Improving yields—globally

Planting a field research trial
Planting a field research trial

In the age of big data, size is beginning to matter less and less as some researchers now question what to do with it all. While, on one hand, genome sequences and increasingly detailed genetic maps of Earth’s major crop species have proliferated, the field research of those same crops around the world has remained fragmented at best.

And that’s a problem. It’s the genotype in the environment, after all, that is measured in bushels per acre. Continue reading “Improving yields—globally”

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…

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…