The EU and member states are moving to ban neonicotinoid insecticides. But two recently released reports on the issue conclude that a ban would push farmers back to using pest control options that are worse for the environment and possibly for bees as well.
And here …The planet’s plants pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it in their leaves, stems and roots. Some of that carbon makes its way into the soil, and some of that soil carbon is ultimately mothballed for millennia.
These days, though, “we as humans are putting up so much CO2 that the Earth is not able to compensate,” says Wolfgang Busch, a plant biologist with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Busch is working on a new project: to design plants that can suck even more CO2 out of the atmosphere and lock it away for centuries.
Before there was a general understanding of the benefits of native vegetation and the risks of invasive plants — introduced species that outcompete other species, spread quickly and alter ecosystems — USDA had a hand in introducing foreign plants that proved aggressive. Long ago, the agency promoted kudzu for erosion control. Now it works to control invasive species and does not provide assistance for planting them. It also actively promotes the use of native species through some programs.
Vineyards across the U.S. and Italy are being devastated by incurable diseases caused by bacteria hitching a ride on leafhoppers — a diverse group of plant-piercing insects closely related to cicadas. Now, thanks to some innovative research, scientists are using a technique called vibrational mating disruption to interrupt male-leafhopper courtship songs, preventing them from finding mates and slowing population growth.
The definition of skim milk seems like it should be pretty straightforward. Not so fast. There’s more at stake than meets the eye.
‘Food loss and waste also amount to a major squandering of resources including water, land, energy, labour and capital,’ said Professor Montse Jorba Rafart, an expert in agrifood technologies from Leitat, a Spanish technological centre.
Instead, this waste could become a sustainable solution for another resource-heavy agricultural sector – animal feed.
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is making a pre-emptive strike against potentially misleading marketing for the next wave of plant meat and other meat alternatives, but the definition is changing fast. Trying to define meat by production process doesn’t play well with where the industry would like to see biotech regulation reformed.
Dynamic cropping is an ecologically-based management strategy that optimizes production through the use of flexible crop sequencing. Here are the stories of four farmers who have found success with dynamic cropping systems.
Global shifts of urbanization, migration, markets and climate can potentially be compatible with agrobiodiversity, but other powerful forces are undermining it. The imperatives of producing food at lower cost and higher yield clash with efforts to raise high-quality food and protect the environment.
Alison Van Eenennaam, an extension specialist at UC Davis working in beef genomics surveys the data and evidence relating to concerns about the use of medically important antibiotics in livestock production.
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal on an increased reliance by small farmers in the Midwest on off-farm income highlights that we don’t have a shortage of farmers, we have glut of small farms.
A sophisticated form of artificial intelligence known as deep learning could help make agriculture more efficient and environmentally friendly.
According to the FAO, 30% of food is lost or wasted along the supply chain every year. This is a whopping 1.3 billion metric tons of food that doesn’t ever reach the consumer. This lost or wasted food could be used to feed 1.6 billion people every year. In Africa, the losses are even higher: between 30% and 50%.
Three examples of genetic engineering of crops show that extremely modest engineered changes in plant genetics can result in very important benefits. These three examples involve engineered changes that trigger the natural defenses of the plant without introducing novel defense mechanisms.
Uganda’s president wants to integrate protections for Uganda’s genetic heritage and resources into his country’s desperately needed biosafety law.
Nitrogen emissions from agriculture can exacerbate particulate pollution, endangering human health. There has been a lot of progress in addressing that, but much still needs to be done.
Monsanto sues the citizen’s Arkansas State Plant Board, Bunge partners with the Non-GMO Project, the GMA continues its collapse. They fraying of food and farm coalitions continues apace.
Agronomist Andrew McGuire explains why there is not enough manure or compost available – and can never be enough – to replenish soil fertility at a systems level. Studies that show improved outcomes on single farms are not measuring improvement at a systems level.
Returning manure to the soil that produced it can be a sustainable way of restoring soil organic matter. Too often the organic matter of many farms is pushed through the bottleneck of intensive livestock production to be applied just a few farms. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Can we produce enough manure to serve as a major source of soil nutrients? Agronomist Andrew McGuire shows the limitations due to entropy make it impossible for manure to make up more than a portion of nutrient replenishment.