From just two bulls, 9 million US dairy cows

From just two bulls, 9 million US dairy cows

There are more than 9 million dairy cows in the United States, and the vast majority of them are Holsteins, large bovines with distinctive black-and-white (sometimes red-and-white) markings. The amount of milk they produce is astonishing. So is their lineage. When researchers at the Pennsylvania State University looked closely at the male lines a few years ago, they discovered more than 99 percent of them can be traced back to one of two bulls, both born in the 1960s.

Conventional, industrialized agriculture causes severe decline in butterfly numbers

Conventional, industrialized agriculture causes severe decline in butterfly numbers

New research shows that meadows adjacent to high-intensity agricultural areas are home to less than half the number of butterfly species than areas in nature preserves. In the study, recently published in the scientific journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, the results emphasize the need for a more environmentally friendly agriculture.

Lab-grown meat might be worse for the climate than farting cows

Lab-grown meat might be worse for the climate than farting cows

Scientists and companies working to grow meat from animal cells will need to minimise energy use and avoid fossil fuels if claims that cultured meat is better for the climate than real meat are to hold true, researchers said.

Cultured meat production with high energy inputs could spur global warming more in the long-term than some types of beef cattle farming if the world shunned a low-carbon path, said a study published on 19th February by the UK-based Oxford Martin School.

Warming waters heat up fishing costs along India’s Malabar Coast

Warming waters heat up fishing costs along India’s Malabar Coast

Thankachan Polayalil has been a fisherman for 42 of his 65 years, long enough to remember when fish were visible from land, brimming just beyond the palm trees of the Malabar Coast. Now his boat is equipped with an echolocation machine, but fish still are hard to find – and the catch isn’t nearly as diverse. The anchovies are gone, and the mackerel now often swim in deeper water, making them harder to snare.

London’s RAW Wine fair to celebrate sustainable wines

London’s RAW Wine fair to celebrate sustainable wines

This year’s RAW WINE fair (10th-11th March) will be celebrating the importance of sustainability by bringing together natural, organic and biodynamic wine producers who are all about minimal intervention in the vineyard and cellar. Promoting biodiversity and respecting life above ground and in the soil ensures vines are able to absorb key nutrients and increases the quality of the final wines.

Machine learning detects importance of land stewardship in conservation policy

Machine learning detects importance of land stewardship in conservation policy

At the southern tip of the Himalayas, farmers in the Kangra region of India’s Himachal Pradesh graze cattle among rolling hills and forests. The forests, under management by the state or farmer cooperatives, are thriving. But a new University of Illinois study shows, unlike state-managed forests, farmer cooperatives directly benefit both forest health and farmers.

In Ethiopia, climate change leads herders to retrain as farmers

In Ethiopia, climate change leads herders to retrain as farmers

The first time Mukulo Orgo cut open a tomato, he expected a mango-like fruit. Did it come from a factory, he wondered?

“People said first you wash it, and you cut with a knife and you prepare it with onion and you cook it, using oil,” said the 40-year-old.

But the first time he butchered a cow, well, he knew perfectly well what to expect.

Sites in Iran, Morocco & Spain recognized as important for global agricultural heritage

Sites in Iran, Morocco & Spain recognized as important for global agricultural heritage

A traditional saffron cultivation system in Iran, an argan-based agro-pastoral system in Morocco, and an ancient olive trees system in Spain have been recognised by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).

All the sites feature unique ways to produce nutritious foods and/or spices using traditional knowledge and skills while improving local people’s livelihoods and preserving biodiversity.