Science Daily - Organic Foods

Organic animal farms benefit birds nesting in agricultural environments

Environmental subsidies for agriculture awarded by the European Union aim to improve biodiversity in agricultural environments. A recently completed Finnish study indicates that the proximity of organic animal farms increases bird numbers, and this has enabled environmental subsidies to positively impact bird populations.

Mathematician's breakthrough on non-toxic pest control

Breakthrough 'gene silencing' technique uses naturally occurring soil bacteria to kill specific crop-destroying pests without harming other insects or the environment. Non-toxic pest control could help feed growing global population, boost organic food production and drive bio-fuel production. Experiments show up to 92% more crops survive with this approach compared to no pest control.

Do additives help the soil?

A researcher is using her latest study to question whether soil additives are worth their salt. Despite a decades-long practice, there could be environmental consequences of adding bio-fertilizers into soil. It's common practice for farmers to use bio-fertilizers as a method to improve crop production. These added microorganisms will live in the soil, creating a natural and healthy growing environment.

'Right' cover-crop mix good for both Chesapeake and bottom lines

Planting and growing a strategic mix of cover crops not only reduces the loss of nitrogen from farm fields, protecting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, but the practice also contributes nitrogen to subsequent cash crops, improving yields, according to researchers.

Manure application changes with winter crop can cut nitrogen loss, boost profits

Dairy farmers in the Northeast can improve water quality and boost the profitability of their operations by changing the timing and method of applying manure to their fields in the fall, along with planting rye as a cover crop between corn crops -- or by double-cropping rye and corn, according to researchers.

Food safety: Dung beetles and soil bacteria reduce risk of human pathogens

Food safety regulations increasingly pressure growers to remove hedgerows, ponds and other natural habitats from farms to keep out pathogen-carrying wildlife and livestock. Yet, this could come at the cost of biodiversity. New research encourages the presence of dung beetles and soil bacteria at farms as they naturally suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens before spreading to humans.