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Agriculture Research Guide: Fulltext Web-based Documents

This is a general guide to finding information on agricultural subjects including crops, soils, forages, farm management, agricultural and biosystems engineering, and sustainable agriculture (SARE).

Page Contents

  • Crops
  • General Agriculture
  • Forage and Pasture
  • Pest and Disease Management


Applications of Biotechnology to Crops: Benefits and Risks
CAST Issue Paper 12, December, 1999 (in pdf format)
This issue paper is a summary of the recent scientific developments that underpin modern biotechnology and a discussion of the potential risks and benefits when these are applied to agricultural crops. This introductory paper is intended for a general audience. Released at the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, December 2, 1999

Commercialized Transgenic Crops: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) Briefs by Clive James

ISAAA Brief No. 39 - Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2008
ISAAA Brief No. 37 - Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2007
ISAAA Brief No. 35 - Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2006
ISAAA Brief No. 34 - Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2005
ISAAA Brief No. 32 - Preview: Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2004
ISAAA Brief No. 30 - Global Status of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2003
ISAAA Brief No. 29 - Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2002 Feature: Bt Maize
ISAAA Brief No. 27 - Global Status of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2002 (Preview)
ISAAA Brief No. 26 - Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2001, Feature: Bt Cotton
ISAAA Brief No. 23 - Global Status of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2000
ISAAA Brief No. 24 - Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2001 (Preview)
ISAAA Brief No. 21 - Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2000
ISAAA Brief No. 17 - Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 1999
ISAAA Brief No. 12 - Global Status of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 1999
ISAAA Brief No. 8 - Global Review of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 1998
ISAAA Brief No. 5 - Global Status of Transgenic Crops in 1997
ISAAA Brief No. 1 - Global Review of the Field Testing and Commercialization of Transgenic Plants, 1986 to 1995: The First Decade of Crop Biotechnology

Diversifying U.S. Crop Production,
CAST Issue Paper 6, February, 1996 (in pdf format)
For more than a century, crop price instability has dogged U.S. farmers. And in the past 60 years--despite federal subsidy and acreage reduction programs meant to stabilize farm income--farm numbers, farm populations, and rural prosperity have declined ominously. Public concerns over food safety, commodity program costs, and agricultural sustainability have become important policy issues. Restriction of research funding and crop support payments to major commodity crops has undermined the potential of new crops to alleviate related concerns and pressures. The search for and development of new crops is critical to U.S. agriculture and would improve its sustainability through diversification.

Evaluation of the U.S. Regulatory Process for Crops Developed through Biotechnology
CAST Issue Paper 19, October, 2001 (in pdf format)
A group of nine science and policy experts prepared this evaluation of the process by which U.S. regulatory agencies determine the safety of biotechnology-derived crops. The authors found that the U.S. regulatory process is comprehensive and meets its charge of ensuring that biotechnology-derived foods are at least as safe as foods derived using traditional breeding techniques. The paper poses and then answers questions about how safety assessments and regulatory reviews are conducted, what strengths and weaknesses can be identified in those reviews, and whether there are improvements in the regulatory process that would enhance public confidence in the process. The authors offer ten recommendations for policy and research in agricultural biotechnology.

GM Rice: Will This Lead the Way for Global Acceptance of GM Crop Technology? by Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot
ISAAA Brief No. 28, 2003

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Cropping Systems and the Influence of Fertilizer Management
A Literature Review, December 2007 (pdf format)
A firm scientific understanding is needed about fertilizer nitrogen (N) use effects on the emissions of the three gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane) considered to be the major agricultural contributors to what is often referred to as "the greenhouse effect". Scientific staff of the

International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) have prepared a literature review to extend information that will lead to a better understanding of fertilizer N management practices that minimize global warming potential. The document contains over 30 pages of text, data, and a listing of more than 130 references on this topic.

Implications of Gene Flow in the Scale-up and Commercial Use of Biotechnology-derived Crops: Economic and Policy Considerations
CAST Issue Paper 37, December 2007(pdf format)
This Issue Paper identifies the nature of gene flow and discusses the relatively limited situations in which it is likely to cause economic problems in the production of commercial biotech crops. The paper explains how gene flow relates to adventitious presence, describes the biological traits being imparted into biotech crops, summarizes present risk assessment and regulatory mechanisms, and discusses potential economic effects and policy and research ramifications of gene flow of commercial biotech crops.

The Intellectual and Technical Property Components of pro-Vitamin A Rice (GoldenRice TM): A Preliminary Freedom-To-Operate Review by David Kryder, Stanley Kowalski, and Anatole Krattiger
ISAAA Brief No. 20, 2000

New Leaf Color Chart for Effective Nitrogen Management in Rice
By C. Witt, J.M.C.A. Pasuquin, R. Mutters, and R.J. Buresh
Better Crops/Vol. 89 (2005, No. 1)
Leaf color charts (LCC) offer substantial opportunities for farmers to estimate plant nitrogen (N) demand in real time for efficient fertilizer use and high rice yields. We developed a new, standardized LCC for rice in Asia based on the actual colors of rice leaves. The new chart and updated guidelines for its use are promoted in many Asian coun- tries through the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC).

