No-till holds carbon

No-till soil management can play an important role in keeping carbon in the soil, rather than allowing it to escape into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, according to a cooperative study by Agricultural Research Service and Brazilian scientists at Beltsville, Md.

The American Phytopathological Society (APS) will offer free access to research articles after 24 months of publication in Phytopathology, Plant Disease, and Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (MPMI). For each journal, a two-year-old issue will gain free-access status when the current month's issue is published on APS's Web site at

Nursing facility residents who consumed 200 International Units (IUs) of vitamin E daily for one year were less likely to get the sniffles than those who took a placebo. Scientists funded by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) found that those who took the moderate supplements were 20 percent less likely to contract upper respiratory infections, such as colds.

In 2003, an estimated 87.2 billion eggs were produced in the United States, with about 85 percent of them destined for human consumption, according to figures from USDA's Economic Research Service. Per capita consumption of eggs and egg products in 2003 was the equivalent of 254 eggs, an increase of 19 eggs per person from 1990, ERS estimated.

Unmistakable cattle manure odors have become a bigger issue during the last several years as more and more people move from cities and suburbs to rural areas. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are researching various methods to reduce the unwanted odor, including the type of corn fed to animals.

A new study by Agricultural Research Service scientists in Beltsville, Md., may have some surprising news for consumers: Many single-serving sized food products provide more food than is advertised. However, this is not necessarily good news for many Americans.

People who eat at least three or more servings of whole-grain foods each day may lessen their chances of developing “metabolic syndrome,” according to a study funded by the Agricultural Research Service. Metabolic syndrome is a condition marked by a combination of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, poor blood sugar control, low HDL “good” cholesterol and high blood fats. The constellation of health conditions increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

How many kernels of wheat in a pound? Anywhere from 14,000 to 17,000.

It is reported that more than 87 percent of America's farmers own cell phones.

On average, agriculture uses about 43 percent of the state's available water.

Forty-five percent of American adults eat Asian foods at least once a month. Thai food is the fastest-growing segment of international cuisine. For a wine to compliment the textures and complex interplay of salt, sweet and sour flavors, a “quiet” reisling, sauvignon blanc or cabernet works well.

Alfalfa got its name from the Persian word for horsepower.

Farmers make about a nickel or less from each loaf of bread.

One apple tree can produce enough apples to fill 20 boxes every year.

Imagine having 144 guests for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. For one whole year! And you have to dress them, too. A tall order for anyone. Anyone, that is, except one of California's farmers. They're so productive that each one produces enough food and fiber to feed and clothe 144 people around the world for a year. Farmers have become increasingly more productive since 1940, when each American farmer produced enough food to feed and clothe 19 people.

Raisins retain all the nutrition of the original grape, but weigh less than a fourth as much. This makes raisins the perfect food to pack in school lunches. In fact, raisins are so nutritious and so easy to carry, that Hannibal fed them to his troops while they were crossing the Alps.

Next time you're inclined to complain about your grocery bill, remember this: The same bag of groceries that costs $18.79 in the U.S., costs $74.23 in Japan. That bag includes 1 gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, 5 pounds of cheese, a 2-pound sirloin steak and 2 pounds of apples.

More ice cream is eaten during July and August than at any other time of the year.

Of every dollar spent on food, at home and away, farmers and ranchers earn only 19 cents, 12 cents less than in 1980.

In the last 35 years, agriculture's use of water has declined. During the same period, farmers boosted crop production in tonnage by 67 percent.

What's a wattle? It's two things. One is that red thing that hangs down on a turkey's neck. The other is a long, cylindrical tube of netting filled with rice straw that is staked down along roadways and construction sites to prevent soil erosion.

A one-time tillage will not cause great soil carbon loss, even though major damage is caused to soil structure.

That's the finding of Lloyd Owens, a soil scientist with the Agricultural Research Service in Coshocton, Ohio, after a study comparing soil carbon in the top foot of soil under a meadow with the carbon level in soil under cornfields with various levels of tillage. He found that it takes a few years of continual annual plowing before carbon losses become noticeable in fields previously unplowed for years.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.