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Extended lactation could make better cheese

Danish researchers show that despite fears the practice could harm milk quality it may actually be better

Extending dairy cow lactation periods by up to six months not only can lower the environmental impact of the industry — it just might make better cheese too. That’s according to some recent research by Danish scientists who decided to put long-standing concerns over the practice to an empirical test. They found an expected decrease […] Read more


TB-resistant cattle are a reality

A new technique has produced live animals with 
increased resistance to this dangerous disease

Researchers say they’ve found a high-tech way to produce cattle with genetic resistance to bovine tuberculosis. Writing in the open-access journal Genome Biology, Chinese researchers from the Northwest A&F University in Shaanxi, China say CRISPR gene-editing technology allowed the breakthrough. Read more: TB in the spotlight again with Alberta outbreak Dr. Yong Zhang, lead author […] Read more



NDSU scientists study distillers grains as fertilizer

Wet distillers grains and condensed distillers solubles 
increased corn and spring wheat yields

Distillers grains could be a source of fertilizer for some crops, according to research at North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center. Wet distillers grains and condensed distillers solubles (sometimes referred to as “syrup”) are organic byproducts of ethanol production from corn. Scientists at the Carrington centre have been testing whether wet distillers grains […] Read more


Climate change is poised to hit U.S. harvests

The latest models suggest many key crops could suffer 
significant yield losses in the coming decades

Dutch researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change have published a paper in the journal Nature that says U.S. crop yields could be hard hit as the world warms. To better assess how climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions will likely impact wheat, corn and soybean, an international team of scientists ran […] Read more



‘Gene-silencing’ technique is a crop protection game changer

This spray uses RNA to trick a plant into shutting genes off, thus evading diseases

Most crop protection products act by attacking and killing a pest. But a new technique targets the crops themselves, giving them an added ability to ward off pests and diseases by targeting their genes. Researchers at the U.K.’s University of Surrey and Australia’s University of Queensland, have developed a non-toxic, degradable spray which is capable […] Read more


Prion diseases like BSE have a telltale sign

The discovery suggests the disease may not be 
as unstoppable as previously thought

Medical researchers at the University of Alberta have found fatal prion diseases, like BSE, have a hidden signature. Findings published this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Public Library of Science (PLoS) Pathogens, show that up to seven months before an animal shows physical signs of infection, a particular prion protein in the brain, known as […] Read more



Soil adds up

The way soil properties combine can be used to 
mathematically determine soil quality

To most people the quality of a soil is the sum of its physical properties — is it healthy and full of microbes? Does water infiltrate it readily or run off? How much air and water can it provide plant roots? Is it hard for roots or equipment to penetrate? Robson Armindo, a professor at […] Read more


Tipping points could predict the future of lakes

Dutch researchers say keeping a closer eye on key indicators could give water managers a fighting chance at avoiding catastrophe

A group of Dutch scientists has been trying to predict when lakes will enter ecological crises by monitoring key tipping points. Researcher Alena Gsell, of the Netherlands Institute of Technology, says the term ‘tipping point’ has become popular to describe sudden and fundamental changes that take place even though exterior conditions haven’t changed as radically. […] Read more



You really can hear corn grow

U.S. researchers say isolating this sound has given them 
surprising insight into plant growth

There’s an old farmer’s tale that says, “On a quiet night you can hear the corn grow.” It may seem funny, but Douglas Cook at New York University and colleagues Roger Elmore and Justin McMechan, at the University of Nebraska were able to use contact microphones to directly record the sounds of corn growing. Corn […] Read more


Certain milk proteins may promote human health

It seems cow’s milk may not all be created equal, some may be better for you

Milk that contains a certain protein may increase a key human antioxidant and strengthen the body’s disease-fighting properties. That’s according to a recent study published in Nutrition Journal that examined the results of a clinical trial at Nova Southeast University in Florida looking at the health effects of milk containing the A2 protein. In the […] Read more