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News About Farming On Earth and in Space
March 24, 2017
Almond-crop fungicides are harmful to honey bees
Washington (UPI) Mar 21, 2017
Almond growers face a dilemma. They need to keep their almond trees fungus free, but new research shows almond-crop fungicides harm honey bees, the nut tree's chief pollinator. Lab tests at Texas A&M University show the fungicide iprodione significantly diminishes the survivability rate of western honey bees, Apis mellifera, the world's most common honey bee species. "Given that these fungicides may be applied when honey bees are present in almond orchards, our findings suggest that bees ... read more

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China's demand for medicine fuels African donkey slaughter
Under a cloudless sky in South Africa's northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. ... more
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What makes farmers try new practices?
Change is never easy. But when it comes to adopting new agricultural practices, some farmers are easier to convince than others. A group of researchers at the University of Illinois wanted to know w ... more
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Greenhouse gases: First it was cows now it's larvae
Chaoborus spp is a small fly species that is found all over the world (except in Antarctica). The insect spends one to two years of its life cycle under water in a larval state, in lakes no deeper t ... more
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Wild sunflowers provide resilient diversity
Beauty and utility in one bright package, sunflowers are one of just a few commercial crops with origins in the United States. Today, sunflowers are grown in more than 70 countries. The value of the ... more
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Cocoa industry agrees plan to tackle deforestation
Major chocolate makers, including Ferrero, Nestle and Mars, agreed Thursday a landmark initiative to tackle deforestation in top cocoa producers Ivory Coast and Ghana - a move hailed by Prince Charles. ... more
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How improved valves let grasses 'breathe,' cope with climate change
New work from a joint team of plant biologists and ecologists from Carnegie and Stanford University has uncovered the factor behind an important innovation that makes grasses - both the kind that ma ... more
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Increasing plant yield in wake of looming phosphate supply limits
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have pinpointed a key genetic switch that helps soil bacteria living on and inside a plant's roots harvest a vital nutrient with limited ... more
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Molecular mechanism responsible for blooming in spring identified
Plants possess molecular mechanisms that prevent them from blooming in winter. Once the cold of win-ter has passed, they are deactivated. However, if it is still too cold in spring, plants adapt the ... more
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Popular weedkiller doesn't cause cancer: EU agency
The EU's chemicals agency said Wednesday that glyphosate, one of the world's most widely used weedkillers, should not be classed as a carcinogen. ... more
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Study: Suburban bees prefer to forage on farms, not in the city
Scientists at Ohio State University found honey bees living in the outer suburbs - where residential development transitions into agricultural land - tend to forage on farms, not in urban gardens. ... more
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Microbes measure ecological restoration success
The success of ecological restoration projects around the world could be boosted using a potential new tool that monitors soil microbes. Published in the journal Molecular Ecology, University of Ade ... more
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This small molecule could have a big future in global food security
Researchers at the University of Arizona have found a promising way to prevent the loss of millions of tons of crops to a fungus each year, offering the potential to dramatically improve food securi ... more
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Researchers develop equation that helps to explain plant growth
It is rare in biology that a single trait can answer questions spanning several fields of research. One such trait is plant biology's "leaf mass per area," a simple measurement calculated by weighin ... more
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Stabilizing soils with sulfates to improve their constructional properties
The journal Applied Clay Science has recently published the paper 'Sulfate soils stabilization with magnesium-based bindersa', a piece of research led by Dr Andres Seco-Meneses on the stabilizing of ... more
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Future climate change will affect plants and soil differently
A new European study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soi ... more
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Hand-picked specialty crops 'ripe' for precision agriculture techniques
Timing the harvest and transport of highly perishable, hand-picked crops such as strawberries so these delicate products reach consumers at peak flavor and freshness is an intricate dance that partn ... more
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Colombia's 'drug triangle' puts hope in chocolate
Isidro Montiel arrived in Colombia's lawless "drug triangle" in 1982 hoping to get rich farming coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine. ... more
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Hand-picked specialty crops 'ripe' for precision agriculture techniques
Timing the harvest and transport of highly perishable, hand-picked crops such as strawberries so these delicate products reach consumers at peak flavor and freshness is an intricate dance that partn ... more
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Magic cover crop carpet
Organic farmers have to make hard choices between protecting soil from erosion and controlling weeds. For example, large-scale organic farming relies heavily on tillage. Tilling breaks up the soil t ... more
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Researchers propose using CRISPR to accelerate plant domestication
Out of the more than 300,000 plant species in existence, only three species - rice, wheat, and maize - account for most of the plant matter that humans consume, partly because in the history of agri ... more
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SpaceX delivers BAM-FX to ISS for Zero Gravity Solutions
Zero Gravity Solutions, Inc., an agricultural biotechnology public company commercializing its technology derived from and designed for Space with significant applications for agriculture on Earth, ... more
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'Our daily bread' has hidden climate costs
Nearly half the environmental impact of a loaf of bread comes from the "unsustainable use" of fertilisers on wheat crops, researchers said Monday. ... more
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Brexit sows seeds of doubt for British farmers
Dependent on foreign workers and subsidies from Brussels, Britain's small but important agricultural sector is losing sleep over the possible fallout from Brexit, but hopes a future outside the EU will open up new export opportunities. ... more
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Researchers unravel powerful tool in maize breeding
A common strategy to create high-yielding plants is hybrid breeding - crossing two different inbred lines to obtain characteristics superior to each parent. However, getting the inbred lines in the ... more
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