Can farms maintain productivity while reducing pesticide use?

Farming tractor plowing and spraying on field vertical
How would reducing pesticides affect productivity? (Photo: iStock Images)

A new UN report states that it is dangerously misleading to suggest that pesticides are necessary to achieve food security. Instead, the report recommends that farms reduce pesticide use and adopt sustainable practices that protect crops from pests by enhancing biodiversity and natural enemies. This agroecological approach eliminates reliance on, and exposure to, expensive and toxic chemical inputs, but would it really allow farmers to be just as productive?

Continue reading

A greater role for educational animation in extension?

Blog contributed by Nick Quist Nathaniels, Independent Consultant, Denmark

A freeze-frame animation showing a mouldy groundnut kernel © CCRP/ McKnight Foundation’
A freeze-frame from animation showing a mouldy groundnut kernel © CCRP/ McKnight Foundation

Computer animations are a rather special and exciting communication medium. For example, they can be used to illustrate the basic biology of pests and diseases and explain control measures. Animations are also an effective way to show changes that occur over a long time or at the landscape, watershed or even the global level. A combination of animation with spoken explanations can make such phenomena much easier to grasp. Being able to ‘see’ the phenomenon helps viewers imagine why individual or collaborative actions may be needed to address otherwise hidden problems. Continue reading

Making the most of the knowledge bank: super searching

site-searchIn the first post in this series about making the most of the Plantwise knowledge bank , we wrote about how to effectively search for content. I’m now here to tell you that we’d barely scratched the surface of smart searching! In this post we will delve further into effective searching, covering Boolean searches, word stemming and metadata.  Continue reading

Update: New Pest & Disease Records (07 Sep 16)

Tuta absoluta mines through leaves and feed on tomato fruit © Peter Kodwaran, MOALF, Kenya
Tuta absoluta mines through leaves and feeds on tomato fruit © Peter Kodwaran, MOALF, Kenya

We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include a new insect pest, Cyrtozemia dispar, on peanut in India, the presence of the entomopathogenic fungus Pandora neoaphidis in Argentina and the first record of Tuta absoluta in Tanzania.

Continue reading

Making the most of the knowledge bank: which pests are in your country?

This is the fourth instalment in our series on the Plantwise knowledge bank in which we hope to demystify some of the key aspects of the knowledge bank.  This week we’re focusing on pest and disease distribution. Pest distribution on PWKB

When accessing the knowledge bank for the first time, it is advisable to select the country or region that you are interested in, so that the content you see, including pest distribution information, is relevant to you. There are three ways to access this information on knowledge bank.

Continue reading

Making the most of the knowledge bank: top tools and information

Untitled pictureWelcome to the third in our series on making the most of the knowledge bank. This time we turn our attention to a section of the knowledge bank which contains a huge amount of valuable information but that is all too often overlooked – the Links to useful information and tools. This is which is where you’ll find all the key links to information about crop protection. Importantly, the links page is specific to each country or region, so all the information on the page will be relevant to your location.
Continue reading

Making the most of the knowledge bank: begin booklet building!

BookletIn the latest on our series on making the most of the Plantwise knowledge bank, we turn our focus to the Booklet Builder which lets you compile a custom set of Plantwise factsheets and Pest Management Decision Guides (PMDGs) into one booklet, or create a booklet of content written in your country at the click of a button.

The booklet builder works like an online shopping cart, and is found in the same place you’d expect to see a cart – in the top right corner. The number in brackets shows how many items you’ve added, just like an internet shop, but in the booklet builder, all items are free! Here, we explain how to create your booklet in 3 easy steps.  Continue reading