Articles on Agriculture

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Genetically modified crops have allowed pesticide spraying to be reduced by almost half a million kilograms in the last 15 years. Eric Constantineau

Genetically modified crops shrink farming’s pesticide footprint

Recent news reports claim one in ten Australians believe the world will end on December 21, 2012, based largely on internet gossip about the meaning of ancient stone carvings from the Mayans of Central…
Farmers are adept at using science to deal with all kinds of challenges, but they have their doubts about climate change. Jeff Pang

Can Australian farmers take on the challenge of climate change?

Farmers are some of the most innovative Australians - since 1970 they have lost 7.5% of arable land, but they’ve found ways to increase production by 220%. They’re also some of the most conservative, expressed…
Irrigation infrastructure, buy-backs, environmental flows, agricultural communities: lobbyists will say anything to win the Murray-Darling war of lies. Eco Images Pty Ltd

Lies, dam lies and water plans: the MDB Plan and the states

When the water planning process for the Murray-Darling Basin first commenced, an experienced colleague of mine noted that this was shaping up to be a lying contest between farmers and environmentalists…
Decades of work to reduce rhino poaching has achieved little. Farming rhino is one alternative, but what happens to a species when it’s domesticated? Jim Epler

Farming endangered species to save them - extinction by another means?

When we talk of conserving an animal species what do we actually mean? We are likely to have in mind a vision of a rhinoceros (or any other species, for that matter) being given the opportunity to pursue…
Consumers have an image of animal agriculture which is getting further and further from the truth. State Records NSW

Latest animal export exposé reminds us to steer clear of factory farming

It has once again been left to an advocacy group, Animals Australia, to highlight the cruel practices involved in cattle slaughter in Indonesia. Under new rules put in place by the Federal Department of…
Guardian animals, a environmentally friendly and adorable way to protect our livestock. Karen Rodgers

Watching over livestock: our guardian animals

True innovation is rare in agriculture. Most farmers are willing to improve the way they work, but these improvements are typically small adjustments to established practice, rather than fundamental changes…
Biodiversity and farming are uneasy bedfellows: a lonely tree in a canola field in Western Australia. Flickr/augustusoz

Biodiversity and farming: finding ways to co-exist

Biodiversity and farming go head to head in two R&D projects that I have a hand in. The struggles to both feed the swelling ranks of humanity and save our continent’s natural splendour are so often…
Our thinly spread efforts to prop up the environment are failing and it is time for tough decisions about what we can realistically preserve. Flickr/rexboggs5

Farms versus nature: how do we decide what to protect?

Australian farmers take pride in their efficient and productive farming systems, competing in the global economy and without many of the large subsidies given to their counterparts in Europe and North…
Working with farmers, Australian researchers have come up with technology and methods to make farming kinder to the environment. Chesapeake Bay Program

From dust bowls to food bowls: Australia’s conservation farming revolution

The misconception of Australian agriculture being inefficient and unsustainable is deeply concerning for me. Images of dusty ploughed fields and dying sheep and trees are misleading. On the contrary, if…
Chocolate supply can’t keep up with demand and smallholder farmers and the environment are losing out. Nestle

Bitter-sweet Easter: how our demand is melting sustainable cocoa farming

Chocolate – from the humble confectionery bar to single-origin gourmet dark chocolate - is enjoyed by most Australians as a readily available treat. However, chocolate manufacturers are worried that cocoa…
The carpet of sludge and debris left by 2011’s tsunami wreaked havoc on paddyfields. AAP

Swamped with saltwater: what a tsunami does to rice farmers

Japan’s tsunami of March 11 2011 brought a wall of water laden with debris up to 5 kilometres inland from the sea. After the surge receded, the surrounding farming area was left covered in debris and a…

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