Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | January 1, 2009

Organic Weed Control: Scientists Serve Up Mustard Meal To Tame Weeds

Sinalbin, the same compound that gives white mustard its pungent flavor, could also prove useful in fighting weeds. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) studies suggest sinalbin and other compounds released into soil by applications of white mustard seed meals can kill or suppress certain weedy grasses and annual broadleaf weeds.

Agronomist Rick Boydston, with the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Unit in Prosser, Wash., is conducting the studies with plant physiologist Steven Vaughn, at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill. They evaluated the effects of three mustard seed application rates: half a ton, one ton and two tons per acre. Of the three, the one-ton and two-ton rates worked best in peppermint, reducing barnyard grass, green foxtail, common lambsquarters, henbit and redroot pigweed populations by 90 percent several weeks after application.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | January 1, 2009

Human Hair Combined With Compost Is Good Fertilizer For Plants

Agricultural crop production relies on composted waste materials and byproducts, such as animal manure, municipal solid waste composts, and sewage sludge, as a necessary nutrient source. Studies have shown that human hair, a readily available waste generated from barbershops and hair salons, combined with additional compost, is an additional nutrient source for crops.

Although human hair has become commercially available to crop producers in the past couple years, it has not been proven to be an exclusive source of nutrients in greenhouse container production.

Vlatcho D. Zheljazkov, Juan L. Silva, Mandar Patel, Jelena Stojanovic, Youkai. Lu, Taejo Kim, and Thomas Horgan of Mississippi State University recently published a research study in HortTechnology designed to determine whether commercially available noncomposted hair waste cubes would support plant growth in horticulture crops as a sole source of nutrients.

The study compared the productivity of four crops: lettuce, wormwood, yellow poppy, and feverfew, grown in commercial growth medium using untreated control, noncomposted hair cubes at differing weights, a controlled-release fertilizer and a water-soluble fertilizer. Results showed that, with the addition of hair waste cubes, yields increased relative to the untreated control but were lower than yields in the inorganic treatments, suggesting that hair waste should not be used as a single source for fast-growing plants such as lettuce.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | December 25, 2008

Let us bend the rules, say organic farmers

Organic farmers have asked the Government for permission to take a “holiday” from strict organic standards in an attempt to survive the recession.

The drastic move by organisations including the Soil Association follows a dip in sales of organic produce and fears for the future of Britain’s 5,000 organic farmers.

Sales of organic food slumped 10 per cent in the 12 weeks up to the end of November, according to the latest figures from the consumer researchers TNS. Overall food sales over the same period were up 6 per cent.

Organic certification bodies, including the Soil Association, the country’s biggest campaigner for organic food and farming, asked Hilary Benn, the Rural Affairs Secretary, last week for approval to relax the rules for an indefinite period. They want their members to be able to use conventional animal feed instead of organic food concentrate, which costs double. Average organic feed prices are £320 a tonne compared with £160 a tonne for conventional feed.

The plan, which is also supported by Organic Farmers & Growers and the Organic Food Federation, would still oblige farmers to follow other organic tenets such as low stocking densities, minimum use of antibiotic treatments on animals and no use of fertilisers. But they would give up the right to label their food “organic”. The aim is to give farmers some leeway during the harsh economic climate.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | December 19, 2008

Organic Farming May Be the Best Route to Global Food Security

Methods proven worldwide can sustain farmer profits, address hunger and malnutrition and restore ecological health
To best feed the world, a growing number of researchers, development experts, farming groups and environmentalists are calling for new emphasis on sustainable agricultural practices that make a sharp break from current policies.
A newly released Rodale Institute research paper reviewing replicated research shows that the latest scientific approaches in organic agriculture offer affordable, immediately usable and universally accessible ways to improve yields and access to nutritional food in developing countries. “The Organic Green Revolution” paper is available online.
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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | December 16, 2008

GMO Contamination in Mexico’s Cradle of Corn

Raise the alarm for Mexican corn’s biosecurity: a molecular study conducted by Mexican, American and Dutch researchers demonstrates the presence of genes from genetically modified organisms (GMO) among the varieties of traditional corn cultivated in the remote regions of Oaxaca State in the southern part of the country, even though the Mexican government has always maintained a moratorium on the use of transgenic seed.

