Increased carbon dioxide levels in air restrict plants’ ability to absorb nutrients

1.Pollution over fields- could now be a threat to plant nutrition    (Photo by Ken Douglas )

1. Pollution over fields- could now be a threat to plant nutrition (Photo by Ken Douglas)

Contributed by Fiona Bunn

A recent study from the University of Gothenburg has shown that plants that are grown in air with a higher percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) have reduced levels of nitrogen in their tissue, causing increased nitrogen deficiency and reduced growth. The study was conducted across four continents in large scale projects, and the plants showed the negative effects in all three major types of ecosystem: crops, grasslands and forests. The effects were even shown when fertiliser was applied, proving that CO2 restricts the plants’ ability to absorb the necessary nutrients, not the levels in the soil.  Read more of this post

Working together for Plantwise in South and West Asia

Representatives for agricultural development from South and West Asia came together for a two-day conference in Bhurban, Pakistan in April to discuss country plans for Plantwise activities. Decision-makers from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and UK, met to share ideas and knowledge of their plant health systems. Read more of this post

Drones approved for spraying crops in the US

Helicopter piloted by remote control sprays grape vineyards in California (Photo: AP)

Helicopter piloted by remote control sprays grape vineyards in California (Photo: AP)

Crop-spraying drones have now been granted the stamp of approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. The particular drone which was approved, pictured above in California, is equipped to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides, and intended to reach difficult areas to access by ground-based spraying equipment and manned planes. This is not the first time drones have been used in agriculture in the US, but they had not previously been approved for this purpose. Smaller drones have been used for some years by farmers as means of capturing aerial photographs of large areas of crops, aiding identification of unhealthy crop patches. This will be the first time in the country that drones will be spraying and distributing agricultural inputs. Read more

This Earth Day, think agriculture

Corn fingers

On April 22nd, 1970- the date of the first Earth Day– 20 million people marched for clean air, clean water and improved environmental protections. These actions were designed to draw public attention to the environmental agenda and move environmental issues up the priority list of policy makers. The question is: What will unite us this Earth Day? Today we are well aware of the pressures placed on the environment, and we have perhaps more data and more tools to communicate data than ever before. Launched this week, a new awareness tool, the Plant Doctor Game, aims to reach more people with information about one critical environmental movement- sustainable agriculture– and resources here to help.

Read more of this post

Infographic: Plantwise progress in Malawi

Malawi_Infographic

Plantwise initiative helping improve food security in Zambia

Zambia cassava-high-yeild-farmer

Ever since Lackson Njovu, a farmer in Rufunsa district, learnt how to deal with plant diseases and pests using the natural way, his harvest has improved.
Mr Njovu now registers less losses and feeds more by identifying, preventing and curing plant health problems.
On his five hectares farm east of the capital, Lusaka, where he grows maize, cassava, groundnuts, pigeon peas and cow peas, Mr Njovu places chemical solutions as the last resort to safeguard human life and the environment.

Click here to read the full story

Plant clinics help improve yields in Machakos, Kenya

Plant doctor John Mutisya examining a potato sample at the Katoloni plant clinic Credit: David Onyango © CABI

John Mutisya, a plant doctor at the Katoloni plant clinic examines a potato sample
Credit: David Onyango © CABI

“Approximately 300 farmer-self help groups from Machakos County and its environs under the Katoloni community-based organization have registered improved crop yields in the last one year due to high levels of sensitization on crop pest and diseases at plant clinics in the region,” writes Maugo Owiti of HiviSasa.com.

In the article, Pius Ndaka, a farmer from Iluvya village shares the benefits he has experienced from the Katoloni plant clinic.

Click here to read the full story

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