USDA scientist: Cover crops check soil degradation—major threat to global food security

soil
Credit: Nature Institute

Visit the typical almond farm in California and you’ll see rows of trees stretching to the horizon, forming an arching canopy over a corridor of dry, bare dirt. A harvester with a giant mechanical arm moves from tree to tree, vigorously shaking each trunk, forcing the nuts to drop to the dirt below, like confetti on a New Year’s Eve celebration. The farmers then rake and dry them on the bare orchard floor.

But those bare floors aren’t natural, and some farmers have decided that clearing vegetation around the trees to create them is a mistake.

While it makes collecting the almonds more difficult, planting cover crops between the trees can improve soil health. Many farming practices lead to soil degradation, which was responsible for the fall of civilizations that could not agronomically support their populations: archaeologists have associated processes like soil erosion with the rise and fall of civilizations in the Middle East, Greece, Rome and Mesoamerica, for example.

Related article:  Viewpoint: 'GMO,' 'non-GMO,' 'Organic'—let's put an end to meaningless food labels

So, promoting soil health is critical to maintain the soil—one of our most precious resources. Cover crops support an abundance of soil microbes that nourish plants and promote sustainable, productive agricultural lands.

Read full, original article: Mother Earth Doesn’t Like to Be Naked

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend