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Discovery shows how PHR1, a key switch protein, controls plant response to low levels of phosphate

March 23rd, 2017 / ISAAA

Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have identified a key genetic switch that helps soil bacteria that lives on and inside plant roots to harvest phosphate, a vital nutrient for plant yield that is limited in global supply. The scientists show precisely how PHR1, a …

How healthy soils make for a healthy life

March 23rd, 2017 / The Conversation

The next time you bite into an apple, spare a thought for the soils that helped to produce it. Soils play a vital role, not just in an apple’s growth, but in our own health too. The formation of soil, pedogenesis, is a very slow process. Creating one millimetre …

Latin American native maize reveals adaptation secrets

March 21st, 2017 / SciDev.net

An international team of scientists identified a hundred genes that influence adaptation to the latitude, altitude, growing season and flowering time of nearly 4,500 native maize varieties in Mexico and in almost all Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Creole — or native — varieties of maize are derived from improvements made …

Shocking encounter with fall army worms

March 21st, 2017 / The Sunrise, Uganda

About a week ago, my wife Esther brought my attention to an attack in our little maize garden. She urged me to spray the tender plants having detected damage on the leaves on the crop that is just three weeks now.
I hesitantly accepted to spray against the feeling that it …

Farmers in panic as strange caterpillars ravage maize gardens

March 21st, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

The onset of the planting season for farmers growing the maize crop in Luweero District is at crossroads with many farmers already counting losses after losing the crop to strange pesticide resistant caterpillars.
Luweero District Agriculture Officer, Ms Sarah Namubiru describes the pesticide resistant caterpillars as strange and rare because of …

Africa’s food security challenges driving technological innovation

March 21st, 2017 / BIZCommunity, South Africa

Climate change, severe drought, water scarcity and the invasion of Fall armyworm sees Africa’s food security under threat, but technology tools are available to help solve the continent’s food security problems. Lawrence Kandaswami, Managing Director, SAP South Africa says: “Smart farming solutions will become the cornerstone of global food production …

Drought tolerant wheat on the way

March 21st, 2017 / Agriculture.com

Look for a grinning, midsize lab-coat guy this winter, wearing dark glasses possibly, at the CFIA Variety Registration Office in Ottawa or Toronto. Julian Northey plans to be there, toting his paperwork, to register a new durum wheat for trials in western Canada.
If it happens and if it holds up …

Farmers abandon maize for drought-resistant crops

March 21st, 2017 / The Star, Kenya

As the drought continues to ravage parts of the country, farmers in Makueni have nothing to worry about since they have millet, sorghum and green grams to eat and sell.
Samuel Mutune, a father of seven, says he grew maize for many years but that the harvests were poor due to …

The business case for soil

March 17th, 2017 / Nature, UK

Nobody likes dirty business, but the business world must get to grips with dirt. Soil provides food, fibres and fuels, and regulates water resources and climate. Yet most businesses are unaware that their bottom lines depend on soil; nor are they aware of the risks they face from its degradation. …

Crops you harvest in less than six months

March 17th, 2017 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

Currently, due to climate change as a result of deforestation, reclamation of swamps, and industrialisation, among other factors, traditional farmers who depended on the traditional crop growing calendar of March are no longer to tell seasons due to unpredictable dry spells, since there was no mitigation.
This, in part, implies that …