Category Archives: Farming

Saffron crocus, cooking and Iran on the radio

The spice Saffron is valued worldwide for its flavor, aroma and color. I’ve just broadcast an interview with Robin Young produced by Jill Ryan for NPR’s Here and Now program which let me tell you something about my enjoyment of … Continue reading

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Needs for understanding water and food security

“The earth’s land surface receives about 110,000 km3 of rainfall annually. More than half of this water is evapotranspired (transmitted from soils and through plants to the air); about 20,000 km3 falls on land that is cultivated in some form; … Continue reading

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From vegan to meat: human diet and trophic levels

Where are humans in the food chain? Bonhommeau et al. address this question in PNAS, apparently for the first time, in detail across all countries and over the period from 1961 that FAO statistics on food consumption and production are available … Continue reading

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Aquaculture, farming and development: an FAO consultation

Aquaculture has major prospects for providing high quality, palatable protein for people. Compared to other animals, the conversion of plants into animal protein in fish, shellfish and crustaceans is very efficient: the ratio of input food to output is less … Continue reading

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Fertilizer statistics: changes and usage

Fertilizer has been critical to crop yields from the start of agriculture, and the application of artificially fixed nitrogen has been fundamental to crop yield increases since the 1970s. However, finding definitive data about absolute amounts, costs, effects on yields … Continue reading

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Preserving genetic resources in agriculture: saffron and other EU projects

Maintaining and developing sustainable uses for agricultural genetic resources is essential for ensuring food security in a sustainable manner. In this report, the outcomes of 17 EU projects on genetic resources in animals, arable crops, forest trees and “fruits, vegetables and spices” … Continue reading

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Micronutrients in wheat grain

Following the earlier post on the fate of nutrients and micronutrients applied to crops as fertilizers, today’s paper is about micronutrients in grains, showing enhanced grain micronutrients in wheat-Aegilops longissima lines. Dr HS Dhaliwal from Himachal Pradesh, India, and colleagues including … Continue reading

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New views on fixed nitrogen and other nutrients in crops and the environment

Two works have been published which substantially update long-standing views about nitrogen and crops. The first, Bender et al. (2013), points out that the whole nutrient balance of maize, and applications of NPK (nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) and micronutrients may … Continue reading

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