Zambian farmers benefit from millions in insurance pay-outs thanks to Reading data

Millions of dollars are due to be paid out to small-scale farmers in Zambia affected by a recent severe dry spell, following the introduction of a new government insurance scheme powered by University of Reading science.

Satellite-based rainfall estimates for Africa produced by the University’s TAMSAT research group have allowed around US$2.8m to be triggered for farmers in 370 locations in Zambia between December 1 2017 and 20 January 2018.

Precision agriculture research collaboration aims to help Chinese smallholder farmers

China’s North Plain is one of the country’s most important – and densely populated – agricultural regions, producing crops such as corn, cereals, vegetables and cotton. A research project led by the James Hutton Institute and China Agriculture University aims to support smallholder farmers in the area through precision agriculture techniques.

Diamondback moths discovered overwintering in Somerset

Scientists have found diamondback moth (DBM) caterpillars surviving in UK Brassica crops this winter and are recommending growers check their own crops for the pest now.

Previously considered a migratory pest, recent research from AHDB indicated that diamondback moths could be surviving UK winters.

AHDB’s Dawn Teverson, and Rosemary Collier from Warwick Crop Centre have been out in the field hunting for the caterpillars and found the pest on the underside of leaves in un-netted swede crops, located in the south west of England.

New field station makes space for innovative crop science

A new facility to assist advances in crop science is taking shape in the Norfolk countryside.

The field experimental station at Church Farm, Bawburgh, will allow scientists at the John Innes Centre to carry out ground-breaking research in crop improvements.

Bringing together lab and field research in one location will further research in understanding how genes control plant growth in the field.

Hanging on the Infection Peg

By Jessica Fostvedt (Waitrose CTP Student)

Survival demands that all living things must adapt to their environment or perish. However, an alternative strategy is for an organism to alter the environment to suit its own needs.  For fungal plant pathogens, the surrounding plant tissue provides a generous home… and one that is just as prone to manipulation.  Some pathogens actively attack cells and disrupt plant defences, but others simply ‘wait’ for their environment to become more favourable, and they do this during a stage called pathogen quiescence.

Barriers to women in agriculture challenged during presentation at Scottish Parliament

Evidence of significant barriers to women’s careers in Scottish agriculture has been presented at the Scottish Parliament by social researchers from Newcastle University and the James Hutton Institute.

The presentation, sponsored by MSPs Emma Harper and Gail Ross, featured an introduction by co-chairs of the Women in Agriculture taskforce, Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing and Joyce Campbell (Armadale Farm), and highlighted recent taskforce activities and outcomes of research undertaken for the Scottish Government on the subject.