Adding new buzz to controversial insecticide

A team of US chemists has found a way to make the insecticide imidacloprid more effective, claiming that its faster-acting forms of the insecticide could be used in smaller amounts, reducing its exposure to the environment. Imidacloprid is widely used around the world to control insect populations on crops, as well as reduce disease-carrying mosquitoes … Continue reading Adding new buzz to controversial insecticide

A new measurement for sustainable agriculture

If we want a sustainable future, agriculture must feature in the equation. The problem is that suitable agriculture is very difficult to define with numbers – especially when it might require economic trade-offs. Now, an international team of researchers has come up with a quantitative Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM) highlighting priority areas for different countries … Continue reading A new measurement for sustainable agriculture

How can we achieve food security in the Asia-Pacific region?

Australia, the land girt by sea, may seem like an isolated country, but is part of a wider ecosystem in the Asian-Pacific – especially when it comes to food. As food scarcity threatens, is food security a problem we need to tackle as a collective? What is Australia’s role in achieving food security in the … Continue reading How can we achieve food security in the Asia-Pacific region?

What stops small farms from cashing in on carbon?

“We can automate nearly everything, can’t we? We can fly to the moon, but we can’t make one of these methods simple enough for a farmer on their own to undertake.” Director of Carbon Farmers of Australia Louisa Kiely says there’s never been a better time to sell carbon offsets. Australian carbon credit units have … Continue reading What stops small farms from cashing in on carbon?

The new solution to climate change: Potty-training cows

Cows contribute massively to global emissions because of the greenhouse gases they produce. We’re not talking hot air here. It’s the No. 1s and No. 2s. Which is why potty training can be part of the solution. On farms, cows graze freely, but that also means they poo and pee freely too. Unfortunately, this waste … Continue reading The new solution to climate change: Potty-training cows

Meet the meat: what are the planet’s prime carbon cuts?

The longed-for first bite of a delicious, expensive rib-eye is en route to your mouth when your teenager says: “You know you’re destroying the planet with that steak, you ecoterrorist.” It’s hard to argue with a teenager at the best of times, but defending this particular dinner is even more difficult: counting the carbon cost … Continue reading Meet the meat: what are the planet’s prime carbon cuts?

Game-changing GM crop finally planted in Nigeria

Last July, for the first time, subsistence farmers in Nigeria planted a new variety of genetically modified (GM) cowpea – and it promises to bolster food security for over 200 million Nigerians. This follows a decision made in December 2019, when Nigeria became the first country in the world to approve the commercialisation of GM … Continue reading Game-changing GM crop finally planted in Nigeria

Investing in water quality could fatten up cattle

Renovating dams and improving water quality could fatten up cattle and reap long-term financial rewards, according to a new study by the Australian National University (ANU). Aussie researchers, led by Leo Dobes, conducted a cost-benefit analysis of renovating dams to promote weight gain for cattle on farms in south-eastern Australia. They found that there was … Continue reading Investing in water quality could fatten up cattle

Will cyanobacteria fertiliser save our soil?

As global soil health dwindles, Aussie researchers are investigating the production of a sustainable organic nitrogen fertiliser, using something that lives in ponds – cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria is also known as blue-green algae, and it is a type of water-dwelling bacteria that takes nitrogen out of the air and converts it into nitrates and ammonia. Nitrogen … Continue reading Will cyanobacteria fertiliser save our soil?

The next-generation biology revolution promises new products and industries

At the start of my career, I didn’t set out to work in the field of synthetic biology. It didn’t exist. But the pace of change with technology has opened many doors. Synthetic biology is one of the most exciting fields today. It’s about recoding DNA to design useful things in biological systems, and it … Continue reading The next-generation biology revolution promises new products and industries

CSIRO makes satellite eye in the sky available for Aussie Earth observation

Australian researchers in industries such as agriculture and disaster management can, from today, apply to direct the Earth observation satellite NovaSAR-1, which is part-managed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. This will be the first time Australia has managed its own source of Earth observational data. NovaSAR-1 was developed in the UK and uses S-band … Continue reading CSIRO makes satellite eye in the sky available for Aussie Earth observation