No shortage of hard work
September 14, 2017 08:28 AM - Dalhousie University

From hand milking with a metal pail and wooden stool to tie-stall and parlour systems, the methods dairy farmers have used to milk their cows has certainly evolved over the years. While the most recent milking system introduced to the dairy industry may help free up a bit of time for dairy farmers, there is still no shortage of hard work.

A number of farmers are now adopting an automatic milking system and with it comes a few questions, especially around the environmental impact of the new system.

Florida Tech Research Finds Roots Use Chemical 'Photos' to Coordinate Growth
September 13, 2017 04:58 PM - Florida Institute of Technology

Though it may look haphazard, the network of intertwining plant roots snaking through the soil actually represents a deliberate process. Root growth is guided by chemical snapshots taken by young roots, allowing them to detect obstructions and coordinate the paths they take, new research led by Florida Institute of Technology finds.

Roots compete for and share resources with neighboring roots, as well as with billions of microbes. Until now, however, little has been known about how plants coordinate construction of these complex subterranean assemblies.

Deforestation long overlooked as contributor to climate change
September 13, 2017 02:49 PM - Lindsay Hadlock, Cornell University

A new Cornell University study shows that deforestation and subsequent use of lands for agriculture or pasture, especially in tropical regions, contribute more to climate change than previously thought.

Helping Chinese Farmers Tackle Erosion, Increase Profits
September 13, 2017 10:58 AM - American Society of Agronomy

On the steep farming slopes of China, Bozhi Wu and his research associates are finding ways to improve economic and environmental stability.

Helping Chinese Farmers Tackle Erosion, Increase Profits
September 13, 2017 10:58 AM - American Society of Agronomy

On the steep farming slopes of China, Bozhi Wu and his research associates are finding ways to improve economic and environmental stability.

Latin America Could Lose Up to 90 Percent of its Coffee-Growing Land by 2050
September 13, 2017 09:47 AM - Yale Environment 360

Studies have previously estimated that the amount of land worldwide suitable for growing coffee could shrink by an estimated 50 percent by 2050 as global temperatures rise, rain patterns change, and ecosystems shift due to climate change. But a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicts a far worse situation for Latin America, the world’s largest coffee supplier: The region could lose nearly 90 percent of its coffee-growing land by mid-century.

Hatching an idea
September 13, 2017 08:01 AM - University of Saskatchewan

Backyard chickens are permitted in a number of Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse and some boroughs of Montréal.

Wanda Martin would like to see Saskatoon on that list.

Stanford researchers study the relationship between nectar microbiomes and pollination
September 12, 2017 10:47 AM - Stanford University

Dipping its beak into the sweet nectar of a flower, a hummingbird is doing more than getting a meal – it’s contributing to a microbial community that could potentially determine the fate of that flower. Recognizing that this fleeting interaction could have major implications on crop success and the health of pollinator species, the research group led by Tadashi Fukami, an associate professor of biology at Stanford, has studied the relationships between pollinators, microbes and plants for nearly a decade.

Carleton Professor Helps Maple Syrup Producers Solve Mould Problem
September 12, 2017 08:03 AM - Carleton University

Maple syrup has been a Canadian staple for centuries and although many food-manufacturing processes have become automated, maple syrup is still largely made by small producers and bought from roadside stands and markets.

The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA), which represents more than 600 producers across the province, noticed there was a problem with this value chain. After receiving a large number of complaints about mould in maple syrup,­ OMSPA called in Carleton Chemistry Prof. David Miller — an expert on fungi and fungal toxins in food — to see if he could crack the sugary conundrum.

Rising CO2 Leading to Changes in Land Plant Photosynthesis
September 11, 2017 05:41 PM - University of California - San Diego

Researchers led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego have determined that major changes in plant behavior have occurred over the past 40 years, using measurements of subtle changes in the carbon dioxide (CO2) currently found in the atmosphere.

The two main isotopes, or atomic forms, of carbon are carbon-12 (12C) and carbon-13 (13C). As CO2 has risen since the late 19th century, the ratio of 13C to 12C in atmospheric CO2 has decreased. That’s in part because the CO2 produced by the combustion of fossil fuels has a low 13C/12C ratio. There are other factors in nature as well, however, that have influenced the rate of decrease in the isotopic ratio.  The measured rate of decrease in the isotopic ratio turns out to be different than what scientists previously expected.

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