Fresh From the Field, July 3, 2019

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Fresh From the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by partners supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                 July 3, 2019

Success Stories 

Landscape of chickens in a field in front of a green barn . Getty Images. USDA NIFA Impacts.

Modifying Hen Diets Reduces Egg Facility Emissions

Iowa is the nation's number-one state in egg production. Iowa has 55 million laying hens and the industry continues to grow. Egg producers need practical steps to reduce air emissions from production facilities, especially for ammonia.

Iowa State University (ISU) scientists have conducted lab-scale and field commercial-scale studies to examine both treatment of bird manure and nutritional changes in the bird diet. Their studies show that dietary modification holds promise.

A yearlong field monitoring study revealed that a nutritionally balanced, a diet that has 1 percent less crude protein would lead to about a 10 percent reduction in ammonia emissions while maintaining bird production performance. Another project has shown that increasing dietary fiber in the feed of laying hens can reduce ammonia emissions by up to 40 percent without adverse effects on egg production. Three diets with increased fiber all were effective. One of the diets involves the addition of dried distiller’s grains, a by-product of corn ethanol production.

Read more at ISU's Research Impacts

Contact: Kristjan Bregendahl, Animal Science, (515) 294-5132.

News Coverage

Bunch of ripe and raw blueberries on the branch of the tree and on the garden background, Spring in GA USA.

New Ornamental Blueberries Were Bred for Home Landscapes

For years, University of Georgia plant breeder Scott NeSmith has created blueberry varieties for the commercial market. Now, he’s introduced a series of blueberry plants bred for home gardeners.

Commercial blueberry varieties must also ripen at one time. In a home setting, gardeners like to pick a bowlful at a time, so they don’t mind an extended ripening season, NeSmith said. Many of the blueberry plants bred by NeSmith did not meet commercial standards but produced pretty and large fruit or a plant with an attractive shape or foliage. He decided to take a second look at these plants for home gardeners and the edible-ornamental market.

Representatives from the nursery industry also approached him and requested material specifically for home landscapes. They collaborated with UGA to provide NeSmith with input and to test the edible-ornamental selections. “We wanted these plants to produce good-tasting fruit,” he said. “Some produce small, dark berries, and some produce multicolored berries. Above all, you don’t have to worry about whether your kids or grandkids pick and eat them because they are safe to eat.”

The following are a few of the blueberry varieties NeSmith has released especially for home gardens.

Blue Suede™ is a highbush blueberry that produces a normal-sized home garden plant, has attractive, sky-blue fruit and attractive fall foliage, ripens over time, and is self-pollinating.

Cutie Pie™ is a dwarf hybrid that’s compact, with small leaves, generally keeps attractive foliage into the fall, is very attractive during flowering because it puts on a lot of flowers, has small, darker berries, and produces a good crop load.

Frostberry Delight™ is a rabbiteye blueberry that produces large, sky-blue berries and blue, green and silver foliage, is self-pollinating, and is heat- and drought-tolerant.

Southern Bluebelle™ is a highbush blueberry that’s an ultra-dwarf plant, produces medium- to large-sized, light-blue fruit and an abundance of berries, and flowers profusely.

Summer Sunset® is a rabbiteye blueberry that has deep green foliage, multicolored berries that turn from light green to yellow to orange to sunset red to midnight blue as they ripen, and produces normal-sized berries with a full-flavored taste.

Read the full story at UGA Extension.

Contact: Sharon Dowdy, UGA Extension. 

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