Everybody’s a comedian

by Luigi Guarino on February 18, 2017


All things tropical forages

by Luigi Guarino on February 14, 2017

Great article on improved tropical pastures by Dan Charles on NPR’s The Salt yesterday. Here’s the money quote:

According to Michael Peters, who leads CIAT’s research on tropical grazing, pastures made up of these grasses can support three times more cattle, compared to typical tropical pastures today. The animals also gain weight twice as quickly. It translates into a six-fold increase in production per acre, and a dramatic cut in greenhouse emissions.

“These grasses” are Brachiaria species, but of course there’s much more than just those in CIAT’s forages genebank. And then there’s ILRI’s forages genebank too. And a global strategy to rule them all. And a newsletter to subscribe to if you want to keep up to date.

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Mapping pests the old fashioned way

by Luigi Guarino on February 13, 2017

The collaborative project “Predicting climate change-induced vulnerability of African agricultural systems to major insect pests through advanced insect phenology modeling and decision aid development for adaptation planning” was led by CIP and implemented in collaboration with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). In the project, pest risk assessments under potential future climates were conducted for a number of important insect pests of agricultural and horticultural crops in Africa (i.e., potato, sweetpotato, vegetables, maize, cassava, and fruit). Results of these assessments are presented in the Pest Distribution and Risk Atlas for Africa (Pest Risk Atlas for Africa, for short).

And here it is, covering 3 potato pests, 5 for sweetpotato, 4 for vegetables and 5 for maize. For each pest, there’s a lot of information on detection and identification, biology, impact, and control, as well as a detailed geographic analysis of distribution and severity, now and in the future, at various scales.

Check out, for example, what’s going to happen to sweetpotato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) in Africa (there are also global and country maps, in this case).

This shows the absolute change in potential population growth between 2000 and 2050. Note the bad news for Central Kenya, which will be interest the mother-in-law, who rents out some bottomland for sweetpotato. And she’ll have plenty of Chinese company, by the looks of the global maps.

At least, I guess so. It’s difficult to be sure when all you have are maps in the form of images. I do hope they’ll be available on Google Earth in due course, for researchers (and indeed farmers) who want to drill down a bit.


Brainfood: Cotton domestication, Niche modelling, Finger millet double, Bird flu, Lake Chad millet, USDA Ethiopian sorghum, Phast phenotyping, Corchorus genomes

13 February 2017

Genome-wide divergence, haplotype distribution and population demographic histories for Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense as revealed by genome-anchored SNPs. Parallel domestication. Integrating species distribution modelling into decision-making to inform conservation actions. You need really nice maps. Establishing a core collection of finger millet (Eleusine coracana [L.] Gaertn.) ex situ holdings of the Ethiopian genebank. Particularly […]

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A wheat by any other name

9 February 2017

NPR have a piece out on that interspecific perennial “wheat” that we blogged about a couple of weeks ago. Nice picture of the thing itself, and of Colin Curwen-McAdams, who co-wrote the paper involved. No sign of the name xTritipyrum though, perhaps unsurprisingly.

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Fasola Niepodleglosci

9 February 2017

Couldn’t resist posting this beautiful bean, as seen on Twitter. @AgroBioDiverse @good Received some Polish Patriotic / Independence / Eagle Beans. Supposed to carry national symbol on each bean. pic.twitter.com/SYBbuDZGel — Alex Taylor (@airpotgardener) February 8, 2017 No sign of it on Genesys or Eurisco, but googling led to all the information one might wish […]

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Brainfood: Managing seeds, Botanical gardens, Potato genomics, Marketing Amazonian fruits, Camel diversity, Potato mineral diversity, Turkish cats, Göbekli Tepe, Kuznets curve

6 February 2017

SeedUSoon: A New Software Program to Improve Seed Stock Management and Plant Line Exchanges between Research Laboratories. Great name. Building a Global System for the conservation and use of all plant diversity. Botanical gardens learning from crop genebanks? Understanding potato with the help of genomics. Crop genebank learning from genomics. What are the socioeconomic implications […]

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Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity series

6 February 2017

An important announcement from Danny Hunter and Michael Halewood of Bioversity. Since publication of the first book back in 2010 the ‘Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity’ series has grown steadily. We continue to receive encouraging feedback and it is clear that for many in the agrobiodiversity community it is one of the ‘go to’ sources for […]

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CGRFA16 in full swing

1 February 2017

Ah, yes, the Commission on PGRFA is meeting in Rome, for the sixteenth time. Status of Multilaterlal System (MLS) of the International Treaty for access and sharing of #seed material #CGRFA16 #ITPGRFA @FAOKnowledge pic.twitter.com/jtwaY6QuSl — Francois Pythoud (@FrancoisPythoud) January 31, 2017 Correction: It’s of course the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food & Agriculture, not […]

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