Swapping Pesticides with Beetles Could Put Money in Farmers’ Pockets

By Wei Zhang. Reblogged from Agrilinks.

34096134693_27bfc1e954_bEvery time you see a ladybug—also known as the ladybird beetle—you should tuck it in your wallet as a lucky charm to bring prosperity, according to the folklore of many countries. There’s a grain of truth in the old stories. Research shows that each ladybird in a cotton field in the North China Plain provides an economic benefit to farmers of at least 0.05 yuan, or one U.S. cent. This may not sound like much, but consider: Doubling the current ladybird density in two-thirds of Chinese cotton fields could bring farmers around $300 million per year.

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The future for coastal farmers in Bangladesh

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Roughly 40 million people in Bangladesh depend on coastal areas for agriculture and is the most important livelihood option (© Pexels)

A recent study published in Nature Climate Change has suggested that the future global effects of climate change will impact the livelihoods of over 200,000 coastal farmers in Bangladesh as sea levels rise. Flooding of saltwater is already negatively impacting coastal residents in the country as soil conditions alter, causing farmers to either change from historic rice farming to aquaculture or to relocate further inland to avoid such salinity changes.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (05 November 18)

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This month’s pest alerts include a report on 8 new species of weevil (Curculionidae) in Saudi Arabia (© Pexels)

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 the first report of Trochoideus desjardinsi in Cuba. 8 new records of Curculionidae in Saudi Arabia and 3 new species of aphids in China. Continue reading

Tailor-made crop varieties for farmers

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Bacterial wilt in tomato crops were the focus of this study (© Pexels)

Bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum) is one of the world’s most devastating plant diseases, with major crops such as tomato, potato and pepper being severely affected. Until now, crop breeders and farmers have had to simply wait for their crops to mature to determine the level of resistance to the disease. New research has shown that with modern metabolomics technology, it is possible to determine the level of disease resistance in plants much earlier at the seedling stage. This development could save both farmers and breeder time and money when growing host crops, and reduce the yield losses caused by the bacterial disease.

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Update: New Pest & Disease Records (13 October 18)

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This month’s Pest Alerts include the first report of sweet potato Badnavirus A and B in South Africa (© Pexels)

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 the first report of sweet potato Badnavirus in South Africa. The first report of Arabis mosaic virus in rhubarb in Poland and the first report of maize yellow mosaic virus on corn in South Korea. Continue reading

Improving food crop yields using blue-green algae

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Photosynthesis is one of the leading limitations to global agricultural food production (© Pexels)

Using specialised carbon-fixing material from blue-green algae, scientists have successfully engineered crop plants to boost photosynthetic productivity and crop yields. This exciting development promises to increase the yield of important food crops such as cassava, wheat and cowpea.

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Plantwise showcases plant health expertise at TROPED 2018

By Muhammad Faheem and Chan Fook-Wing

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CABI’s Dr Jayne Crozier 

At the recent International Conference on Tropical Fruit Pest and Diseases (known as TROPED), which took place in Malaysia, attendees from countries including the Philippines, Fiji, China, Sudan, and India learned about Plantwise through a series of talks, demos, and an exhibition stand.

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