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Articles on Farming

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Seamus Heaney up close with the local environment. Burns Library, Boston College

Seamus Heaney - the death of a naturalist

The sudden death on Friday of the Irish Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney has focused international minds and media on the power of poetry to affect our lives. This is especially true from an environmental…
You don’t need to be Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis to be happy about renweables. Ben Birchall/PA

Farmers could use land to create power as well as food

One of Britain’s largest independent cheese producers, Wyke Farms in Somerset, picked up a commendation in the BusinessGreen Leaders awards this month for its efforts to become completely energy self-sufficient…
Big farmers win big under agricultural policy, but change is in the air. Chris Ison/PA

After 50 years, Eurocrats still aren’t sure what the CAP is for

Reforming the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy has never been easy, and that’s hardly surprising. It’s well established that when interests are concentrated together, such as those of farmers…
Farmers stand to gain from digital technology such as sensors to track livestock movement. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mythoto

NBN a gamechanger for agribusiness: report

A national broadband network and mobile sensor technologies could transform the Australian agribusiness sector but farmers have lagged behind the rest of the country in adopting telecommunications technology…
Diminishing returns. Andrew Matthews/PA

Grafting timeless farming skills on to modern techniques

The Green Revolution that began in the 1940s brought modern methods to farming through selective breeding, machinery, and agrochemicals. But 60 years on a new, more sustainable approach is required. Published…
Britain’s best loved mammal, but no friend to cattle farmers. Ben Birchall/PA

Swapping science for shooting won’t save cattle or badgers

What do the pilot badger culls due to start this weekend in Gloucester and West Somerset hope to achieve? The official line is a 16% reduction of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle herds over the next…
New research suggests that seeds could now be formed without the biological process of fertilisation. CIMMYT

Seeds without sex – some racy findings on the cloning of plants

Sex without seed. Seed without sex. It’s been said that the greatest gift of science to humankind would be achieving those two goals. Effective contraceptives such as the pill have pretty much nailed the…
Christmas is a time of plenty - but to ensure we keep eating well in the future, it’s time to rethink the way we buy and produce food. Barbeque image from www.shutterstock.com

Eat, think, and be merry

As we gather to share a meal with friends and family this festive season, it is the ideal time to reflect on our relationship with food, including our dependence on those who grow it for us. Australians…
Studies find organic food is no better for you, but it is 30% less likely to be contaminated with pesticides. AAP

Organic food no better for you: study

Organic food may come with less pesticides but there’s little evidence it’s better for you, say researchers from Stanford University. In a study published today in Annals of Internal Medicine, Dena Bravata…
It would be smarter to use perennial native grasses for cereal grains instead of relying on a handful of farming-intensive annual crops. Shown here is Curly Mitchell grass (Astrebla lappacea), common in northern Australia. Ian Chivers

Splendour in the grass: new approaches to cereal production

Any investment manager will tell an investor to spread risks, to have a diverse portfolio, to engage with many sectors of the local economy, to invest in other parts of the globe, to hedge your bets, a…
Indigenous Australians systematically burnt grasslands to reduce fuel and stop fires raging out of control. Flickr/pietroizzo

The biggest estate on earth: how Aborigines made Australia

Aboriginal people worked hard to make plants and animals abundant, convenient and predictable. By distributing plants and associating them in mosaics, then using these to lure and locate animals, Aborigines…
Seventeen Australians have died this year from quad bike accidents, also known as all terrain vehicles or ATVs. Flickr/sharkbait

It’s time for quad bike manufacturers to rollover on safety

The tragic quad-biking death of an 11-year-old boy from northwest Victoria on Monday takes the 2011 death toll from all terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents to 17. The boy reportedly died after his ATV overturned…

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