BROOKINGS, S.D.- South Dakota State University’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences continues to lead agricultural research. Students and professors work to develop solutions to ongoing problems, as well as pioneer new cutting-edge technologies.
“In almost every area, there is research that continues to progress the science in the field,” says Associate Dean of Research Dr. Bill Gibbons. “A good example in our wheat and oat breeding programs, pathogens and pests continually evolve. And so we have to continually breed new varieties that are resistant to those, as well as being responsive to the industry that is interested in having higher yields as well as better baking quality for wheats and material, so that’s an example.”
“The intersection of engineering and agriculture is very dynamic and changing rapidly. Tremendous amounts of data are being generated and can be generated, and how do we most efficiently take that data and process it into decision making tools for producers? And so we are working very closely with researchers and our engineering schools and our computer science programs, math and stats, to bring together teams that can take that data and develop models to predict what would happen in the future if we do this, that, or the other thing,” Dr. Gibbons adds.
Current research performed by students and professors includes drones that measure soil nutrient composition and catch crop diseases, time release fertilizers, and gauges that measure fertilizer output during spreading. The fun and research doesn’t stop East River, but the focus transitions from farming to ranching out west, like at the Cottonwood Field Station.
“Two years ago, the legislature provided about $450,000 to us to buy some equipment to kick start that program,” says Dr. Gibbons. “This year we’re going to start the main construction. But with that $450,000, our researchers were able to gather about over $2 million in research funding. So we got a six to one return on investment, and so we’re looking for that team to really continue expanding the level of work they have and the impact on on producers. You know, it’s a tough life and you’re basically grounded. You are you have to be on the on the ranch at all times for your animals with these technologies is going to allow people to have a little more flexible lifestyle.”