Environmental toxins know no boundaries
After use on crops, pesticides have long moved freely between countries, carried by wind and water. This leakage is a major environmental problem. Attempts are being made to solve it by way of international cooperation. Jenny Kreuger is Director of the Center for Chemical Pesticides at SLU, which is part of SLU’s environmental monitoring and assessment. She has been a member of various working groups...
Oil plant and catch crop in one
In future field pepperweed, a biennial plant, may provide seed oil of a good technical quality. Undersown as an overwintering crop with barley, it helps to reduce nitrogen leaching in winter. At present autumn oilseed rape is the only profitable oil crop in Sweden, but it can only be grown in the south of the country, since it is not fully hardy. Field pepperweed ( Lepidium campestre ), however, a...
Legumes reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
Net emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide from legumes are less than those from N fertilised crops. That makes them extra suitable as feedstock for bioenergy production. In a review article Erik Steen Jensen, SLU, has collated the current knowledge on the capacity of legumes.
Farmland birds still declining
Many Swedish farmland birds are becoming increasingly rare. The curlew ( Numenius aquata ) has been particularly hard hit and is now very rare in southern Sweden. The reason for bird declines is that landscapes have become more regionally uniform with more monoculture – cereals are mostly grown on the plains; farmland in forest areas is mostly used for ley grass or fallows. Several species have declined...
Amino acids – a significant source of nitrogen
Plants absorb not only nitrate and ammonium. Amino acids, i.e. the small units that build proteins, may be an additional source of nitrogen. One source of amino acids is decaying organic matter in soil.
Fewer species with rising crop yields
While crop yields from European agriculture have doubled, biodiversity has declined. Half of all plant species and one-third of ground beetles and birds have disappeared from the agricultural landscape.
Better walking in farming regions
City dwellers need to get out into the countryside, even in flat country, where it is otherwise difficult to avoid asphalted highways.
Plant defences resemble those of animals
New knowledge about immune systems may ultimately increase our chances of curing plant and animal diseases. SLU geneticists have collated knowledge on development of the defence in plants and animals.
Plant cultivars fend off aphids
Plants engage in chemical warfare. When different species are grown together, they defend themselves against each other.