The results of this study incite the experts to demand much more restrictive protective measures. “Old time” agriculture as practiced in Mexico – where wind-blown pollination of corn is the norm and where peasants are in the habit of exchanging their seed – seems to aggravate the risk of rapid GMO contamination.

An article that details their conclusions should be published in the next edition of the review, “Molecular Ecology.” It was written by Elena Alvarez-Buylla of the Institute for Ecology of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), with the collaboration of a dozen other scientists.

Their work could relaunch the controversy that was unleashed in 2001 by a highly controversial article in the magazine, “Nature,” the authors of which, biologists David Quist and Ignacio Chapela from the University of California at Berkeley, revealed that criollos (traditional) corn from the Oaxaca region – one of the cradles of that cereal – were contaminated by Roundup Ready (RR) and Bt genes, property of the American company Monsanto.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | December 9, 2008

GM Restrictions: A Boon to the European Livestock Sector?

Several feed organisations in the EU have warned of the dangers posed by a lack of soya supplies, writes Rachel Ralte reporting for ThePoultrySite.

A report prepared for a consortium of trade associations including FEFAC, COCERAL and UECBV by Cardy-Brown & Co Ltd. entitled Impacts of EU Unauthorised GM’s on the feed & livestock sectors focuses primarily on one of the most critical issues facing today’s European livestock and feed sectors – the consequences of a loss of soybeans and soybean meal (SBM) due to the release of the much anticipated herbicide-tolerant genetically modified (GM) seed technology marketed under the brand name, RoundUp Ready 2 Yield (RR2Y).

It is a well-known fact that the new technology bears significance to all sectors, including dairy, egg production and aquaculture. However, the gravity of the situation can be best illustrated by taking into account the pig and poultry industries.

The EU is the largest importer of soybean meal. However, when China stepped into the limelight as the world’s most significant importer of whole beans and soybean oil, Europe’s market leverage has dwindled to a certain degree. Read More…

The growing markets for organic products in the US and Europe hold good prospects for Indian farmers and exporters.
The global organic market reached a size of $40 billion in 2007 and is growing by about $5 billion a year. It has the potential to rise to 600 billion euro. The US emerged as the largest consumer of organic products in 2007 at $21.2 billion, including $20 billion alone for organic food and drinks. According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), sales of organic products in the US are likely to increase to $25 billion in 2008. The area under organic farming is gradually increasing as the Farm Bill 2008 assures to increase the spending on the organic sector from $20 million to $112 million. Germany emerged as the second largest market for organic products in 2007 at 5.3 billion euro.
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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | November 29, 2008

My Fear

My dear friend Color Pencil invites me to write about my fear.

I am a man in my late 20s. I have great position for continue my study; a wide circle of friends and life is good. My main fear is about environment. All these issue is my fear and I just thinking to resolve these problems. The major environment and resource issues—population growth; climate change; agriculture and food supply; our fisheries, forests, and fossil fuels; water and air quality;  solar and nuclear power, deforestation, air pollution, land degradation,  clean water, adequate energy supplies, public health, global warming, genetically modified foods, automobile and transportation technologies, and the highly significant Endangered Species. I hope I can resolve even small part of these problems.

Recently I start a neat friendship with one kind girl.  I don’t know what will happen to this relationship. I am very worry about this relationship. Maybe I can not satisfy her and she becomes sad or reverse. i would like to make happy everyone around me.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”

Thank you my dear friend  Medad Rangi for invitation

I wound like to invite my dear friend Persianeyes, Khomkhane Vahdat, and ma va mochul to write about their fear.

Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | November 18, 2008

Pesticides more dangerous than thought

U.S. scientists studying 10 of the world’s most popular approved pesticides say, when combined, the chemicals caused 99 percent mortality in tadpoles.

University of Pittsburgh researchers said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved pesticides, when mixed together, can decimate amphibian populations even if the concentration of the individual chemicals is within limits considered safe.

Such “cocktails of contaminants” are frequently detected in nature, the scientists said, noting their findings offer the first illustration of how a large mixture of pesticides can adversely impact the environment.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | November 18, 2008

Learning and Living Organic Lifestyle with WWOOF

(NaturalNews) Since 1971, people are living and learning sustainable lifestyles thanks in part to WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Founded by Sue Croppard, WWOOF was created with the goal of giving city dwellers a weekend opportunity to re-connect with nature and support organic agriculture.

