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Latest Agricultural Research Service Stories

Rearing Technique Could Help Biocontrol Wasp's Commercial Prospects
2012-10-09 17:46:56

Two to three millimeters long, the parasitoid wasp Habrobracon hebetor is a top candidate for use in programs to biologically control Indianmeal moths and other stored-product pests. But despite the prospects for reduced insecticide use and product losses, the approach has yet to gain traction commercially, in part because of the lack of an efficient method of stockpiling the wasp. But a team of scientists, including researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is working on...

Monarch Butterfly's Survival Ensured By Trapping Weevils
2012-10-01 16:47:23

Ensuring the monarch butterfly's survival by saving its milkweed habitat could result from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies initially intended to improve detection of boll weevils with pheromone traps. Charles Suh and his colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Areawide Pest Management Research Unit in College Station, Texas, have found a pheromone formula that is attractive to a major milkweed pest, the milkweed stem weevil. The discovery stems from research...

Napiergrass: A Possible Biofuel Crop For The Sunny Southeast
2012-09-28 12:52:47

A grass fed to cattle throughout much of the tropics may become a biofuel crop that helps the nation meet its future energy needs, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist. Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum) is fairly drought-tolerant, grows well on marginal lands, and filters nutrients out of runoff in riparian areas, according to William Anderson, a geneticist in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Tifton, Ga. ARS is...

Sorghum Candidate For Southern Bioenergy Crop
2012-09-17 12:43:34

Sweet sorghum is primarily grown in the United States as a source of sugar for syrup and molasses. But the sturdy grass has other attributes that could make it uniquely suited to production as a bioenergy crop, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies suggest. Sorghum is an ideal candidate because of its drought tolerance, adaptability to diverse growing conditions, low nitrogen fertilizer requirements, and high biomass (plant material) content, according to molecular biologist Scott...

2012-07-21 23:02:32

Heirloom cacao types less lucrative to grow for third world farmers who are replacing them with hardier hybrids as well as other cash crops. (PRWEB) July 20, 2012 Fine-flavor chocolate — the expensive stuff that sends true chocolate lovers into swoons of ecstasy — is becoming an endangered species but the task of preserving the world's dwindling supply has become a bit easier with the launch of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative, says Ecole Chocolat founder Pam...

2011-12-20 18:20:26

Festive cookies, served at year-end holiday gatherings, may in the future be made with a larger proportion of whole-grain flour instead of familiar, highly refined white flour. That's a goal of ongoing studies by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Wooster, Ohio. A study by scientists with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Soft Wheat Quality Research Unit in Wooster was published earlier this year in Crop Science. The research may help plant breeders zero in on...

Cleaning Cows From The Inside Out
2011-11-16 03:47:52

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their collaborators have conducted a series of studies that explore non-antibiotic methods to reduce foodborne pathogens that are found in the gut of food animals. The team consists of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Todd R. Callaway, with the agency's Food and Feed Safety Research Unit in College Station, Texas; ARS animal scientist and project leader Jeffery Carroll with the agency's Livestock Issues Research Unit in...

2011-10-24 23:07:45

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have identified a number of stem rust-resistant wheat varieties and are retesting them to verify their resistance. Stem rust occurs worldwide wherever wheat is grown. Over a large area, losses from stem rust can be severe, ranging from 50 to 70 percent, and individual fields can be destroyed. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist Mike Bonman at the agency's Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit in Aberdeen,...

2011-10-19 13:55:08

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist has confirmed the identity of a strange grass-like sedge discovered in a Mississippi graveyard, and believes the appearance of the potentially invasive plant is linked to the final resting places of several members of a royal Gypsy family. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) botanist Charles Bryson was asked by Mississippi State University graduate student Lucas Majure to help classify a plant Majure had found in Rose Hill Cemetery in...

2011-10-17 17:21:36

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have characterized the molecular mechanism behind some plants' ability to resist rice blast, a fungal disease that affects cereal grain crops such as rice, wheat, rye and barley and can cause yield losses of up to 30 percent. The fungus has been found in 85 countries worldwide, including the United States. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant pathologist Yulin Jia at the agency's Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart,...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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