the importance of annual grasses: poaceae

The family Poaceae is considered the most economically important plant family due to the fact that they produce the world’s food staples including domesticated cereal crops such as maize [corn], wheat, rice, barley, and millet.  Poaceae plants also provide forage, building materials [bamboo, thatch, straw] and fuel [ethanol].   Agricultural grasses grown for their edible …

crop wild relatives – what they are and why we need them

Nature has been doing her thing for billions of years (maybe longer, I'm not sure).  It is only since about 200,000 years ago that humans entered the picture and it is only since about 15,000 years that humans have figured out agricultural production.  It is safe to say that nature may have a few tricks up …

question: what is the difference between intensive and extensive agricultural systems as they relate to livestock production?

Intensive livestock production systems are those that use higher amounts of labor and capital relative to the land area.  The best-known examples are animal feeding operations [AFOs] and concentrated animal feeding operations [CAFOs] which house large numbers of animals in small spaces. This method of production is an integral part of industrialized agriculture. AFOs and …

the purpose of plant breeding and selection and why it is a never-ending story

Agriculture is the foundation of society as we know it and without the domestication of plants, agriculture would not be possible. Plant domestication, which is the process of adapting wild plants for the use of humans, is arguably more successful when practiced in conjunction with crop breeding. Crop breeding occurs when closely or distantly related plant …

8 essential questions to ask before installing an irrigation system

Irrigation systems offer a variety of benefits.  They allow for the growth of a wider variety of crops.  They can be timed so that the hands-on portion of crop production is a little less cumbersome.  They protect crops from irregular and dry weather conditions.  They support leaching, which can remove harmful, crop-damaging salts within in …

the purpose of agricultural irrigation and the advantages and disadvantages of mainstream methods

Irrigation is defined as the artificial application of water to the soil through various systems of tubes, pumps, and sprayers.  Approximately 20% of the world’s agricultural land is irrigated, yet 40% of the world food supply comes from irrigated lands with 70% of the world’s freshwater reserves being used for irrigation purposes.   The main …

livestock – fact or prejudice?

Human and livestock have lived in ecological harmony for 10,000 years. True! It is only with the emergence of modern industrialized agriculture that livestock production has become ecologically harmful. Livestock competes with humans for food and water Technically speaking, pigs and chickens are in competition with humans because we can consume similar foodstuffs. However, in …