Agronomy and horticulture seminar series begins Sept. 19

Agronomy and horticulture seminar series begins Sept. 19

The fall 2014 “Agronomy and Horticulture Seminar Series” begins with “Chicory — A New Crop for Nebraska: Trials and Tribulations of Developing Alternate Crops” at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 19 in Keim Hall, Room 150. Robert Wilson, a UNL professor and extension weed specialist, will present the seminar.

In 1995, Wilson began exploring the possibilities of showing farmers how to successfully grow industrial chicory. The seminar will give the background and what has been accomplished with chicory in the past 20 years.

The rest of the seminars will be on the following Fridays:

  • Sept. 26 – Tom Hoegemeyer, a UNL professor of practice in agronomy and horticulture, will present “Evolution of the Corn Seed industry.” Hoegemeyer will discuss the history, major milestones in the development of maize hybrids and the corn seed industry including scientific discoveries, development of theory and practice, mechanization, computerization and improvements to seed and agronomic technology.

  • Oct. 3 – Oscar Rodriguez, a UNL research professor in agronomy and horticulture, will present “The New Structure of ConAgra’s Popcorn Breeding Program at UNL: From Traditional Breeding to New Technologies.” The objective of this presentation will be to analyze and highlight the advances accomplished by ConAgra with respect to popcorn yield and volume expansion. It will also describe the future of the breeding program with the inclusion of advanced technologies in the field of biotechnology and food sciences.

  • Oct. 10 – James Schnable, a UNL assistant professor in agronomy and horticulture, will present “Synteny as a Marker for Function Across the Grasses.” This presentation will highlight advances in the study of grass genomes.

  • Oct. 17 – Trenton Franz, a UNL assistant professor of hydrogeophysics, will present “Advances in Field Scale Soil Water Monitoring Using Cosmic-Ray Neutron Probes.” Franz will present an overview of the new proximal sensing method for measuring soil water and the representivity of point sensors to larger areas.

  • Oct. 24 – Jenny Rees, a UNL extension educator, will present “Connecting with Extension to Enhance the Land Grant Mission.” Rees will share opportunities to connect with extension educators to enhance student experiences, dissemination of research results and sharing of clientele needs to drive research projects.

  • Oct. 31 – Raymond Ward, from Ward Laboratories, Inc., will present “Haney and PLFA Tests and Soil Health.” Ward will discuss the benefits and problems with these new tests for making fertilizer recommendations and testing for living microbes in the soil. Both tests have the goal of the measuring soil health to refine fertilizer and pesticide applications each year.

  • Nov. 7 – Walter Schacht, a UNL professor in agronomy and horticulture, will present “Managing Sandhills Rangeland for Prairie Grouse Habitat.” Schacht will summarize research on the dynamics of prairie chicken habitat in the Sandhills. He will also outline the best management practices to promote the success of this native year-round resident of the Nebraska Sandhills.

  • Nov. 14 – Donald Lee, a UNL professor and Grace Troupe graduate research assistant in agronomy and horticulture, will present “Learning Big science — Problem Solving in the Palm of Your Hand: The Journey of a Gene App.” Lee will discuss how learners and the way people teach changes.

  • Nov. 21 – Brian Waters, a UNL assistant professor in agronomy and horticulture, will present “A Molecular Genetic Approach to Understanding Iron Deficiency Chlorosis in Plants.” Iron deficiency chlorosis limits plant growth on alkaline soils. Waters’ research will described cultivars with resistance to IDC, which provides a genetic entry point to study molecular genetic differences between resistant and susceptible lines.

  • Dec. 5 – Robert Mitchell, a USDA research agronomist and a UNL adjunct professor in agronomy and horticulture, will present “Recent Advancements in Switchgrass for Bioenergy.” Mitchell will provide updates on the bioenergy research conducted by USDA-ARS in Lincoln, discuss recent developments in the multi-location NIFA-CAP grant and address potential pathways to commercialization.

  • Dec. 12 – James Specht, a UNL emeritus professor in agronomy and horticulture, will present “Soybean Genetic Improvement — Retrospect and Prospect (What We Know Now — What We Want to Know Next).” Specht will summarize how breeders doubled the annual rate of genetic yield gain in the past 40 years using simple empirical selection procedures. He will also discuss how the advent of molecular genetics and genomic-based selection tools can be used to increase the annual rate of genetic yield gain in the future.

The seminars are free and open to the public.

For more information, go to http://agronomy.unl.edu/.