Agriculture

The “Great Acceleration” is cause for great concern. - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 18, 2017

By Prof Ralph E H Sims, Massey University, Palmerston North The future for secure and peaceful human life on our planet is under threat. A wide range of socio-economic indicators that illustrate global growth parameters from 1750 to 2010 confirm the rapid acceleration that has become particularly evident over the past six decades as world population … Read More

GM crops and herbicides: time to reassess risk assessment methods - Guest Work

Guest Work Jan 11, 2017

by Professor Jack Heinemann New studies published by Nature’s journal Scientific Reports are questioning the basis of how to determine the safety of products used in agriculture and at home. The first of these featured reports is on the application of ‘omics’ techniques to a long familiar GM maize line called NK603. The second featured report is on the … Read More

Is GM corn really different to non-GM corn? - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Dec 31, 2016

‘Substantially equivalent’ is the term used by regulatory bodies as part of confirming a GM crop is safe for consumption. Earlier work claims GM corn is ‘substantially equivalent’ to non-GM corn. Earlier this month a study was published in Scientific Reports claiming genetically modified corn is not substantially equivalent to non-GM corn, “Our molecular profiling results show that NK603 and its isogenic control … Read More

The big science stories of 2016 - Griffin's Gadgets

Peter Griffin Dec 14, 2016

Nature’s made herself well known in science this year, with the recent Kaikoura earthquake dominating media attention for the past month.  A plan to make New Zealand predator free and the campylobacter outbreak that sent Havelock North hurtling to the bathroom made science a crucial part of news stories this year. As 2016 draws to a close, the Science Media … Read More

Book review: What’s so controversial about genetically modified food? - Scibooks

John Kerr Dec 11, 2016

John T Lang’s new book tackles a tough question: What’s so controversial about genetically modified food? The answer is: It’s complicated. While far from satisfying, this conclusion isn’t a cop out. The staggering complexity of our modern food systems is a returning theme in Lang’s small treatise on genetic modification (GM) and food. His observations and insights are … Read More

Book review: Cowspiracy – The Sustainability Secret - Scibooks

Sarah-Jane O'Connor Nov 12, 2016

A documentary regurgitated into book format falls flat in Cowspiracy, which investigates the role of animal husbandry in global greenhouse gas emissions. With its gripping image of a cow in dark colours staring out at you – the documentary Cowspiracy has been sitting unwatched on my Netflix queue for some time now.  I’ve been hesitant because anything that implies a … Read More

New Zealand needs climate leadership - Infrequently Asked Questions

Lynley Hargreaves Nov 10, 2016

Professor Ralph Sims We’ve got to get cracking – grow trees, stop wasting food, stop burning coal, electrify the vehicle fleet. That’s the message from Massey University’s Professor Ralph Sims, who chaired the panel which produced the Royal Society of New Zealand report Transition to a low-carbon economy for New Zealand. Six months after the report we still lack … Read More

The future of milk - Infrequently Asked Questions

Lynley Hargreaves Oct 28, 2016

Dr Skelte Anema Value-added milk products are likely to continue their rise, says new Royal Society of New Zealand Fellow Dr Skelte Anema. That means we’ll keep moving away from commodities like dried milk powder and export more expensive products such as fresh and long-life liquid milk and cream. A Principal Research Scientist at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre, … Read More

No silver bullet for agricultural emissions, says Environment Commissioner - News

John Kerr Oct 19, 2016

New Zealanders need to work together to tackle the “complex problem of the biological greenhouse gases from agriculture,” warns the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in a new report.  The report Climate change and agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases, released today, aims to tease out various issues in the fraught area of biological emissions and signpost solutions. “In a way, my report … Read More