Tag: crop science

Filling the intercropping info gap

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.

UK backs neonics ban

In a government statement today, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, says the UK supports further restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids because of their effects on bees and other pollinators.

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.

Swapping where crops are grown could feed an extra 825 million people

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.

Applications open for 2018 NIAB Faculty Fellowship

For early career researchers spanning plant and crop science and those in aligned areas such as pathology, entomology, bioinformatics, engineering and robotics: NIAB wishes to support outstanding early career researchers in applications for independent research fellowship such as:

Crops evolving ten millennia before experts thought

Professor Robin Allaby

Ancient peoples began to systematically affect evolution of crops up to 30,000 years ago – ten millennia before experts previously thought, says new University of Warwick research

Rice, wheat and barley were used so much that their evolution was affected – beginning the process that eventually turned them from wild to domesticated – as long ago as the last Ice Age

Einkorn found to be on the evolutionary trajectory to domestication up to 30,000 years ago in modern day northern Syria, and emmer wheat up to 25,000 years ago in Southern Levant region

Research proves the existence of dense populations of people up to 30,000 years ago

Crowning the King of the Crops: Sequencing the White Guinea Yam Genome

An international collaboration involving the Earlham Institute, Norwich, UK, and the Iwate Biotechnology Research Centre, Japan, has for the first time provided a genome sequence for the white Guinea yam, a staple crop with huge economic and cultural significance on the African continent and a lifeline for millions of people.