Congratulations to Claire Luby, Ph.D. for being selected into the first cohort of Morgridge Fellows. This year-long learning community is designed to further institutionalize and support community-engaged scholarship, defined as: teaching, research, and scholarly activities that are performed in equitable, mutually beneficial collaboration with communities to fulfill campus and community objectives.
Claire is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Horticulture. Her community-based research focuses on improving seed sovereignty for a variety of communities, including supporting the work of several Native American tribes in Wisconsin. She is also developing a service-learning component to Hort 120: Survey of Horticulture. In addition to her teaching and research, she has applied her community-engaged scholarship to the development of three organizations: The Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI), The Student Organic Seed Symposium, and the Society of Organic Seed Professionals.
Read more here.
The robot weather station stands sentinel above the deer fence of an apple orchard in the hills near Hell Hollow Road in Richland County.
The device, a 21st-century enhancement of the ancient weathervane, is measuring wind, rain, humidity, temperature and sunlight duration and intensity.
Installed this spring, the weather station is part of a system aimed at advising owners of the 180-acre, family-owned Oakwood Fruit Farm about a number of critical procedures — think pruning, irrigation and pest control — needed to bring in a bountiful, healthy crop.
One crucial decision concerns timing a treatment that will eliminate more than three-quarters of the tiny fruits, says Amaya Atucha, a UW–Madison assistant professor of horticulture and Extension fruit crop specialist, who has been leading the effort to introduce the new technology.
Without thinning, the trees will be over-taxed and underproductive. Roughly speaking, about 80 percent of the flowers must be removed, a process that often involves multiple sprays of thinner followed by handwork to make final adjustments.
Thinning is necessary, but the timing and intensity are both tricky, says Steve Louis, one of the family’s fourth-generation of apple growers. “There are so many things that go into knowing when it should be done, and how much thinning we need.”
Please continue reading this story here.
Harvest of Ideas forum to explore how UW–Madison can support organic agriculture in Wisconsin and beyond
Agricultural researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and members of Wisconsin’s agricultural community are invited to attend the upcoming Harvest of Ideas forum to explore how UW–Madison can best leverage its strengths to contribute to the advance of organic agriculture locally, nationally and globally through the university’s education, research and outreach activities. The forum runs Oct. 30-31 at the university’s Discovery Building.
“We are at a critical juncture for organics as the industry matures and markets become increasingly global. It is time for people across the industry – from farmers to industry partners to consumers – to come together to envision what we want for the future of organic agriculture, and how we can further innovate to support the sustainable production of healthy, abundant and safe food,” says Erin Silva, UW–Madison assistant professor of plant pathology and UW-Extension organic production systems specialist, who helped organize the event.
The forum kicks off at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 with a presentation by Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Salvador will present his vision for how organic agriculture can contribute to the transformation of the U.S. food and agriculture system. An interactive reception following his presentation will encourage the exchange of ideas among attendees and provide opportunities for sharing them with forum organizers.
The program starts up again at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31 and features a half-day of discussions with various leaders in organic agriculture. Speakers and attendees will be invited to share guiding principles for and examples of successful research, education and outreach programs that support organic farmers and identify next-generation innovations. Ideas and inspirations collected in the morning will be further processed to distill key themes.
Wisconsin has been a national leader in organic agriculture for almost two decades, with the second highest number of organic farms of any state in the nation. Over the years, UW–Madison personnel have supported this sector through research, teaching and outreach, helping to develop knowledge and spread information to support organic systems, participating in the UW–Madison tradition known as the Wisconsin Idea. The Harvest of Ideas forum seeks to build on that tradition by initiating an intensive sifting and winnowing of ideas on the topic of organic agriculture—and then moving forward with some of the best options.
“With these ideas in hand, the goal is to develop plans for strengthening the coordination and reach of UW-led initiatives on organic agriculture,” says Silva. “Faculty, staff, and students at UW-Madison are poised and well-positioned to expand their work with organic farmers and other collaborators to broaden the scope and strengthen the role of organic agriculture in Wisconsin and around the world.”
