Midnight In The Desert — agriculture

Problems for Bees as We’ve Wiped Out Their Favorite Plants

Posted by K R on

Problems for Bees as We’ve Wiped Out Their Favorite Plants

Bees are disappearing—that much is certain. What's unclear is why. Pathogens and pesticides have been posited as potential causes, as has the loss of bees' preferred floral resources. This last reason has intuitive appeal: wildflowers are disappearing because of agriculture, and bees rely on the pollen and nectar in flowers, so the loss of flowers should be causing the loss of bees. But a demonstration of this seemingly simple idea has been hard to come by. Different species of bees rely on different plants—the bee species that are disappearing have never been analyzed in terms of taste for the plants...

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The Blind Spot for Climate Research in Agriculture: Not All Climate Change is Bad

Posted by K R on

The Blind Spot for Climate Research in Agriculture: Not All Climate Change is Bad

When it comes to researching the impact of climate change on agriculture, I sometimes feel like I'm one of the few with the new mirrors that help me see in the blind spot. As part of my research, I use crop modeling software together with global climate models to see what the direct impact of climate change will be on crops. Typically, I divide the world into relatively small squares -- anywhere from 10 to 50 kilometers on edge -- and look at the impact inside each square. With squares numbering in the hundreds of thousands, we get a wide...

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The Arnold Schwarzenegger of Weeds Refuses to Die

Posted by K R on

The Arnold Schwarzenegger of Weeds Refuses to Die

WHEATFIELD, Ind. — The Terminator — that relentless, seemingly indestructible villain of the 1980s action movie — is back. And he is living amid the soybeans at Harper Brothers Farms. About 100 miles northwest of Indianapolis, amid 8,000 lush acres farmed by Dave Harper, his brother Mike and their sons, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of weeds refuses to die. Three growing seasons after surfacing in a single field, it is a daily presence in a quarter of the Harper spread and has a foothold in a third more. Its oval leaves and spindly seed heads blanket roadsides and jut above orderly...

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