WWOOF organizations publish listings of organic farms and gardens that host volunteers – providing food, housing, and in-field education in exchange for help from the volunteers. WWOOF has now become an international movement across six continents and more than fifty countries with programs ranging from weekends to seasonal and year-long stays.

Sue Croppard, founder of WWOOF, intends that through WWOOF people can get first hand experience of organic farming, give assistance to organic farmers, get into the countryside, strengthen the organic movement, form links between city and rural dwellers, and “facilitate inter-cultural understanding between people of different nationalities”.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | November 8, 2008

Chicken genome plucked bare by inbreeding

Modern livestock is bred to be super-productive. But at what cost? In the first genetic assessment of an entire agricultural product, scientists have found that, on average, super-productive modern chickens have lost more than half the genes present in ancestral populations. Some have lost 90%.

This means most of the world’s chickens lack characteristics that evolved when they lived in the wild, and may be useful again to help them face stress and disease as livestock.481ea58883e62010_30pozitiva

Scientists want to breed DNA for traits such as disease resistance, or “animal well-being”, back into commercial birds without introducing undesirable traits at the same time.

Inbreeding is a concern with chickens, as the industry is dominated by a few big corporations that produce billions of birds from a handful of private breeding lines.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | October 23, 2008

Organic farming ‘could feed Africa’

Organic farming offers Africa the best chance of breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition it has been locked in for decades, according to a major study from the United Nations to be presented today.

New evidence suggests that organic practices – derided by some as a Western lifestyle fad – are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa’s small farmers who remain among the poorest people on earth. The head of the UN’s Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said the report “indicates that the potential contribution of organic farming to feeding the world maybe far higher than many had supposed.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | October 14, 2008

Biological Alternatives To Chemical Pesticides

With increasing consumer pressure on both farmers and supermarkets to minimise the use of chemical pesticides in fruit and vegetables, a new study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), looks at why there is currently little use of biological alternatives in the UK. Biological products, known as biopesticides, can play a significant role in a more sustainable food chain as chemical pesticides are withdrawn due to resistance problems or because they are no longer commercially viable, according to the research. Chemicals also endanger workers’ health and can contaminate groundwater.

“It is evident that biopesticides have a potentially important contribution to make to a competitive agriculture industry,” said lead researcher, Professor Wyn Grant, at the University of Warwick. “They have the potential to increase consumer confidence in fruit and vegetables whilst moving away from a polarised and over-simplified choice between conventional and organic modes of production.”

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | October 5, 2008

African Farmers urged to use ‘natural’ fertilizers

Amid pressing complaints that fertilizer prices are “no longer affordable” to ordinary farmers, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) has urged farmers in Central Luzon to use natural compost instead of inorganic commercial fertilizers.

“To escape the price of commercial fertilizers, our farmers must start using indigenous materials to save on costs on fertilizer,” said FPA regional officer Antonio Cruz.

The official’s declaration came after the Pampanga Agricultural and Fisheries Council and other farmer organizations in the region aired their complaints about the sudden surge in the prices of fertilizer, which they claimed is “overpriced”.

But Cruz said there is no overpricing in the current price of fertilizer. “The price of fertilizer is directly dependent on crude oil prices in the world market. Raise the prices of oil if there is an additional price on fertilizer,” he said.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | October 4, 2008

Green Coffee-growing Practices Buffer Climate-change Impacts

Chalk up another environmental benefit for shade-grown Latin American coffee: University of Michigan researchers say the technique will provide a buffer against the ravages of climate change in the coming decades.
Chalk up another environmental benefit for shade-grown Latin American coffee: University of Michigan researchers say the technique will provide a buffer against the ravages of climate change in the coming decades.
Over the last three decades, many Latin American coffee farmers have abandoned traditional shade-growing techniques, in which the plants are grown beneath a diverse canopy of trees. In an effort to increase production, much of the acreage has been converted to “sun coffee,” which involves thinning or removing the canopy.

