ARRA - Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland
Scientists with ARS's Animal Improvement Programs
Lab, at Beltsville, Maryland, have estimated the genetic merit of millions of
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
- Scope of work under Recovery Act
Amount: $10 million
Repair of critical deferred maintenance including replacement of
boilers, electrical and steam distribution system serving campus research
September 2010 – Construction contract awarded for $3,1 million to replace the boiler systems in Boiler Plant 014.
Research at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
The Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) is one of the largest
agricultural research locations in the world. The discoveries, products and
knowledge that have flowed from BARC researchers have been staggering and
BARC scientists have discovered not one but two forms of life: the 1971
discovery of viroids and 1972 discovery of spiroplasmas. Both of these made the
top ten milestones for the past 100 years of plant pest and pathogen research.
Researchers at BARC work in every facet of agriculture from lab to farm to
your dining room table.
Just a few of the contributions from BARC:
Milk production is much less expensive today because of the BARC dairy herd
improvement program that began keeping detailed records of milk output and
other characteristics used to decide breeding choices. During the first 10
years, this led to an average yearly increase in milk production per cow from
5,354 to 6,637 pounds. Today, milk production of cows has increased more than
fourfold as a result of this program.
The BARC Human Nutrition Research manages the "What We Eat in
America" survey that monitors the foods consumed by the American
population and estimates nutrient shortages and excesses. Recently, this
research has shown that added sugars and solid fat are replacing fruits,
vegetables, and milk in the diets of preschool-age children, a finding that
will help researchers identify certain nutrient shortages and develop
interventions to improve their diets and health.
The selective herbicide 2,4-D was developed at BARC. It remains one of the
most effective and safest broadleaf herbicides available.
Portable scanners designed at BARC in Maryland are making it possible to
more thoroughly inspect the 8 billion chickens processed each year at U.S.
poultry plants. The devices use digital cameras, similar to those found in
satellites, to capture images at different wavelengths of chickens as they
speed along assembly lines. The cameras can spot impurities on about 180
chickens per minute, picking up signs of disease that pose safety risks or mar
a birds market appeal.
BARC Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory scientists have developed
effective, organic-produced grain production systems for the mid-Atlantic
region. By increasing the rotation length and diversifying the crops grown in
organic rotation, these new systems have reduced weed competition and increased
corn yields by 30 percent while reducing soil erosion.
Researchers at BARC's Soybean Genomics and Improvement Laboratory used the
recently released soybean genome to develop a system to test genes in soybeans
associated with resistance to nematodes, pests costing tens of billions of
dollars in crop losses each year. Already, the discovery has reduced the number
of nematodes, which is increasing soybean producer profits and supporting the
U.S. agricultural economy.
BARC researchers are also helping us understand climate change. A technique
for preserving and photographing frozen material developed at BARC is being
used to probe the anatomy of mites, the water in western snow packs, and the
underpinnings of climate change. Scientists use it to examine snow crystals in
western snow packs, which inform predictions about spring runoff levels. They
also can study the crystalline structure of dry ice or frozen carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas, and studying its structure
could offer clues about its impact on changing climates.
A microbe discovered by BARC scientists in Marylands Catoctin
Mountains kills some of the nations most destructive agricultural pests.
The bacterium, Chromobacterium suttsuga, produces multiple toxins
that control Colorado potato beetles, corn rootworms, gypsy moths and other
pests that cost farmers almost $3 billion a year. The microbe, found in soils
with decomposed hemlockleaves, can be applied to soils, plants and seeds.
highlights and impacts.
Project Photographs Before Construction
Project Photographs During Construction