Climate change

Brummer: Ag must shift to multi-crop systems

Plant breeders can help America re-orient our dominant system of single-crop agriculture toward a multi-crop landscape that is less costly to farmers, better for the environment, helps slow climate change and still yields a profit. But, those efforts are just one part of a complex system that also will require the buy-in of farmers themselves, supported by political will, new agricultural policies and the cooperation of scientists, seed companies, machinery and fertilizer manufacturers, insurance providers, banks and environmental groups.

DOE grant extends poplar tree project for Taylor Lab

The Taylor Lab will receive continued funding as part of a ground-breaking project to wean the United States’ aviation industry off petroleum-based fuel and help put the brakes on climate change. The U.S. Department of Energy announced the UC Davis project as part of a $590 million package over the next five years. The Taylor Lab’s goal: grow poplar trees that can be turned into sustainable, cost-effective jet fuel.

China can both reduce nitrogen pollution and feed its people

China’s small-scale rice farmers hold the key to both feeding their nation and reducing nitrogen pollution by 2030, benefiting soil, water and air quality and slowing climate change. A research team, including Cameron Pittelkow of the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, has published a strategy for how to do that, in the March 2 edition of Nature.

New video features Oki’s research

The nonprofit organization Pacific Horticulture has released a new video describing research to develop irrigation recommendations for landscape plants, the science behind the process, and early ideas for mindful gardeners and landscapers. It features UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences horticulturalist Lorence Oki, the lead investigator on the project.

Dubcovsky recognized with Meyer medal for advancing wheat breeding

Jorge Dubcovsky and researchers in his lab have been recognized for providing basic genetic information about wheat and improved germplasm that is being used by scientists around the world to improve “the staff of life.” Those efforts are bringing new varieties of wheat to farmers adapting to new conditions. For his leadership in those efforts, Dubcovsky was awarded the Frank N. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources, and a $2,000 prize, at the recent annual meeting of the Crop Science Society of America.

Poudel wins AAUW International Fellowship

Isha Poudel has been awarded a fellowship by the American Association of University Women. Poudel is a second-year master’s student in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences majoring in international agricultural development, with a focus on gender equities and disaster resiliency in food systems. She is in Amanda Crump’s research lab group that focuses on agricultural equity and social inclusion.

The AAUW award will support Poudel in her graduate education and further advance her research project in Nepal.

Brummer honored by alfalfa conference

E. Charles Brummer has been honored for bettering alfalfa science and cultivation by the North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference. Brummer, a professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, is the director of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Center and involved in researching a wide range of crops for forage, grain and fiber.