Coffee Production in Hot Water- The Impacts of Climate Change on the Future of Coffee Crops

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Coffee (Coffea) is the one of the world’s favourite drinks and the second most traded commodity after oil, accounting for annual retail value of US$ 90 billion. The two main species used in the production of coffee are Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica), which accounts for 70% of coffee production, and Robusta coffee (Coffea canephora). The…
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Bean and Gone – Controlling the Coffee Berry Borer Using Integrated Pest Management

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The Coffee Berry Borer, Hypothenemus hampei, is a tiny beetle which is widely considered to be the most damaging pest of coffee plantations in the world. Originating in Africa, it is now found in almost all coffee growing areas in the world as an invasive species, with nearly 160 records from different areas worldwide on…
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Colorado Potato Beetles Left With A Sour Taste As Clover Is Found To Be As Effective As Pesticides

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Eggplant or aubergine (Solanum melongena) is a crop often attacked by the Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), a major insect pest of  plants from the Solanaceae family including potato, tomato and eggplant throughout North America, Europe and Asia. This insect pest is exceptionally destructive to crops and readily develops resistance to a wide variety of…
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Plant Pest Interactions: How Soybean Aphids Trick Soybean Plant Defences

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Following on from a previous blog on the interactions between soybean plants and soybean pests,  new research on soybean (Glycine max) responses to the soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) published in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions has revealed some of the complex and fascinating interactions between pests and their plant hosts.  This recent research led by Dr Gustavo Macintosh and…
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The Soybean Gene: Scientists Discover the Key to Nematode Resistant Soybeans

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Soybean (Glycine max) is an important crop that provides a sustainable source of protein and oil worldwide in countries such as the USA, Brazil, Argentina, India and many African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. The soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines is a microscopic roundworm that feeds on the roots of soybean and is…
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Sweet Like Chocolate: Breeding Programs Combating Fungal Diseases of Cocoa in Ecuador

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Cocoa, Theobroma cacao L. is the third most important export product in Ecuador; a country which produces 70% of the world’s highly prized Arriba cocoa. However, the sustainability of this crop is threatened by a number of devastating pest species including fungal diseases and insect pests. Among the most severe are the closely related fungal diseases…
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Improved Pest Control From Macho Hormone Treated Male Fruit Flies

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The Mexican Fruit Fly Anastrepha ludens is the most important native fruit fly pest of citrus in America and also infests other economically important crops such as peaches, peppers and mangoes. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mexico has developed a Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) method which involves exposing huge quantities of male fruit flies to…
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Down the pan

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How about I start this week’s blog with a question……what is the common link between the newly-constructed toilet block in Kithimu market place and Maize streak virus (MSV)?
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Puddles of pests: why the weather really matters

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Weather – an integral part of farming ©Paul Dickson While folklore has worked well for many farmers over the years, watching out for red skies or the wind changing direction isn’t always convenient, and a little more notice of hurricanes and tropical storms is usually appreciated. With recent stories of rain beating down on mangoes in…
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Need to control rodents on your crops? Use birds of prey!

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The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is encouraging farmers to use barn owls (Tyto alba) to control rodent pests on their crops. They aim to attract barn owls by constructing nest boxes; so far 2,000 have been distributed to farmers. As barn owls only hunt at night, day-hunting kestrels are also being…
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