We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Work like this is always welcome to see. What we need to see is
genetic engineering that adapts desert plant strategies into our
grassland crops. A thick blade that holds water sounds like a deal
maker costing little if any extra plant energy. Such a plant can
grab moisture and hold it through a long dry spell. It may even make
the blade more palatable and useful to ruminants.
Selection will be helpful, but mostly marginally.
A genetic strategy could be applied across all grains and allow
cropping in lands far more arid and make irrigation far more
efficient. We know that desert plants can do this quite well.
Now if we could figure out how to produce a plant that happens to
absorb moisture out of the atmosphere late at night.
As one of the top 10
barley producers in the world, Canada faces a problem of adapting to
the 'new normal' of a warmer, drier climate. The 2012 growing season
was considered an average year on the Canadian Prairies, "but we
still had a summer water deficit, and it is that type of condition we
are trying to work with," said Scott Chang, a professor of soil
science in the University of Alberta's Department of Renewable
Resources in Edmonton, Canada.
Chang teamed with
fellow crop scientist Anthony Anyia of Alberta Innovates - Technology
Futures in 2006, following a severe drought in 2002 that dropped
average crop yield in Alberta by about half.
They are exploring the
genetic makeup of barley and how the grain crop-a Canadian staple
used for beer malt and animal feed-can be made more efficient in its
water use and more productive.
One of their latest
studies, published in the journal Theoretical and Applied Genetics,
explores how to increase yield in barley crops while using less
By studying the carbon
isotope compositions of barley plants and their relationship with
water-use efficiency, the researchers developed tools that plant
breeders can use to improve selection efficiency for more
The latest findings
stem from an ongoing collaboration that is ultimately aimed at
bringing farmers a more stable breed of the plant that has less
reliance on water and is less vulnerable to climate change.