OARDC is a premier institution committed to safe, healthy, and affordable food and agricultural products; sustainable food and agricultural systems; strong rural and urban communities; stewardship of natural resources and the environment; keeping Ohio positioned favorably in a global economy.
INVESTIGATOR(S): Brian Hodge, Pierce Paul, Lucy Stewart
TITLE: Viruses in Ohio Wheat
Ohio is the largest producer of soft red winter wheat in the U.S., with an estimated 500,000-700,000 acres planted yearly. It is primarily used for specialty cookies, crackers and other baked goods. Although most of the modern soft red winter wheat cultivars grown in Ohio have the potential to yield close to 100 bushels/acre, growing conditions, pests, and diseases often prevent most cultivars from reaching their full yield potential. Often, viruses are undetected and yield loss is attributed to other factors, such as nutritional deficiency or adverse weather conditions. Both a lack of information about the prevalence of these viruses and no existing treatment leads to significant reductions in grain quality and yield.
What has been done:
The Ohio State University and United States Department of Agriculture researchers conducted a multi-year survey of Ohio wheat fields, the first comprehensive virus survey of Ohio wheat fields in four decades. The practice involved sampling wheat fields across Ohio, using state-of-the-art molecular and conventional approaches to identify and characterize viruses, and measuring relationships among virus presence, severity, and crop production practices. The findings led to the publication of a comprehensive catalog of sequenced viruses in Ohio wheat, including viruses detected within different counties over time, and statistical analyses of detection patterns within fields, which can provide insight into how the different viruses are spread.
New, critical information for wheat management was discovered, including two viruses not previously reported in Ohio wheat - Cocksfoot mottle virus and Agropyron mosaic virus. A surprising finding is that Brome mosaic virus, or BMV, is a major pathogen of Ohio wheat. This has not historically been considered economically important in wheat, therefore little is known about disease management. Further work in the greenhouse and in-field has demonstrated that BMV infection can cause up to 60% yield loss, cementing this as a high priority issue for farmers and providing a new opportunity for research on disease management. This work impacts virus disease manage management in a global food staple crop and will lead to grower recommendations on monitoring for specific viruses, formulating sanitation procedures, insect vector management guidelines to curb spread, and recommendations on disease-resistant wheat varieties improving growing methods and profitability.
INVESTIGATOR(S): Joy Rumble, Annie Specht, Emily Buck
TITLE: Understanding the Influence of Communication Techniques
Historically, the agricultural industry has taken a reactive approach to communication which has influenced how industry information is perceived by the public. The industry has found itself in several tough situations, triggering a reevaluation of communication techniques to identify proper, effective methods of communicating to a consumer audience. While much can be learned from the fields of marketing and communication, the agricultural context offers a challenging and unique perspective that complicates communication.
What has been done:
Two studies were conducted in 2018 to compare text-based and visual messaging in agricultural communications. The first study compared communication frames (or an individual’s preconceptions and interpretations used to understand ideas) about biotechnology presented in the form of a social media feed. Only one of the experimental groups received information about the technology before seeing the message. The second study compared a modern and historical picture of livestock production. Results gathered determined how each method affected consumer perception.
This work has helped to inform communication strategies and message design for public messaging related to agricultural communications. While this study was conducted on a limited sample of the population, results revealed that modern agricultural images had a jarring effect on consumers and created confusion. Additionally, research has shown that familiarizing consumers to biotechnology before showing them a message about biotechnology does not change their attitudes or attentiveness. The research also indicated that in biotechnology communications, consumers are more receptive to personal framing (relating the message to the individual), rather than an industry benefit frame (relating the message to the benefits of industry). This is beneficial knowledge because currently, most communications use an industry benefit frame, which is not as effective. These results suggest that the industry should put more thought into public communication strategies. This research is also informing further research on communication strategies in agriculture throughout the nation.
INVESTIGATOR(S): Anthony Parker, Francis Fluharty, Jefferson McCutcheon, Antoinette Marsh, Braden Campbell
TITLE – Managing Parasites in Small Ruminants (name of article in Ohio’s Country Journal)
Globally, parasitic infection is the greatest economic and production-based burden that livestock producers face when raising livestock in a pasture. On a global perspective, according to Roeber et al. (2013), tens of billions of dollars are spent annually on pharmaceutical products to combat the effects of parasitic infection. According to the USDA, internal parasites accounted for 34,782 sheep deaths in 2015, nationally. Anthelmintics kill parasites, but when resistance develops, those genetics are passed on. An improved parasite management process that addresses resistance is critical to the health and economic wellbeing of this industry.
What has been done:
Researchers are investigating several separate and combined management practices. To date, the team has completed 4 grazing trials with a 5th trial currently taking place. The final 2 projects are set for spring and summer of 2020, for a total of 7 trials. A simple management strategy stems from a firm understanding of the parasite life cycle. Known as grazing and forage management, this system utilizes rotational grazing, with a suggested three-day rotation cycle. Other possible management techniques that are being tested include mixing species, delayed weaning, pasture tillage, and natural parasite resistance of some breeds. Another aspect of the research includes using an ear tag that can monitor an animal’s activity and body temperature, allowing for earlier detection of parasitism which could reduce overall loss.
Through these trials we are investigating the use of annual forages, such as grass or hay, in a fall grazing system to decrease loss associated with parasitic infection in growing fall born lambs and the effect of protein supplementation and pasture maintenance on the performance, parasite status, immune response, and carcass characteristics of grass-fed lambs. Results will also determine the effect of weaning age and forage type on the performance and parasite status of pasture-raised lambs and validate the use of electronic biometric and behavioral data loggers to determine the efficacy of measuring animal activity as a method to detect and quantify the level of parasitism in grazing sheep
Past Imact Statements