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Tag: crop

Ongoing drought in Brazil, Argentina threatens crucial crop harvests

Ongoing drought in Brazil, Argentina threatens crucial crop harvests

World
An unusually dry end to the summer season across parts of South America is expected to impact the harvests of important crops in the region. "Rainfall averaged below normal across much of southern Brazil, including [the states of] Rio Grande Do Sul, Santa Catarina, for the month of March, and in many instances the entire summer season," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls. Some major cities in these states include Porto Alegre, Santa Maria and Florianopolis, although even Curitiba in Parana had a drier-than-normal month of March. All of the above cities saw 35 percent or less of their normal rainfall for the month, which has proven significant for growing areas of corn and soybeans. Although not as extreme, parts of northern Argentina, which are also contributing produ...
Crop diversity can help fight climate change, new study shows

Crop diversity can help fight climate change, new study shows

Science
March 19 (UPI) -- Single-crop farms, which dominate today's agriculture industry, fail to provide the buffer against climate change that crop diversity does, a new Stanford study shows. For the study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, Stanford researchers looked at how farming practices impacted bird biodiversity in Costa Rica. "Farms that are good for birds are also good for other species," Jeffrey Smith, a biology graduate student and co-author of the study, said in a statement. "We can use birds as natural guides to help us design better agriculture systems." Overall, diversified farms provided a more stable and secure habitat for birds and a better climate change buffer than single-crop farms, the research team found. "The tropics are expected to suffer even more intensely i...
Trans-Eurasian crop exchange began 3,000 years earlier than thought

Trans-Eurasian crop exchange began 3,000 years earlier than thought

Science
Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Agricultural crops were traded between European and Asian populations 3,000 years earlier than thought, a scientific study published this week indicates. A cave excavation by Chinese scientists in the eastern Altai Mountains -- which border China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia -- yielded cereal grains radiocarbon-dated to be 5,200 years old. The samples are the oldest recorded examples of wheat and barley farming ever recorded in that area of Asia, and move the dates for early farming in the region backward by at least 1,000 years. The discovery also reinforces the theory that Asian and European cross-development of agriculture and technology long predates the Silk Road network of trade routes, which began around the 2nd century. The early exchanges played a crucial ro...
Closing coal plants saves lives, boosts crop yields

Closing coal plants saves lives, boosts crop yields

Science
Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Over the last two decades, dozens of coal plants in the United States have shuttered. The earliest victims were mostly the smallest, oldest plants, but more recently, even some of the country's largest coal plants have closed their doors. New research suggests the reductions in coal pollution are not only helping save American lives, but also boosting crop yields. According to a new study, as coal plants closed -- many of them, replaced by natural gas plants -- local pollution levels have dropped. In addition to emitting CO2, coal plants also produce more particulate matter and ozone, two main components of smog, one of the most common forms of air pollution. Studies have linked smog with a variety of human ailments, including lung disease, heart disease, stroke and cance...
Temperature maps from space would ‘boost crop production’

Temperature maps from space would ‘boost crop production’

Science
Scientists are developing a satellite system to record the temperatures of individual fields of crops.The aim is to survey land temperatures to estimate water-use by plants and to show how they transfer that water back to the atmosphere. The data will also help monitor how much water is available to grow crops and how they are responding to drought.The new system is being considered for inclusion in the EU's Earth observation programme, Copernicus.It would be an addition to the Union's ever-growing number of satellites it calls the Sentinels.A team led by Prof Martin Wooster at King's College London, UK, is exploring options for the next phase of the EU and European Space Agency-coordinated programme. "The main science goal is t...