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Crops News

Battling against crop pests thanks to genetics

Three research groups have recently reported on advances with crop diseases resistance. These related to detecting novel disease resistance genes and the successful transfer of resistance into wheat, soybean, and potato.

Deadly crop killing fungus reaches Asia

A fungus that causes considerable damage to crops has reached Asia. Microbiologists are attempting to determine the origin of the recent Bangladesh outbreak, through the use of a digital platform.

Lower fertilizer applications with the help of fungi

With concerns about the use of chemical fertilizers being discussed in both the U.S. and Europe, news that fungi might present an alternative means for improving crop yields has been welcomed by scientists and policy makers.

Russia may ban corn and soybeans from U.S.

A Russian watchdog group says U.S. corn contains dry rot and the use of GMOs may result in a ban on both corn and soybeans from the States.

Tackling invasive rice-killing fungi

Tokyo - Scientists have a clue as to how to stop fungi that kills a variety of fruits, vegetables, rice. Researchers have identified the enzyme used by the fungus to make tenuazonic acid, which is the toxin that kills the crops.

Heavy pesticide use in Scotland revealed

Edinburgh - Some parts of the world are pushing ahead with organic farming and eschewing the use of pesticides. Not so in Scotland, it seems. Three new reports reveal the extent of pesticide use in the country.

Poor state of the world’s soils revealed

Soils are essential for the world’s food system. Soil regulates water, carbon and nitrogen cycles. However, the state of many soils in the world is poor and action is needed as part of strategies to boost food production.

GMO (genetically modified) crops to be banned in Scotland

GMO (genetically modified) crops are going to be banned in Scotland. The move is to protect the country's "clean, green" status.

Fertilizers could harm native plant species

Dublin - Fertiliser use is creating a situation whereby native plant species are battling more exotic plants, according to a new study.

The risks of methyl bromide exposure remain

Methyl bromide is a highly toxic pesticide. Although it is not permitted to be used in areas close to human habitation, incidences of poisoning still occur according to the U.S. CDC.

GM crops do not always work as expected

Hertford - A genetically modified wheat has failed tests in the U.K. The crop was designed to repel pests and grow a more hardy variety of the grain.

Roll over biology, super computer creates better crops

For years biologists have toiled away to find ways to make better crops. Now it seems the answer lies with computers. An advanced computer has fully detailed the nanostructure of cellulose, the key to creating more robust grains.

Wasp control: Using one insect to control another

Whitefly is a well-known agricultural pest. It leaves a characteristic white gooey mess across plants and objects like cars. The white mess soon becomes a black mold. It seems that wasps might be a solution to push-back on whitefly.

Bees are drawn to pesticides, triggering risk of death

A study shows bees prefer food laced with pesticides. Further research adds to the evidence that such chemicals are harmful to some pollinators.

A new crop virus reported in North America

Chicago - A type of mastrevirus called switchgrass mosaic-associated virus 1, has been detected in North America. Such viruses cause damage to staple food crops like corn and wheat, and lead to economic consequences.

Europe revises its stance on GM crops

A new agreement in the European Union allows genetically engineered crops to be approved without member-state votes. This represents a U-turn for before all member states needed to agree. The new policy will allow several GMO foods to enter the market.

Barley was key to people moving to Alpine regions

The cold-tolerant cereal crop barley allowed humans to live and farm higher than ever starting more than 3,000 years ago, according to new research.

New treatment against wheat viruses

A technology has helped wheat become resistant to viruses. The technology involves genetic engineering, although more environmentally sustainable options are possible in the longer-term..

Europe agrees to GMO crops

Brussels - Member states of the European Union have agreed on a EU-wide directive for the authorization process of genetically modified crops, with an opt-out for individual countries.

Helping crops avoid plant pathogens

Helsinki - A study has found that ribwort plants in well-connected populations fare better when exposed to a fungal pathogen than those in isolated patches. This finding could help restrict outbreaks caused by plant pathogens.

Rising carbon dioxide lowers crop nutrients

Botanists have shown that plants grown in higher concentrations of carbon dioxide have greater yields, but lower amounts of essential nutrients.

Canada orders railways to boost grain shipments to ease logjam

Canada's government took the drastic step on Friday of forcing the country's two major rail companies to each ship at least 500,000 tons of grain per week to ease a ma...

Researchers breeding disease-free wheat

Researchers have found a way to breed disease-resistant wheat. The breeding is aimed at creating wheat that is able to cope with a fungus found mostly in Australia.

Extreme drought impacting California agribusiness

The end of 2013 left California with one of the driest years on record. As the "Golden State" braces for a third year of extreme drought conditions, farmers and ranchers say the conditions could have a far-reaching impact on the state's agriculture.

Parasites used to control locust populations

A Chinese study suggests that migratory locusts are less likely to aggregate into crop-devastating swarms when infected by a parasite.

Cryptic crop circle found in Salinas Valley, California

Salinas - An intricate crop circle has been discovered in Salinas, California, last Sunday morning of December 29, 2013. Early walkers saw two bursts of light, first thought to be a message from outer space, but now believed to be man-made, not alien, in origin.

Saving crops from whitefly

Scientists have introduced a new technique to select which types of plants are most resistant to whitefly. The aim is to aid the development of defenses against whitefly diseases threatening food crops worldwide.

Biofuel production becomes more complicated

Scientists trying to understand how the castor oil plant produces some very fatty beans from which oil is refined into biodiesel have found the plan to be more complex than previously realized.

Salt-loving bacteria help improve crop yields

The abundance of crops such as wheat, cotton, tomato and cucumber can be boosted through the controlled use of salt-loving bacteria, a new study reveals.

GM crop fails to kill caterpillars

Whether GM crops are right or wrong for the environment, they are supposed to pest resistant. In one case, however, African caterpillars have proved to be remarkably resistant.
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Crops Image

Irrigation sprinkler in a field of corn  central Nebraska. It also waters half the yard.
Irrigation sprinkler in a field of corn, central Nebraska. It also waters half the yard.
A woman stands outside of her temporary home and dried up maize crop in Epworth  in Harare  Zimbabwe
A woman stands outside of her temporary home and dried up maize crop in Epworth, in Harare, Zimbabwe
IRIN Photos
A scarecrow is a decoy placed in open fields to discourage birds from disturbing and feeding on rece...
A scarecrow is a decoy placed in open fields to discourage birds from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and growing crops.
Photograph showing the difference between wheat and goatgrass
Photograph showing the difference between wheat and goatgrass
Stevens County Noxious Weed Control Board