A field trial of drought-tolerant corn took place at Western Kentucky University. Photo courtesy Syngenta.
This summer’s severe drought, which has resulted in substantial crop losses throughout the entire Midwest, has put the latest agricultural technologies to the test, MIT’s Technology Review reports. Agricultural researchers and scientists are developing plant breeding and biotechnology innovations which can improve a crop’s ability to use water more efficiently and tolerate drought conditions, in hopes of addressing future challenges presented by adverse weather conditions.
Farmers participating in field trials of drought-tolerant varieties have reported positive results thus far. Illinois farmer Mike Cyrulik notes that his healthier drought-tolerant corn has “wound up being the talk of the town,” adding that he expects a significantly higher yield in his acres planted with the drought-tolerant variety. Read more.
After analyzing data from 237 studies conducted over the last forty years to determine whether organic foods provide additional health benefits, Stanford University scientists have concluded that organic fruits and vegetables are generally no more nutritious than their conventionally-grown counterparts. The scientists also determined that there were no major health advantages to organic meats, reports The New York Times.
The study’s findings, which were published in today’s issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, made an impact on the researchers, who sought to provide an objective resource for consumers to make more informed choices. “When we began this project, we thought that there would likely be some findings that would support the superiority of organics over conventional food,” said Dr. Dena Bravata, a senior affiliate with Stanford’s Center for Health Policy and the senior author of the paper. “I think we were definitely surprised.” Read more.