Author Archives: Beth Luedeker

Prominent researcher to lead Semi-Arid Agricultural Systems Institute

By: Chip Chandler A regional native and nationally prominent researcher in plant breeding has been hired as the director of the Semi-Arid Agricultural Systems Institute at West Texas A&M University in Canyon. Craig Bednarz, Ph.D., an Idalou native, began May 1 in a joint appointment by West Texas A&M, Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Amarillo and the Texas A&M University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Bednarz will serve as an associate professor of plant, soil and environmental sciences at West Texas A&M. He will lead and expand… Read More →

Fast, accurate way to check peanut plants for healthy traits

By: Olga Kuchment The lengthy process of breeding better peanut plants can be sped up by using a biophysics technique, Raman spectroscopy. Texas A&M AgriLife biophysicists and plant breeders have demonstrated the use of Raman spectroscopy to quickly scan the levels of oleic acid in peanuts. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated oil, lends peanuts a longer shelf life. The oil is also healthy for the heart. They also used the method to determine how resistant plants are to nematode pests. Using Raman spectroscopy is quicker, cheaper and more portable… Read More →

Two Texas A&M students named Borlaug Scholars by plant breeders association

By: Beth Ann Luedeker Two students from the Texas A&M University’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Tia Dunbar and Ammani Kyanam, were among those named as Borlaug Scholars for 2020 by the National Association of Plant Breeders, NAPB. “Both Tia and Ammani’s resumes reveal outstanding students with the potential to follow closely in the footsteps of Dr. Norman Borlaug in relieving hunger and poverty through plant breeding,” said Don Jones, chair, NAPB Borlaug Scholars committee. The NAPB Borlaug Scholarship awards are given to exceptional students aspiring to… Read More →

The future look of urban Texas landscapes

By: Kerry Halladay The Texas landscape is changing and becoming more urban. In her new role in Dallas — one of the fastest-growing cities in the country — Dr. Becky Bowling hopes to see that urban landscape become more water efficient and uniquely, beautifully Texan in the future. “I would say conservation is my passion,” Bowling said. “And I’m really interested in it from an urban perspective.” Bowling is an assistant professor in the Texas A&M University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and a Texas A&M AgriLife… Read More →

Texas cotton farmers adjusting in wake of court ruling on dicamba

ByL Kay Ledbetter The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service stands ready to advise producers on agronomic alternatives and options in the wake of a June 3 ruling from the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to immediately vacate the registrations of three dicamba products, Xtendimax, FeXapan and Engenia. Approximately 80% of the state’s cotton has been planted, and an estimated 60-80% is XtendFlex cotton – a dicamba-tolerant cotton that would have allowed the application of available registered dicamba herbicide products for weed control. Producers are working… Read More →

Texas A&M AgriLife brings wheat field tours to producers online

By: Kay Ledbetter Texas A&M AgriLife wheat research and variety trials did not take a break during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was not possible to conduct a traditional May wheat field tour, so Texas A&M AgriLife faculty across the state are bringing fields to producers – virtually. The 2020 Virtual Wheat Tour is a combination of videos from across the state that allow producers to view the field trials and hear the latest in research, said Fernando Guillen, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service statewide small grains… Read More →

Texas A&M AgriLife helping set gold standard greenhouse gas emissions measurements for Department of Energy

By: Kay Ledbetter Greenhouse gas emissions from sorghum fields in the Texas High Plains will be the focus of a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, ARPA-E. This $3.1 million collaborative project, led by Oklahoma State University, is funded through ARPA-E’s Systems for Monitoring and Analytics for Renewable Transportation Fuels from Agricultural Resources and Management, or SMARTFARM, program. About one-third of the grant will be utilized in Texas by Nithya Rajan, Ph.D., crop physiology and… Read More →

Texas A&M researcher creating better corn yields and quality on less land

By: Kay Ledbetter As the human population booms, we hear the term “sustainable food supply” a great deal. One Texas A&M AgriLife researcher’s efforts to make corn production, whether for human or livestock consumption, more sustainable has earned him national recognition. Seth Murray, Ph.D., is a Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientist finalist Seth Murray, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research corn breeder, has been selected as a Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientist finalist for a second time. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo) Texas A&M AgriLife Research corn breeder… Read More →

McKnight begins AgriLife Extension statewide cotton specialist duties

By: Kay Ledbetter Ben McKnight’s acceptance of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service statewide cotton specialist position is a return to familiar territory. McKnight started April 1 in the Texas A&M University Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at College Station. Larry Redmon, Ph.D., associate department head and AgriLife Extension program leader for the department, said the Soil and Crop Sciences Extension Unit was excited to have McKnight fill the cotton specialist position in College Station. “Ben is certainly no stranger to Texas having been born and raised… Read More →

Trostle named statewide AgriLife Extension hemp specialist

By: Kay Ledbetter Calvin Trostle, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist, Lubbock, has recently been named the statewide hemp specialist for the agency. “We’ve had a lot of excellent work being done by our AgriLife Extension Industrial Hemp Initiative team to prepare Texas for the production of industrial hemp,” said Dan Hale, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension associate director — agriculture and natural resources, College Station, in announcing the new position. Calvin Trostle speaks to attendees of AgriLife event. “Dr. Trostle has worked tirelessly in this area and has… Read More →