This study was funded by NIFA's Agriculture Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

May the Forest Be With You

Whole Trees, LLC, of Madison, Wisconsin, uses trees as turn-key structural systems in commercial and residential building construction. The Whole Trees team has developed a process that allows them to cost-effectively grade, engineer, and manufacture the small trees removed from routine forest thinning.

Impacts of Stress on Animal Welfare and Performance

Environmental and management conditions can stress livestock and impair their health.

Water Saving Measures for California

Ceres offers a unique, proprietary product to measure chlorophyll content and its guidance for growers is also unique. Ceres has teamed up with the University of California Cooperative Extension to conduct several studies, including a trial for the Almond Board of California that measured the response of nuts to different rates of watering.

3-D Crop Imaging Helps Farmers Estimate Plant Height

Drones may soon help plant breeders and agronomists save time and money.