Soil health is the key to good spinach plants

in Morning Ag Clips

Soils keep plants healthy by providing plants with water, helpful minerals, and microbes, among other benefits. But what if the soil also contains toxic elements?

In areas like Salinas Valley, California, the soils are naturally rich in the element cadmium. Leafy vegetables grown in these soils can take up the cadmium and become harmful to humans. What to do? The solution goes back to the soil. Adrian Paul, a former researcher now working in the Sustainable Mineral Institute in Brisbane, Australia, is working to find which soil additives work best. Continue reading

Climate’s Effects on Flowers Critical for Bumble Bees

by Mick Kulikowski, NC State University

In a study that shows the importance of climate change on critical pollinators, North Carolina State University researchers found that earlier and longer flowering seasons can have poor effects on the bumble bees that rely on these flowers to live and thrive.

“We wanted to understand how climate change is affecting bee populations – specifically three species of bumble bees that live at higher altitudes and are important pollinators,” said Rebecca Irwin, an NC State professor of applied ecology and co-principal investigator on the study, which is published in the journal Ecology Letters. “We asked whether variation in snowmelt timing and summer precipitation directly affected bumble bee colonies and their survival, or if the snowmelt and precipitation effects on flowers were more important. It turns out that the effects on flowers played a more critical role in affecting bee populations.” Continue reading

Junior Entomologist position available at IR-4 HQ

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is seeking a Research Analyst to provide support to the IR-4 Project. This position oversees certain national activities for the IR-4 Project to gain regulatory approval of crop protection technology on fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and other specialty food crops. Specifically, the Research Analyst reviews and assembles research data, writes and submits regulatory packages suitable for submission to worldwide regulatory agencies and assists registrants with product labeling. Continue reading