May 19, 2017

Growing Business

From the 2017 mAGazine
By Aimee Nelson
Photography by Matt Barton

Business is cutthroat. Sometimes a little cultivation makes all the difference between growth and extinction. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment wants Kentucky companies to grow and thrive. CAFE's Grow Kentucky is cultivating seeds for success. An economic gardening program, it is a partnership between the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky and the Kentucky Small Business Development Center.

May 18, 2017

The Roots of the Matter

From the 2017 mAGazine

David McNear studies the rhizosphere-the area where plant roots, microbes, and soil interact. With a $500,000 U.S Department of Agriculture grant, he is exploring how phosphorus moves through the rhizosphere in a no-till cover crop system.

David McNear demonstrates the use of rhizotron,
which allows him to view the root system within a mesocosm.
Phosphorus is a mined, finite resource only found in a few regions of the world. Some scientists expect, at current usage rates, phosphorus production will peak or plateau within the next 100 years. Therefore, it is important for farmers to efficiently use the mineral.

In the most cropping systems, a lot of applied phosphorus doesn't make it into the crop, affecting use efficiency and the farmers' bottom lines.

McNear, UK associate professor in soil science, is studying ways plants can get the most from phosphorus in the soil, which should help farmers better capitalize on their fertilizer investment while at the same time preserving the environment.

Mapping Disease

From the 2017 mAGazine

Jacqueline Smith. Maps can be found at
Jacqueline Smith, PhD '12, epidemiologist at UK's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, has created digital maps of reported rabies cases in Kentucky. Smith is putting to use the knowledge she has acquired as an epidemiologist and in her studies in geographic information systems, or GIS mapping.

Almost 30,000 animals have been tested for rabies in the state over the past 25 years, with only 707 positive cases, mostly from skunks and bats. Rabies in domestic animals is rare. The Kentucky departments of Fish and Wildlife and Public Health contribute to the surveillance by testing deer, raccoons, and other wildlife.

"It shows the state does an extensive job of surveillance for rabies to protect the public health," Smith said. "We all collaborate to foster the idea of 'one health' in Kentucky."

Flee, Fleas!

From the 2017 mAGazine

They're an irritant and a nuisance. They aggravate our pets and can cost us money and sleep. Fleas are responsible for more than half of all skin conditions that require veterinary care. A single flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day on an animal, but many eggs drop off onto carpets or bedding. This means treating the animal alone may not be enough to control the problem. The most effective products for treating your home's interior contain both adulticide and an insect growth regulator. Read the labels carefully!

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Grain and Forage Center of Excellence

From the 2017 mAGazine

Chad Lee, director of the UK Grain and Forage
Center of  Excellence
Like generations of Kentucky producers, Hodgenvile farmer Ryan Bivens, '01, has relied on CAFE experts to help him make unbiased decisions to improve his grain operation. He sees the Grain and Forage Center of Excellence as an important way UK can help producers solve new challenges.

"We are sitting on a golden opportunity," he said. "The center will allow UK scientists to do more intensive research on production agriculture. It will not only be an asset to Kentucky farmers, but it will prove invaluable for farmers in many different states."