U.S. farmers grow over 15 billion bushels of corn, wheat, soybeans, and other grains annually to supply the nation and world with food, animal feed, and biofuels. A significant amount of this grain may be stored for a year or more before it is used or processed. We are developing chemical-free technology to control insects and maintain quality during grain handling and storage. These technologies include instrumentation, sensors, and systems to improve monitoring and management of grain storage and handling systems. Our goal is to improve U.S. grain quality and international competitiveness through the application of engineering principles to maintaining quality during handling and storage.
Scientists at EWERU are working to develop instruments that rapidly measure quality traits for inspection at the first point of grain delivery, for breeders in selecting traits for new lines, and for processors prior to grain buying or processing. Instruments developed to assess grain quality will be used to study how grain quality might change during storage and handling. An instrument previously developed by EWERU, to detect insect-infested grain will be used to study the spread of insect infestations and the storability of grain based on insect population levels. This research will lead to higher profits for the agriculture sector, higher-quality foods reaching consumers, and more food available for a growing world population.
Wind erosion and fugitive dust continue to threaten soil resources, air quality, and sustainable agricultural production. Research objectives to address these problems are: 1) basic research to understand the processes of particulate dust emissions; 2) improve and extend the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) model to additional applications, including rangelands, construction sites and other disturbed lands; 3) develop improved control practices for reducing dust emissions, and; 4) transfer science based technology to customers. Beneficiaries of this research include the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) which is using the WEPS model for conservation planning in 2,200 field offices nationwide. In addition, State and Federal regulatory policy agencies relative to conservation programs and climate change, conservation planners and land mangers benefit from this wind erosion research. The studies conducted result in reliable wind erosion prediction tools and control practices to sustain agriculture, protect the environment, and conserve natural resources.