Three years ago, biotechnologists demonstrated in field trials that they could increase the productivity of maize by introducing a rice gene into the plant that regulated the accumulation of sucrose in kernels and led to more kernels per maize plant.
They knew that the rice gene affected the performance of a natural chemical in maize, trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P), which influences the distribution of sucrose in the plant. But they were keen to discover more intimate details of the relationships governing the increased productivity.
UK horticultural crop research organisation NIAB EMR has appointed Dr Matt Clark to its technology development programme.
Dr Clark brings a wealth of experience to his new role at NIAB EMR, including advancing the use of low-cost sequencing and genotyping in crop systems. He has also pioneered the use of nanopore sequencing technologies together with diagnostics and in-the-field applications.
Based at East Malling in Kent, Dr Clark will be expanding NIAB EMR’s capabilities in genomics, the sequencing and analysis of a plant’s genome, working on a range of new technologies for use across the agricultural, horticultural and environmental sectors.
Two crops or one? Sometimes, growing two crops simultaneously on the same piece of land – called intercropping – can benefit farmers. But it needs careful planning and resource management.
In some parts of Africa, farmers intercrop sorghum – a grain – and peanuts. But they face a major information gap. There hasn’t been much research on optimal levels of fertilizer use for intercropping sorghum and peanuts in these areas.
A new study has filled this information gap. Researchers from Niger, Mali, and the United States have developed a method to help farmers determine how much fertiliser to apply when intercropping.
The announcement, says the statement, follows advice in October from the UK government’s advisory body on pesticides, the Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP). Scientific evidence now suggests that the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoids are greater than previously understood, says the ECP advice.
Redrawing the global map of crop distribution on existing farmland could help meet growing demand for food and biofuels in coming decades, while significantly reducing water stress in agricultural areas, according to a new study. Published today in Nature Geoscience, the study is the first to attempt to address both food production needs and resource sustainability simultaneously and at a global scale.
The results show that “there are a lot of places where there are inefficiencies in water use and nutrient production,” says lead author Kyle Davis, a postdoctoral researcher with Columbia University‘s Earth Institute. Those inefficiencies could be fixed, he says, by swapping in crops that have greater nutritional quality and lower environmental impact.