New edition of weed biocontrol catalogue gives information on more than 2000 releases

Himalayan balsam infected with Puccinia rust
Himalayan balsam infected with Puccinia rust – a method of biocontrol being used in the UK. Photo credit: Rob Tanner © CABI

The fifth edition of Biological Control of Weeds: A World Catalogue of Agents and Their Target Weeds has been released after years of literature searches and the involvement of 125 weed biocontrol specialists.

The publication of this catalogue, available as a searchable online database and as a PDF book, was led by Mark Schwarzländer, University of Idaho CALS professor of entomology and biological control of weeds (and a former CABI researcher), and current CABI biological weed researcher, Hariet Hinz. Several prominent invasive species researchers co-edited the catalogue, including CABI’s Chief Scientist, Matthew Cock. Continue reading

Factsheet of the month: October – Preventing weeds in cassava

Preventing weeds in cassavaThis month sees the return of World Food Day which is celebrated annually on the 16th October, the day the Food and Agricultural Organisation was founded in 1945. This year’s theme, Family Farming, has been chosen to raise awareness of the role that family and smallholder farmers play in providing food security and achieving sustainable development. In the lead up to World Food Day, the World Development Movement is posting an A-Z of food sovereignty. The latest in this series was M for Mulching. Mulching is a widely-used technique amongst smallholder farmers who want to reduce soil erosion and water loss, and increase soil fertility. Another benefit of mulching is helping to reduce weed growth. This is is explained further in the Plantwise factsheet Preventing weeds in cassava. Cassava is a key staple crop in many countries so it is vital that yields are not affected by pests, including weeds. This factsheet was written in Sierra Leone by experts from the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI).

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Update: Plant Health News (27 Aug 14)

Soil health issues cost African farmers $4 billion a year in lost crop productivity © Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)
Soil health issues cost African farmers $4 billion a year in lost crop productivity © Gates Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including surveillance robots that can detect weeds and pest insects, a focus on gender capacity development in Ethiopia and smallholder farmers in Africa adopting practices to improve their field soil health.

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Update: Plant Health News (18 Jun 14)

Increased awareness of side-effects has reduced post-harvest chemical use on Citrus © Rachel Jones (CC BY-NC)
Increased awareness of side-effects has reduced post-harvest chemical use on Citrus © Rachel Jones (CC BY-NC)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including chemical-free citrus post-harvest becoming the new standard, how weeds could help feed billions in a warming world and the rehabilitation of banana fields devastated by Xanthomonas wilt in DRC.

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Update: Plant Health News (26 Feb 14)

Two- wheel tractors are more affordable for small-scale farmers who wish to benefit from the mechanisation of agriculture in South Asia © werktuigendagen (CC BY-SA)
Two-wheel tractors are more affordable for small-scale farmers who want to benefit from the mechanisation of agriculture in South Asia © werktuigendagen (CC BY-SA)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including drought affecting coffee in Brazil, new biodegradable mulches that could be used as an alternative to polyethylene and innovative farm machinery used in Bangladesh.

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Update: Plant Health News (12 Feb 14)

Rhinoceros beetles are a major pest of coconut © John_Amend (via Flickr)
Rhinoceros beetles are a major pest of coconut © John_Amend (via Flickr)

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including a new biocontrol treatment to control Rhinoceros beetles on coconut,  research to show GM Bt crops don’t harm non-target insects  and research into the use of insects to control invasive weeds.

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Update: Plant Health News (29 Jan 14)

Enset fruit
Banana-like enset fruit

Here’s a taste of some of the latest stories about plant health, including the development of shock treatments for weeds, plans to monitor pesticide residues in Nepal and the development of enset varieties resistant to bacterial wilt disease in Ethiopia.

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