The strawberry meets a new foe

First recorded in Egypt in the 1980s, Macrophomina crown and root rot of strawberry has increasingly challenged Californian farmers within the past decade, and even more recently in other strawberry-producing regions of the world. Strawberry growers in Chile, Argentina, and Spain have not escaped this outbreak either, but Dr. Marlene Rosales of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile is working to find genetic resistance to the disease. Continue reading…

Valentine’s Day roses: where did yours come from?

An Ecuadorian rose

For the past two years, Valentine’s Day (February 14) fell on a weekend. This year, floriculturists across Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia, are glad it’s on a Tuesday, since a weekday—as opposed to a weekend—holiday tends to boost flower sales. Continue reading…

Less nitrogen, more barley

Conservation agriculture aims to preserve natural resources—soil, water, air—while still making a living with a farm. Farmers love any technology that betters the long-term sustainability of their operation, especially if it also increases their efficiency and income. Now, a group of Mexican agricultural researchers have placed another flagstone in the pathway to efficiency and sustainability, this time using two little bacteria with big names. Continue reading…

Colombian exports: avocados, pineapples, and beef

Of all the nations in South America, Colombia, at the top of the continent and bounded by both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, is in the best geographic position to ship to the U.S.—that’s one of the many reasons why it’s a huge cocaine supplier for North America. Cocaine aside, recent changes in Colombian government spending and shifts in market demands have brightened expectations among some of Colombia’s more scrupulous farmers. Continue reading…