Shade-grown farms boost biodiversity by providing a haven for birds and other animals. They also require far less synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides than sun-coffee plantations.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | September 29, 2008

Organic agriculture and food security study launched

Organic agriculture can be good for food security in Africa, says a study launched in Geneva today by a joint UNCTAD-UNEP task force.
Entitled “Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”, the study demonstrates that organic agriculture can be equal or better for food security than most conventional systems and is more likely to be sustainable in the longer term, as it builds up levels of natural, human, social, financial and physical capital in farming communities. It also favours the use of low carbon footprint production methods and local resources.

The UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF) is one of two international partnerships through which UNCTAD conducts its work on organic agriculture as a trade and sustainable development opportunity for developing countries. The other partnership is the UNCTAD-FAO-IFOAM International Task Force on Harmonization and Equivalence in Organic Agriculture (ITF).
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From new mums worried about their children’s health to foodies seeking the very finest products, consumers have embraced organic food with more enthusiasm than most environmental trends.

But now the British love affair with organics has stalled in the face of rising prices and tightening budgets as mortgage and fuel bills bite and fears rise over job losses.

The market research company TNS keeps track of the shopping habits of 25,000 households and has watched organic sales rise tenfold in the last 10 years to more than £1.3bn a year, though this still accounts for only a few percent of total food and drink sales. But the latest figures show the biggest and most consistent fall in organic food and drink sales for a decade – by nearly a fifth from their all-time peak in February.

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Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | August 28, 2008

A New Biopesticide For The Organic Food Boom

With the boom in consumption of organic foods creating a pressing need for natural insecticides and herbicides that can be used on crops certified as “organic,” biopesticide pioneer Pam G. Marrone, Ph.D., is reporting development of a new “green” pesticide obtained from an extract of the giant knotweed in a report scheduled for presentation here today at the 236th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

That 12-foot-high Goliath, named for the jointed swollen nodes on its stem, invaded the U.S. from Japan years ago and grows along the East Coast and other areas. “The product is safe to humans, animals, and the environment,” says Marrone, founder and CEO of Marrone Organic Innovations Inc., in Davis, Calif.

The new biopesticide has active compounds that alert plant defenses to combat a range of diseases, including powdery mildew, gray mold and bacterial blight that affect fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals. The product will be available this October for conventional growers, according to Marja Koivunen, Ph.D., director of research and development for Marrone Organic Innovations. A new formulation has also been developed for organic farmers and will be available in 2009.
In one of the presentations by Marrone Organic Innovations (MOI), the progress toward discovery of an “organic Roundup” — the Holy Grail of biopesticide research — an environmentally friendly and natural version of the world’s most widely used herbicide was discussed.
Biopesticides are derived from plants, microbes, or other natural materials and are proven to be safer for humans and the environment. The active ingredient in one of the company’s first products, GreenMatch EX, came from lemongrass oil, and microorganisms from around the world are studied in the search for novel and effective natural pesticides. Currently, the MOI R&D team is working on an organic rice herbicide based on an extract from a marine microorganism, as well as on insecticides and nematocides to kill insect pests and soil-inhabiting, parasitic roundworms that affect plants and animals.

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The Prince of Wales was accused of launching an ignorant rant about genetically modified crops last night after claiming that the technology would cause “the biggest environmental disaster of all time” and lead to “no food in the future”.

The Prince’s comments, in which he blamed GM food and modern agriculture for environmental and social problems such as climate change and food shortages, were described by leading scientists as “shockingly ill-informed”.

Plant researchers said that he had completely misunderstood the benefits and risks of GM crops, which the Prince labelled a “gigantic experiment with nature and the whole of humanity that has gone seriously wrong”. They also ridiculed his contention that agricultural biotechnology was contributing to major challenges such as global warming.

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Scientists in Sweden are cautioning about the need for further research as more countries embrace a popular method for preventing pesticide spills. Their review of current scientific knowledge on the so-called “biobed” is to be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
In the study, Maria Del Pilar Castillo and colleagues point out that pesticide spills are common when farmers transfer highly concentrated liquid preparations into spray tanks where the pesticide is diluted with water. Even if a small, few-inch wide puddle of this concentrate spilled under the tank, the nearby environment could be exposed to up to one hundred thousand times the normal pesticide dose. “The risk of contamination is obvious,” says Castillo.

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