Articles on Crops

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Matt Damon as astronaut and exobotanist Mark Watney in the film The Martian grows crops on Mars. (20th Century Fox/Handout)

Space farms will feed astronauts and earthlings

We will one day grow food in conditions as extreme as Mars. Developing the controlled environments required will help not only space explorers but also support our own survival here on Earth.
Farmers are turning to natural bacteria to improve crops like cane – but they might be getting rubbish. Gavin Fordham/Flickr

Crop probiotics: how more science and less hype can help Australian farmers

Crop probiotics are natural, eco-friendly and could provide huge benefits for Australian farmers. But our loose regulations means genuine products are competing with snake oil.
Beefy problem: livestock emit methane, but the soils where they graze can be much more climate-friendly than cropland. AAP Image/Caroline Duncan Photography

Veggie is the most low-carbon diet, right? Well, it depends where you live

Eating meat means greenhouse emissions. But the emissions from growing crops may have been underestimated, meaning that a climate-friendly diet isn't as straightforward as simply going vegetarian.
Our modern crops need some help in the immunity department. Andy / Andrew Fogg

Can we ‘vaccinate’ plants to boost their immunity?

Modern agriculture is synonymous with monoculture. That lack of diversity is bad news for plants' natural immune defenses. Researchers are figuring out how to help plants fend off microbes – without pesticides.
Sydney’s farms on the urban fringe produce 10% of the city’s fresh vegetables. Alpha/Flickr

Urban sprawl is threatening Sydney’s foodbowl

Farms on Sydney's fringes supply 20% of the city's food. That could drop by more than half if urban sprawl isn't kept in check.
Cassava feeds 800 million people - keeping it disease-free is a must.

World hunger: what the Ebola virus can teach us about saving crops

Rapid genetic disease screening will be the key to saving East Africa's crops - just as it was during West Africa's ebola crisis.
The world’s driest areas are tipped to get even drier, with potentially worrying implications for soil productivity.

If the world’s soils keep drying out that’s bad news for microbes (and people)

The world's 'drylands' – already home to 38% of the world's people – are set to dry out even more. And that could harm the soil microbes that keep soils healthy and help crops to grow.

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