Arctic fungus spreads to UK

Scientists have recently identified the first specimens of the fungus Sclerotinia subarctica in the UK. The fungus has not previously been found this far south and may pose a risk to UK agriculture. The findings were made by scientists at the Warwick Crop Centre at the University of Warwick.
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Aphids Run Scared from GM Wheat

Genetically Modified wheat, gifted with the ability to fight off plant pest attacks, is being grown in England. In a situation similar to the film The Happening, wheat crops are now able to defend themselves against aphids. In the barely-believable movie, plants gained the ability to release chemicals that affected people’s behaviour in order to…
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Mining technology can help find nutritional crop varieties

Farmers face difficult challenges in deciding which crop variety to continue growing. They need to choose crop varieties that have a high likelihood of survival and that will have a high yield. The communities that these farmers provide crops for also have needs. Their need is focused on the access to nutritious crops that contain…
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Getting Older Quicker: Wheat’s New Ageing Problem

Many of us dislike getting older, but you can usually predict how it will go: next year you expect to be 1 year older and you expect your body to be 1 year older. But what if instead of continually growing over a year, your body instead decided to grow for 6 months and then stop…
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Agricultural Super Ducks

Agricultural super ducks? You may think that the entire phrase is flawed. Ducks waddle around in parks, not on farms. You probably have never thought of them as being particularly ‘super’ as they paddle around the park pond, searching for scraps of bread. However, you’d be mistaken, as I was, for the humble duck is…
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India’s Food Security Challenges

Agriculture is very important to India, employing 55% of its population and providing 16.5% of its annual GDP. The industry as a whole is worth US$ 17.5 million alone in exports. However, it’s not all plain sailing, with low productivity and regional groundwater depletion currently threatening Indian agriculture. Climate change and the demands of an…
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New Technology Sniffing out Pests

A recent meeting of crop experts has revealed some new ideas for detecting the presence of crop pests before they strike. These ideas include sampling the air for pathogen traces, measuring volatile organic compounds and detecting decreases in leaf tissue content.
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Colorado Beetle Threatening Potato Crops in Finland

Finland is experiencing a longer and warmer summer than normal which is threatening their potato crops. The warmer temperatures have led to increases in the prevalence of the Colorado potato beetle which has been attempting to establish in Finland for the past decade. The Colorado potato beetle itself is a highly effective reproducer and necessitates…
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Boosting Yields with Banana Compost

In Egypt a new ‘banana compost’ has been trialled with positive results. The compost increases crop yields whilst reducing water and fertiliser use. This new cultural method of crop management could soon be commercially produced to help Egyptian farmers Banana plants only fruit once in their lifetime and are normally burned by farmers afterwards to…
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Anti-Terror Measures Allow Pest Explosion

Since 9/11 the number of invasive pests and plant diseases managing to slip into the USA has risen dramatically. Border checkpoints normally act as a first line of defence against these pests and diseases, however the increased emphasis on anti-terrorism measures has led to agricultural issues being ignored. This costs the USA a staggering $120…
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