Agriculture

Plants Love Microbes — And So Do Farmers
August 10, 2017 12:54 PM - University of Queensland

The Sunshine Coast’s plant diversity has helped University of Queensland researchers confirm that nurture has the upper hand – at least when it comes to plant microbes.

Plants Love Microbes — And So Do Farmers
August 10, 2017 12:54 PM - University of Queensland

The Sunshine Coast’s plant diversity has helped University of Queensland researchers confirm that nurture has the upper hand – at least when it comes to plant microbes.

Pesticides Prevalent in Midwestern Streams
August 10, 2017 08:10 AM - USGS

One hundred small streams in the Midwest were tested for pesticides during the 2013 growing season and found to contain, on average, 52 pesticides per stream

More than 180 pesticides and their by-products were detected in small streams throughout 11 Midwestern states, some at concentrations likely to harm aquatic insects, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Biochar shows benefits as manure lagoon cover
August 9, 2017 09:48 AM - American Society of Agronomy

Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few.

Biochar shows benefits as manure lagoon cover
August 9, 2017 09:48 AM - American Society of Agronomy

Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few.

The mystery of the yellowing sugarcane
August 8, 2017 03:34 PM - University of Texas At Austin - Texas Advanced Computing Center

Since 2011, a mysterious illness known as Yellow Canopy Syndrome, or YCS, has afflicted Australian sugarcane. The condition causes the mid-canopy leaves of otherwise healthy plants to rapidly turn yellow to a degree that the plant's sugar yield can decrease by up to 30 percent.

In recent years, the syndrome has spread across the continent. Losses are estimated at around $40 million and growers fear it could ruin the industry in Australia.

"At the start of the project, there were many possibilities but little evidence to suggest the cause," says Kate Hertweck, an assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) and a member of the team of researchers exploring the causes of the disease. "It could be a physiological reaction caused by water or nutrients in the soil. Or it could be a biological cause, like an insect, virus or fungus."

Dramatic changes needed in farming practices to keep pace with climate change
August 4, 2017 02:24 PM - Lancaster University

Major changes in agricultural practices will be required to offset increases in nutrient losses due to climate change, according to research published by a Lancaster University-led team.

Ongoing monitoring program finds potato psyllids but no evidence of bacteria that causes zebra chip disease
August 4, 2017 08:23 AM - University of Lethbridge

University of Lethbridge biogeography professor Dr. Dan Johnson and his team have been monitoring Prairie potato fields for the past few years, looking for evidence of the potato psyllid insect and a bacterium it can carry that can lead to zebra chip disease in potato crops.

“We found hundreds of potato psyllids last year, but we have found under 10 so far this year and none have the bacteria that cause zebra chip,” says Johnson, who coordinates the Canadian Potato Psyllid and Zebra Chip Monitoring Network.

Light pollution as a new threat to pollination
August 3, 2017 11:58 AM - University of Bern

Artificial light disrupts nocturnal pollination and leads to a reduced number of fruits produced by the plant.

Financial Incentives Could Conserve Tropical Forest Diversity
August 2, 2017 01:28 PM - University of Missouri-Columbia

The past few decades have seen the rise of global incentive programs offering payments to landowners to help reduce tropical deforestation. Until now, assessments of these programs have largely overlooked decreases in forest diversity. In what might be a first of its kind study, University of Missouri researchers have integrated forest imaging with field-level inventories and landowner surveys to assess the impact of conservation payments in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin forests. They found that conservation payment programs are making a difference in the diversity of tree species in protected spaces. Further, the species being protected are twice as likely to be of commercial timber value and at risk of extinction.

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