The forum is free and open to all interested.
For more information or to register for the event, visit https://wiscore.wiscweb.wisc.edu/harvest-of-ideas/ or contact Jody Padgham at email@example.com or (715) 667-3203.
Jeff Endelman, assistant professor of horticulture, was recently honored by the National Association of Plant Breeders with the association’s Early Career Scientist Award. This award recognizes scientists in the early stages of their plant breeding career who exhibit the ability to establish strong research foundations, to interact with multi-disciplinary teams, and to participate in relevant professional societies.
Endelman studied computational science for many years before discovering his calling as a plant breeder. As a graduate student in bioengineering at Caltech, he developed computational methods to optimize the in vitro evolution of enzymes and spent many weekends observing native plants in the wilderness areas of southern California.
Endelman left academia for two years to work on small vegetable farms, by which time he realized a career in plant breeding was the perfect way to combine his interests. He returned to graduate school to complete a PhD in Crop Science at Washington State University, where he conducted research on barley breeding and genetics. Toward the end of his PhD he created the software package rrBLUP for genome-wide prediction, which has been cited over 500 times. As a postdoc at Cornell University, he continued to research genomic selection by improving its theoretical foundation for inbred lines and investigating the optimal allocation of resources.
In 2013 Endelman joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to lead the potato breeding program. Over the past five years, he has overseen the release of 10 potato varieties, spanning all US market categories (chip; French fry; russet, red, and yellow fresh market).
One of the challenges with commercial potato is that it is autotetraploid, meaning the genome is organized in groups of four homologous chromosomes rather than homologous pairs. The Endelman group has developed several tools to facilitate molecular breeding in autotetraploids, including software to determine allele dosage for SNP array and GBS markers, software for genome-wide association analysis, and methods to partition genetic variance. In 2018 UW-Madison became the first potato breeding program in North America to implement genomic selection, based on a training set of 570 clones.
Endelman has been active in training students and postdocs at UW-Madison. He teaches an undergraduate course on “Genetically Modified Crops” and graduate courses on genetic mapping, polyploid genetics, and selection theory. One MS student, one PhD student, and three postdocs have been trained in his lab so far, and he has served on the thesis committee of 14 other graduate students.
Jed Colquhoun, professor of horticulture, was recently named the Friday Chair for Vegetable Production Research. Colquhoun’s research focuses on developing integrated pest management strategies and quantifying on-farm sustainability measures that can be communicated to those looking for more information about where their food comes from. He has served in a number of leadership positions in CALS including interim associate dean for extension and outreach and interim agriculture program director.
The Friday Chair for Vegetable Production Research was established by Mr. Fritz Friday, owner and CEO of the Friday Canning Corporation in New Richmond, Wisconsin. The chair is awarded to a faculty member in CALS who demonstrates outstanding research and service in the area of vegetable production. The chair provides the recipient with an annual research allocation of $30,000 that can be used in support of research activities, including supplies, equipment, research assistants, publications, and other activities that enhance the work of the faculty member and his or her interaction with the vegetable industry. The appointment is for a five-year term.
Sometimes, what farmers want and what chefs want lines up perfectly.
A sweet pepper with rounded shoulders, like a Carmen Italian frying pepper, is easier for a cook to chop up than a bell with a bowl shape at the top around the stem. Farmers like rounded shoulders too — when it rains, water will run off the sides instead of collecting in that bowl and encouraging rot.
Plant breeders can make these kinds of adjustments if they know which ones to look for, and that’s where the Seed to Kitchen project comes in. This week on the podcast, we’re talking to Solveig Hanson, a beet researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Julie Dawson, an assistant professor in the Department of Horticulture who founded the Seed to Kitchen Collaborative.
Listen to the podcast & read the rest of the story here.