Report on a review of ACIAR-funded projects on Rhizobium during 1983-2004 (WP62, 2006) / David F. Herridge
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has long been interested in Rhizobium science and inoculation as a means of facilitating nodulation and nitrogen-fixation of legumes. Using legumes rather than mineral fertiliser to supply nitrogen to agricultural production systems is low-cost, environmentally benign and can provide high returns to farmers and the community.

General Agriculture

Agricultural Ethics
CAST Issue Paper 29, February 2005, (in pdf format)
This paper provides background on some ways in which ethics is applied productively to the food and agriculture system. Ethics may be a component in food safety and security, international trade, land-use policies, and animal welfare. Other topics considered include research ethics, public trust in science, and practical steps for institutionalizing ethics into agriculture. In addition to the scientific community, policymakers, agency leaders, and persons in the humanities and social sciences disciplines will find this study useful. Chair: Jeffrey Burkhardt, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Balanced Fertilization Increases Water Use Efficiency
by Mike Stewart
News & Views, (Potash & Phosphate Institute (PPI)), February 2001

Bioenergy: Pointing to the Future
CAST Issue Paper 27, November 2004, (in pdf format)
Composed of five stand-alone pieces, this issue paper highlights the current science, processes, and potentials for energy production through agriculture, and outlines future research needs. Among the topics addressed in this introduction to the subject of bioenergy are the economics and rural development of bioenergy, environmental and natural resource effects, technology and research, and the need for a systems approach. Public policy considerations such as long-term societal issues and acceptable risk also are discussed. Cochairs: Roger K. Conway, USDA-OEPNU, Washington, D.C., and Don Erbach. USDA-ARS, Beltsville, Maryland.

Biotechnological Approaches to Manure Nutrient Management
CAST Issue Paper 33, July 2006 (in pdf format)
Number 4 in the nine-part series "Animal Agriculture's Future through Biotechnology." Manure from food animals is a valuable source of fertilizer, but concentrations of manure nutrients and metals may exceed needs for plant growth and cause environmental pollution. Biotechnology has emerged as one of the most effective tools for monitoring manure nutrient composition. This paper reviews the existing biotechnology (including novel technology) applied to manage animal manure nutrients and discusses potential biotechnology derived by genomics approaches. It also addresses specific areas of plant-, animal-, microorganism-, and diet-based approaches for management; models of potential benefits of biotechnology; and industrial, societal, and governmental issues. Chair: Xingen Lei, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

Challenges Confronting Agricultural Research at Land Grant Universities
CAST Issue Paper 5, November 1994 (in pdf format)
Agricultural, corporate, scientific, political, environmental, and social communities are asking the agricultural research system to identify and pursue a broadened range of research priorities. Chair: James R. Fischer, South Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina.

Collect, access and use of agricultural statistics in the Pacific Islands (IAP-WP45, 2002) / Peter Walton
Informal discussions among SPC staff, many of whom have considerable experience of working in the Pacific Islands, suggested that there were problems with accessing and using agricultural statistical information in the region. The problems fell into four main areas: capture, content, access and use.
The reason for the concern is that access to credible, up-to-date statistical information for the agricultural sector is essential. It supports the development of credible agricultural research, is the basis of effective decision-making at all levels, and can be used to measure impact of agricultural research and development in the region. The extent to which the problems identified are a valid constraint to agricultural research and development in the region is not known. Without understanding of this, solutions cannot be developed. SPC sought to address this knowledge gap by conducting a study to better understand the problem and identify opportunities for improvement. Since this could not be done by SPC in isolation from other institutions and networks within the region and outside, the study addressed this at the same time.

Determining international agricultural research priorities (IAP-WP37, 2000) / A S G Lubulwa, et. al
ACIAR was established in 1982 as a statutory authority within the Commonwealth Government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. ACIAR's mission is to reduce poverty, improve food security and promote sustainable natural resource management through international agricultural research partnerships for the benefit of developing countries and Australia (ACIAR 1997). From its inception, ACIAR was interested in setting priorities for international agricultural research. These priorities can be summarised in the form of a priority table for each country or region. For each country or region, the priority table is a listing of agricultural commodities grouped into six priority categories. This table is used to screen projects to ensure that funds are targeted first towards commodities in high-priority categories.

