The biofertilizer is a liquid organic fertilizer that can be produced within any rural property, with materials that are easy to find on the property itself, like animal manure and plant remains. Its preparation is very easy and relatively fast, being ideal to complement the fertilization with compost.
Crops often face harsh growing environments. Instead of using energy for growth, factors such as disease, extreme temperatures, and salty soils force plants to use it to respond to the resulting stress. This is known as the “growth-stress response trade-off”. Now, a group of researchers has discovered a previously unknown pathway that regulates whether a plant uses its resources for growth or stress tolerance. This discovery could enable the stress response to be controlled under agricultural conditions, increasing crop yields.
Farmers are becoming more involved than ever in the work of developing new, sustainable crop varieties, with a recent Alliance study showing how a “citizen science” approach for on-farm experimentation called tricot, generated agricultural data via local organizations in Central America.
Foxtail millet, Setaria italica, is one of the oldest and more resilient crops worldwide. Compared to rice and wheat, millet has excellent climate resilience and requires less fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation than mainstream cereals. In addition, millet-based foods are nutritionally superior to other cereal crops. With these properties, this crop is poised to play an important role to strengthen food security for the world’s growing population.
Flower and seed coat colour are important agronomic traits in chickpea that influence consumer preference. Based on their cultivation globally, this legume crop is categorized as “desi” or “kabuli”. Seeds of desi-type chickpeas are generally dark brown and angular with a rough seed coat, while the kabuli type produces light-brown coloured and rounded seeds with smooth seed coats. Recently, a group of scientists in India successfully developed a new genetically engineered selection marker-free stable chickpea line.
Genebanks play an important role in the long-term conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Out of 1,800 genebank collections worldwide, more than 600 are in Europe. This vast array of crop diversity can be exploited to make our crops more nutritious, productive and resilient to pests, diseases and environmental changes, only if we have information about it.
Pre-treatment with ethanol activates molecular processes that could allow crops to tolerate a warming world. A dose of ethanol, better known as common alcohol, can enable plants to withstand heat stress that might otherwise kill them, biologists have found. This could offer a low-cost way to make crops more resilient to the effects of climate change.
As days grow colder and shorter, and many of us find ourselves entrenched in winter, you wouldn’t be mistaken for feeling a noticeable reduction in activity around you. However, in certain crops such as winter wheat and barley, this cold season holds the key to flowering in the spring. This well-studied process, called vernalization, requires the plant to sense appropriate conditions – i.e., low temperature and short day-length – usually early in development to “overwinter” through several inhospitable months.
Innovative experiments using temperature-controlled field plots have helped to explain the link between early winter temperatures and yield in some of our most marketable arable crops.