Agriculture

Selenium deficiency promoted by climate change
February 21, 2017 10:08 AM - ETH Zurich

As a result of climate change, concentrations of the trace element selenium in soils are likely to decrease. Because the selenium content of crops may also be reduced, the risk of selenium deficiency could be increased in many regions of the world. This was shown by a recent study which used data-mining to model the global distribution of selenium.

Selenium is an essential micronutrient obtained from dietary sources such as cereals. The selenium content of foodstuffs largely depends on concentrations in the soil: previous studies have shown that low selenium concentrations are associated with high pH and oxygen availability and low clay and soil organic carbon content. In Europe, as is known from regional studies, selenium-poor soils are found particularly in Germany, Denmark, Scotland, Finland and certain Balkan countries.

Save the Bees? There's an App for That
February 21, 2017 08:38 AM - University of Vermont

New mobile app to help farmers protect pollinators.

Save the Bees? There's an App for That
February 21, 2017 08:38 AM - University of Vermont

New mobile app to help farmers protect pollinators.

Stanford researchers measure African farm yields using high-resolution satellites
February 14, 2017 08:42 AM - Stanford University

Stanford researchers have developed a new way to estimate crop yields from space, using high-resolution photos snapped by a new wave of compact satellites.

The approach, detailed in the Feb. 13 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help estimate agricultural productivity and test intervention strategies in poor regions of the world where data are currently extremely scarce.

Stanford researchers measure African farm yields using high-resolution satellites
February 14, 2017 08:42 AM - Stanford University

Stanford researchers have developed a new way to estimate crop yields from space, using high-resolution photos snapped by a new wave of compact satellites.

The approach, detailed in the Feb. 13 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help estimate agricultural productivity and test intervention strategies in poor regions of the world where data are currently extremely scarce.

New doubts on whether early humans were forced to start farming
February 7, 2017 09:28 AM - University of Oxford

The development of agriculture is universally believed to underpin some of the most significant advances made by humans worldwide. In New Guinea, where one of the earliest human experiments with tropical forest agriculture occurred, researchers have cast doubt on two views about the origins of agriculture.

Increasing the water table in agricultural peatland could hold key to reducing UK's greenhouse gas emissions
February 6, 2017 01:55 PM - The University of Sheffield

The research, led by scientists from the University of Sheffield, found increasing the level below which the ground is saturated with water – known as the water table – in radish fields by 20cm not only reduced soil CO2 emissions, but also improved the growth of crops.

African Nations and Scientists Sound Alarm Over Spread of Crop Pest
February 6, 2017 01:43 PM - E360

Scientists and government officials are growing increasingly concerned about the rapid spread of fall armyworm — an agricultural pest known to cause major damage to staple crops such as maize — across Africa in recent months. 

Genetically modified insects could disrupt international food trade
February 1, 2017 12:10 PM - Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Genetically modified organisms for pest control could end up as contaminants in agricultural products throughout the globe.

 

Land-use change possibly produces more Carbon Dioxide than assumed so far
January 31, 2017 01:08 PM - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

CO2 emissions caused by changes of land use may possibly be higher than assumed so far. This is the outcome of a study made by the team of Professor Almut Arneth of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The work presented in Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2882) for the first time considers processes, such as slash-and–burn agriculture or different ways of managing forests and cropland. The results also imply that reforestation is important to increase the ecologically important CO2 uptake by land ecosystems.

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