AGNR Students, Faculty Let Research Work Shine at Commodity Classic
A brutally hot and humid summer day couldn’t keep faculty and students with the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources from showing off some of their latest cutting edge research at the Wye Research and Education Center in Queen Anne’s County. On Thursday, July 26, Maryland producers of corn, wheat and soybeans were treated to a morning tour of the center and received an update on various research projects underway that will directly affect the future of crop farming in the state.
One such project involves using cover crops to attract natural predators of the brown marmorated stink bug, an invasive pest seen in extremely high numbers all along the mid-Atlantic in 2010 that caused major economic damage to fruits and vegetables on farms and served as a persistent nuisance to homeowners. The research being conducted by Cerruti Hooks, Assistant Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist with the University of Maryland, is looking at ways to utilize crops already being planted in the state to attract predators of this particular type of stink bug – tiny parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside the eggs of the stink bug, killing them before they hatch.
Meanwhile, Dr. Joshua McGrath, an assistant professor with Maryland’s Environmental Science and Technology department, presented his findings on detecting and correcting sulfur deficiency in corn, as well as the benefits of applying nitrogen to corn at a variable rate. Associate professor and Extension Specialist with the University’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Dr. Bob Kratochvil, described his research on optimum nitrogen rates for corn, when to apply spring nitrogen to wheat, and factors involved in soybean plant growth.
Predictably, talks also turned to concerns about the ongoing drought. “If we could predict the weather, we’d be doing a lot better overall,” Dr. McGrath said.
The tour and presentations at the Wye Research and Education Center were organized as part of the 14th Annual Commodity Classic, sponsored by the Maryland Grain Producers Association, the Maryland Soybean Board, the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board and the Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association. Grants from those organizations are funding the projects mentioned at the Wye Research and Education Center.