Fertilizer Nitrogen BMPs for Corn in the Northcentral Region
by Scott Murrell
Better Crops/Vol. 90 (2006, No. 2)
This article presents a summary of more than 30 university Extension publications in the Northcentral Region where best management practices (BMPs) are defined for nitrogen (N) use on corn. The information presented here represents BMPs common to many, and sometimes all, states in the region.

A Global Framework for Best Management Practices for Fertilizer Use
IPNI Concept Paper #1. Published 10 March 2008 (pdf format)
This paper describes a framework designed to facilitate development and adoption of best management practices (BMPs) for fertilizer use, and to advance the understanding of how these practices contribute to the goals of sustainable development. BMPs for fertilizer use are those that support the achievement of the four main objectives of cropping systems management: productivity, profitability, sustainability, and environmental health.

Hedgerow Brochure
Hedgerow Brochure: A short guide to hedgerow design, installation, and maintenance (includes a literature cited section). Prepared by the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County and CAFF. (In pdf format)

The NARS in the West Asia and North Africa Region
The National Agricultural Research Systems in the West Asia and North Africa Region. Scientific Editor: Joseph Casas
. 1999 An International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) publication published. The Chapters link to the pdf of that chapter.

Potential Biofuels Influence on Nutrient Use and Removal in the U.S.
by P. Fixen
Better Crops/Vol. 91 (2007, No. 2)
Nutrient use and management will likely be impacted significantly within the next 5 years through grain-based ethanol production. Beyond that time period, another round of major impact may occur as cellulosic biofuel production is commercialized. A major challenge to the fertilizer industry and those conducting research on nutrient management will be the development of nutrient management approaches focused on ecological crop intensification where productivity is increased to meet growing demand and the environment is improved. Failing to take this challenge seriously will likely lead one day to headlines in the media about the “misadventure” of biofuels and the loss of a tremendous opportunity for agriculture.

Potential Biofuels Influence on the Fertilizer Market
by Paul E. Fixen, International Plant Nutrition Institute (in pdf format)

Poverty alleviation through agricultural research: the ACIAR experience (IAP-WP35, 2000) / K Menz, G Lubulwa & P Lal
A recent external review of ACIAR (Nairn et al 1998) recommended (p 42) that ACIAR should more effectively communicate the way in which the benefits flow from ACIAR projects to ultimately achieve poverty alleviation. Yet we find the targeting and evaluation of poverty alleviation aspects of our research to be a difficult, complex and imperfect task. In this paper, the mechanisms that ACIAR uses in attempting to do so are explained, as are some of the problems, and lessons.

Professional Portfolio: Beyond the Curriculum Vitae
CAST Issue Paper 18, May, 2001 (in pdf format)
Individuals in the agricultural professions make valuable contributions to society, but the American public sometimes questions the relevance of those contributions and the impact of agriculture on the environment, human health, and the economy. This CAST issue paper was written to help agricultural professionals communicate clearly what they do and why it is important. The authors propose the development of a professional portfolio to be used instead of the traditional curriculum vitae. A portfolio would present career highlights and summarize accomplishments in terms that could be understood and appreciated by a broad spectrum of people--from the general public to funding agencies, colleagues, collaborators, and employers. Cochairs: James R. Fischer, Agriculture and Forestry Research System, Clemson University, and David A. Knauft, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Risk Management Training for Diversified Family Farmers
In March 2003, CAFF presented a series of workshops about practical farm business strategies to farmers in Santa Rosa, Watsonville, Woodland, Santa Paula, Modesto and Lindsay. The USDA Risk Management Agency funded and partnered in this project.
The four-hour workshop sessions and free workbook were designed to assist diversified family farmers grapple with many elements that contribute to creating a financially healthy farming operation.
Each workshop included presentations by representatives of the USDA Risk Management and Farm Services Agencies, and local insurance agents. Farm and Agriculture Collaborative Training Systems developed the workbook content, available for download here in six sections.
Introduction to Risk Management: Book 1 (pdf: 535k)
Managing Family and Personal Risk: Book 2 (pdf: 428k)
Managing Financial Risk: Book 3 (pdf: 427k)
Managing Production Risk: Book 4 (pdf: 482k)
Managing Marketing Risk: Book 5 (pdf: 430k)
Managing Legal and Regulatory Risk: Book 6 (pdf: 432k)
Resources: Book 7 (pdf: 554k)

Solano Conservation & Restoration Manual
Do you constantly battle unwanted weeds? Are you tired of watching the stream carry away your land? Worried about that gully that grows larger every year? Find the solutions to these and other resource concerns in this manual. Establishing native grasses, managing rangeland, pond habitat, hedgerow, grassed waterways, riparian practices, prescribed burns, and much more. 145 pages, easy to use, update, and share. The Solano Conservation and Restoration Manual provides over 30 potential solutions to these and many other resource concerns in Solano County, California.

