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Edge of Ag News

Soil survey updated

The Web Soil Survey recently was updated and is now available for Wisconsin customers to use. Farmers may use it to learn about their soils through customizable maps, properties and interpretations. The National Cooperative Soil Survey Program and the Web Soil Survey is an endeavor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and other federal agencies, state and local governments and cooperators.

It provides a systematic study of the soils in a given area. That includes the classification, mapping and interpretation of soils. Soil types are classified from physical properties.

Customers may access soils data by visiting the Web Soil Survey or Soil Data Access. They can use the survey to create thematic maps, generate reports, create custom manuscripts and download soils data for area of interest or soil-survey area.

They also can use Soil Access Data to write custom soil data-access queries against tabular data or to connect to the soils database with web services. Visit nrcs.usda.gov/wi/soil for more information.

Carbon-information site launched

The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America recently launched a new online site called Decode 6. It provides free educational resources in carbon and ecosystem services for people in the agricultural and environmental sectors. Decode 6 is named for carbon, the sixth element on the periodic table. It helps individuals interested in adopting carbon programs or creating policy to help curb climate change and evaluate the science behind practices.

“In this emerging area that’s surrounded by hype, gaps in knowledge, and entities looking to profit, it’s important we provide a tool that will allow individuals to make the best, most informed decisions while recognizing uncertainties,” said Seth Murray, president elect of the societies.

“The pinch point in adoption for many of carbon programs is education,” said Chris Boomsma, the director of science and strategy for Decode 6. “Decode 6 is in a position to provide unbiased, accessible, scientific information for farmers and their trusted advisers.”

Decode 6 addresses carbon, markets and economics, water, nutrients, biodiversity and climate. It provides information in question-and-answer format. Podcasts, videos and short articles seek to answer questions that farmers have about agricultural and ecosystem service practices. Visit decode6.org or contact cheitman@sciencesocieties.org for more information.

Swine-vaccine research boosted

Researchers recently received more than $1 million to develop vaccines to protect swine against African swine fever. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research awarded a $500,000 Rapid Outcomes from Agriculture Research grant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and $150,000 to Kansas State University to develop rapidly deployable vaccines. The National Pork Board and MEDIAN Diagnostics provided matching funds.

African swine fever affects pig populations in many countries, but hasn’t yet affected pigs in North America. If the virus does reach pigs in the United States, there would be significant, adverse economic effects.

USDA researchers are identifying the viral proteins involved in immunity and infection to develop a vector-based subunit vaccine. It would include a component of the virus to stimulate an immune response.

The research team also is pinpointing antibodies that can distinguish between vaccinated and infected pigs using the modified-live vaccine candidate already developed by the USDA. It’s currently in production in Vietnam.

Using a distinct but complementary approach, Kansas State University scientists are using an adenovirus-vector vaccine. It’s used for delivering target antigens to the host. The researchers also are using a diagnostic test that distinguishes vaccinated from infected animals. foundationfar.org for more information.

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