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Ag Science

Pesticide Overuse in Wheat Examined

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Early Wheat

There are many pervasive myths about agriculture, but some of the most dangerous to society are those that impact the world’s three most important crops, including wheat.

Precisely because they are myths there is often little motivation by professionals to do costly science to clear up perceptions versus realities. But when those perceptions merge with well-intentioned but poorly informed public sentiments, they can lead governments to consider banning critical agricultural (or medical) tools.

These new forces –created largely by social media– make the science of re-proving old facts increasingly important.

For this reason, the University of Queensland recently conducted a study around one of the myths most likely to affect grain farmers. Published in the highly respected journal, Nature Plants, the study investigated the modern belief and assertion that intensive modern breeding has weakened wheat strains and lead to increased use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

In reality, the study demonstrated that modern cultivars are much more environmentally efficient. Lead author Dr. Voss-Fels noted, “Quite a few people will be taken aback by just how tough modern wheat varieties proved to be, even in harsh growing conditions, such as drought, and using less chemical inputs.”

A previous Todayville piece referred to the important agricultural contributions of the namesake of Justus Liebig University, which lead seven other German Universities along with the University of Queensland in the study of the 200 wheat varieties that have provided the highest yields over the last 50 years of farming in Europe.

On top of lower inputs being required, machine learning also demonstrated that there is currently enough diversity in modern wheat to see close to a 25% rise in productivity going forward.

Despite the popularity of the myths of wheat fields being doused in chemicals, science demonstrates that the exact opposite is in fact true.

Ag News

The Sound of Genetic Engineering

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What does music have to do with Genetic Engineering? Dr. Dennis Gonsalves helps explain why framing the human side of Genetically Modified food is so important, and how music can help accomplish that.

This video was produced independently by Know Ideas Media

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Ag Science

Stuff You Didn’t Know About Wheat

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Wheat has been around for a LONG time. It’s lived some life. So, there is probably a lot of stuff you’ve just never heard about. Here are some facts about wheat that range from pretty darn conventional, to delightfully esoteric. Enjoy!

This video was produced independently by Know Ideas Media

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july, 2019

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