Watershed Management for Water Quality Improvement: the role of agricultural research (WP52, 2003) / Willett, I.R & Porter, K.S
Land and water management is increasingly being based on watersheds. The watershed approach is being promoted as a means of bringing about environmental improvements, particularly at scales that require changes by multiple landholders. This report provides an outline of the implementation of watershed programs in the United States, with particular reference to examples in New York State. It describes the regulatory framework that largely drives implementation, and indicates where research fits in with watershed implementation programs.

Forage and Pasture

Developing forage technologies with smallholder farmers: how to monitor and evaluate impacts (IAP-WP41, 2001) / R Cramb & T Purcell

Environmental Impacts of Livestock on U.S. Grazing Lands
CAST Issue Paper 22, November 2002 (in pdf format)
This issue paper takes a critical look at the environmental impacts of grazing systems and provides guidance on land management tools. Key issues of concern include alteration of wildlife habitat and degradation of soil and water quality. The authors find that current problems may stem from land use practices of several decades ago and may require active management practices to restore the land's health.

Pest and Disease Management

Advances in Maize Streak Virus Disease Research in Eastern and Southern Africa by Florence Wambugu and J. Wafula
ISAAA Brief No. 16, 2007

Agricultural Impact of the Sudden Elimination of Key Pesticides under the Food Quality Protection Act
CAST Issue Paper 11, March, 1999 (in pdf format)
Scientists discuss the risks associated with sudden loss of pesticides due to the implementation of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 (FQPA) and suggest possible solutions. Chair: Mark E. Whalon, Center for Integrated Plant Systems, Michigan State University

Cornell Guidelines for Pest Management

Not in pdf, the Cornell Pest Management Guidelines are in HTML where each chapter is a new page with tables, charts, graphs and illustrations of information. Subjects are on:
Commercial Turfgrass
Wildlife Damage Management
Tree Fruit
Berry Crops
Trees and Shrubs
Field Crops
Vegetable Crops
Pests around the Home
Herbaceous Perennials
Floral and Greenhouse Crops

Diagnosing Maize Diseases in Latin America by Carlos Casela, Bobby (R.B.) Renfro, Anatole Krattiger
ISAAA Brief No. 9, 1998

Feasibility of Prescription Pesticide Use in the United States
CAST Issue Paper 9, August, 1998 (in pdf format)
Discussion of the feasibility of applying the medical model of prescriptions to high-risk pesticides that are being reassessed following passage by Congress of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in 1996.

Insect resistance in Crops: A Case Study of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and its transfer to Developing Countries by Anatole F. Krattiger
ISAAA Brief No. 2, 1997

Invasive Plant Species
CAST Issue Paper 13, February, 2000 (in pdf format)
Findings are presented on the growing danger to national forests, recreational, and agricultural lands from noxious weed infestations. These infestations are causing costly and irreparable damage to wetlands, wildlife habitat, wildlands, rangelands, and aquatic and riparian areas on public and private lands all across the United States, especially in popular western recreation states. The release of the paper was scheduled to coincide with National Invasive Weed Awareness Week, February 28 through March 3, 2000.

Invasive Pest Species: Impacts on Agricultural Production, Natural Resources, and the Environment
CAST Issue Paper 20, March 2002(in pdf format) This CAST issue paper provides policymakers and others with a nine-step guide to curtail the impact of non-native pests, including diseases, insects, and animals. These pests are the source of an estimated $137 billion annual economic burden to the United States and are the second leading cause of species endangerment. In addition, bioterrorism introduces another unknown risk factor into the already unstable mix of detrimental exotic species.

Pesticides in Surface and Ground Water
CAST Issue Paper 2, April, 1994 (in pdf format)
Introduction; the issue; pesticide varieties, uses, and resulting pollution potential; relating concentrations in water resources to human and ecosystem risk; and risk mitigation.

The Proposed EPA Plant Pesticide Rule
CAST Issue Paper 10, October, 1998 (in pdf format)
A panel of five members of the National Academy of Sciences formed by CAST examine the scientific merits of the Biotechnology Industry Organization response to the major conclusions reached by eleven professional scientific societies on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to regulate genes which make plants resistant to pests by means of genetic engineering under the same regulations developed for use of chemical pesticides applied to plants.

Results of a Social and Economic Impact Assessment of Integrated Pest Management Strategies in Brassica Vegetable Crops in China (WP47, 2004) / Liu Yonggong and Xue Shu
The purpose of this assessment was to extend an earlier analysis by investigating the longer-term impacts of two ACIAR-funded projects. This report summarises the research procedures used, and the findings on intergrated pest management impacts and factors that foster or constrain IPM adoption.

Transgenic Virus Resistant Potatoes in Mexico: Potential Socioeconomic Implications of North-South Biotechnology Transfer by Matin Qaim
ISAAA Brief No. 7, 1998

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