Michael Havey, horticulture professor and USDA research geneticist, was recently named a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS). Election as a Fellow of the Society is the highest honor that ASHS bestows on its members in recognition of outstanding contributions to horticulture and the Society.
Havey’s research program is focused on the breeding, genetics and genomics of the Alliums (onion and garlic) and cucurbits (cucumber, melon and watermelon). Specific projects involve molecular tagging of major quality attributes and disease resistances in the Alliums and cucurbits.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison campus is saying goodbye to a beloved natural landmark. An elm tree that has stood for more than 100 years fell victim to Dutch elm disease and is in the process of being removed from the Hector F. DeLuca (HFD) Biochemical Sciences Complex by UW–Madison grounds staff.
The tree – often known informally as Elmer – has a rich past with the Department of Biochemistry and surrounding departments in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), such as the Department of Horticulture. Thousands of students who have taken biochemistry courses or frequented that area of campus have gazed up at the old elm or enjoyed breaks in the shade it provided.
Many staff members and scientists on the upper floors of labs or offices overlooking Elmer have spent decades watching the seasons through the tree – leaves falling in autumn, snow coating its sturdy branches, leaves returning in spring. They’ve watched birds come and go, including famed campus hawks, and some students say finches, perched among Elmer’s limbs, watched them work in lab.
When construction on buildings in the HFD Biochemical Sciences Complex took place in the late 1990s and again in 2012, crews took extreme care not to disturb the tree to which so many students, faculty, and staff had become attached.
“In our two major recent projects, I think that protection of the tree was the first item in the program, and it was discussed at the first construction meeting before the contractors got to work,” says Biochemistry Professor Mike Cox, who was faculty leader for much of the construction. “It is more than sad to see it go.”
Elmer dates back to a time well before the HFD Biochemistry Laboratories, when the area was covered with greenhouses, says Horticulture Chair Irwin Goldman. For decades, the tree was used as a teaching tool and was even a stop on a campus tree walk for students.
“Our department is 129 years old, one of the four original departments in CALS, and since it started we have used the tree to teach students about woody plants,” Goldman says. “I’d bet that tree was there from the beginning, although we aren’t sure exactly when it was planted.”
Please continue reading this story here.
Solveig Hanson wants to make a flavor wheel for beets.
As she described it on Wednesday morning to a group of 10 local chefs, the wheel would resemble a flavor wheel for wine, with axes for earthiness and sweetness branching out into more detailed descriptors.
Hanson, a plant breeder and researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wants to answer an important question for famers who grow the beets and the chefs who buy them: What makes a Badger Flame different from a Chioggia or a Touchstone Gold, other than color? And if chefs could choose qualities in a beet, what would they pick?
“I’m excited to see what people come up with,” Hanson said quietly as chefs set to work, blind tasting eight kinds of beets at the Forequarter bar.
Read the complete article found in the Capital Times:
Claudia Calderón, assistant faculty associate in the Department of Horticulture, was selected to receive a Global Health Institute 2018 Faculty and Staff Travel Award. The award will cover travel costs associated with her project, “Assessing mycotoxin levels in maize in the highlands of Guatemala.”
Maize is a dietary staple in Guatemala and is often consumed to the exclusion of other food commodities. Previous studies have found that people relying on maize often consume high levels of toxic metabolites produced by fungi (mycotoxins). This has significant implications for food safety, food security and international trade. Calderón’s project will focus on 50 small-scale farmers in the western highlands of Guatemala and will support research on the quality of maize and provide recommendations on food safety. The overall goal is to devise effective and sustainable mechanisms to educate, monitor and reduce exposure to mycotoxin contamination.
The Global Health Institute Faculty and Staff Travel Awards are available for UW-Madison faculty and staff to undertake international travel related to educational and research activities. Several grants of up to $2,500.00 are awarded for a duration of one year.
Originally posted here: https://ecals.cals.wisc.edu/