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Scientists want to replace pesticides with bacteria

April 19th, 2018 / Bloomberg, US

Fresh snow coats the sidewalks outside Indigo Ag Inc.’s Boston offices, but inside the temperature is calibrated to mimic spring in the Midwest. Hundreds of almost identical soy seedlings sit beneath high-intensity arc lamps, basking in the artificially sunny 60F weather.
The plants aren’t destined to stay identical for long. “We …

Crop protection companies making strides in Africa

April 18th, 2018 / IEG Policy

Africa is making steady progress towards agricultural transformation. Over the past decade there has been a dramatic change in different countries and various localities. There is a noticeable upward shift in expenditure on agriculture by national governments in African countries.
Many countries have reaffirmed their commitment to prioritizing agriculture in their …

Resistance to the usual pesticides makes armyworm more dangerous

April 16th, 2018 / The Star, Kenya

Agriculture is grappling with many pests already, and as USAid’s Regina Eddy says, the armyworm is unique in that it is resistant to many conventional pesticides. Eddy is the coordinator of Fall Armyworm Task Force at the USAid Bureau of Food Security.
She said the pest also has a voracious appetite …

Hybrid swarm of ‘mega-pests’ threatens crops worldwide, warn scientists

April 9th, 2018 / The Independent, UK

A pair of major agricultural pests have combined to produce a “mega-pest” that could threaten crops around the world.
Losses from the original pest species, cotton bollworms and corn earworms, already amounts to billions of dollars worth of food.
But a hybrid of the two, shows signs of rapidly developing …

Disease-resistant GMO crops can reduce pesticide use

March 19th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Recently, University of Florida plant geneticists Zhonglin Mou and Kevin Folta, along with their team of graduate students, announced a new method to fight common diseases in fruit plants. Their discovery could drastically reduce the use of fungicides if widely implemented by growers!
Unfortunately, their methods may never be put to …

Bt Corn associated with higher yields, less insecticide use in neighboring fields

March 16th, 2018 / The Scientist, Canada

In 1996, scientists introduced a type of transgenic maize with built-in protection against pests, such as the European corn borer, using genes derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis that code for proteins toxic to some insects but harmless to humans. Since then, a host of studies have quantified the benefits—in …

Fighting plant pests

February 14th, 2018 / Daily Monitor, Uganda

B4FA Fellow Michael Ssali writes:
Pests are described as insects, bacteria, viruses, birds, and rodents that destroy crops by eating them or by infecting them with diseases.
They are often a nuisance which results in huge losses for the farmer. They can damage the crop when it is growing in the field …

This army of AI robots will feed the world

January 15th, 2018 / Boomberg, US

And it could do it while eliminating herbicides, replenishing topsoil, and reducing carbon consumption. If all goes to plan. Read more …

Long-term study finds that the glyphosate does NOT cause cancer

November 13th, 2017 / The Scientist, US

A new study has found no conclusive link between exposure to glyphosate—the main ingredient in a popular weedkiller—and cancer.
The new study, which was seen by Reuters, draws on long-term data collected through the Agricultural Health Study. This has monitored the health of nearly 90,000 people in Iowa and North Carolina …

Modified maize that kills with RNA is given go-ahead in the US

June 30th, 2017 / New Scientist, UK

For the first time, a crop that produces an RNAi-based pesticide has got the green light.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved a genetically modified corn known as SmartStax Pro. In addition to producing two Bt toxins to kill any western corn rootworm larvae that try to eat it, the …