The six-week drought in December 2011 and January 2012 that hit Argentina's crop fields led to losses of up to 40 percent in some areas, according to the country's government. In key corn-growing area Bragado, Buenos Aires province, early-planted fields are being harvested with yields coming in at 2,000 to 5,000 kilos per hectare, said Argentina's weekly crop report. Nearly half of Bragado's 2011–2012 corn has been collected at an average yield of 4,500 kilo per hectare. Some early-planted corn fields in Rio Cuarto, Cordoba province, are so thin that farmers have decided not to harvest them. The province's late-planted corn is developing normally, except in western Rio Cuarto, which was affected by frost in early April. The current total 2011–2012 corn crop estimate is at 20.8 million metric tons, according to the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange.
There are now 249 UK farms reporting SBV: 32 in cattle and 217 in sheep. This is an increase of two farms in cattle and two farms in sheep. All farms are within the recognised risk counties in England.
Egypt is currently experiencing a serious outbreak of Foot-and-Mourth Disease (FMD), which affects all cloven-hoofed animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo and pigs. FMD causes serious production losses and can be lethal, particularly to younger animals. An estimated 6.3 million buffalo and cattle and 7.5 million sheep and goats are at risk in Egypt.
Although foot-and-mouth disease has circulated in the country for some years, this is an entirely new introduction of a virus strain known as SAT2, and livestock have no immune protection against it. Other countries in the region are also at risk from a spread of the disease. Follow the link to read more.
By 2030 undernourishment will be only a minor problem in Europe and Central Asia, but obesity and diet-related illnesses like heart disease could emerge as major challenges for public policy, FAO said today.
Hunger currently affects less than five percent of the population in most of the region but remains a significant concern in large parts of the Caucasus and Central Asia, according to a report to be presented at the start of the Organization's biennial Regional Conference for Europe and Central Asia. However, the percent of people experiencing hunger in the Caucasus and Central Asia will drop from nine to two percent by 2030 and then to one percent by 2050, the report predicts.
The report goes on to warn that as diets shift from cereals towards higher consumption of meat and dairy the risk factors behind chronic, non-communicable diseases could rise in parts of the region. Besides diet, lifestyle habits, poverty and medical care also influence obesity, disease and death rates, the report adds. These increased risk levels will place greater pressure on healthcare facilities in the poorer countries of Central Asia than in the EU.
The Department for Sustainable Soils and Grassland Systems at BBSRC-funded Rothamsted Research is launching a new Global Scientific Assessment on Soil Biodiversity as a result of an international meeting organized by the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI in London, England, March 2012).
At the meeting, scientists and policy makers agreed that advances in understanding of the living organisms in soil and what they do for people and society can be used to help manage and sustain soils for the future. These provisions include clean air, pure water, nutrients for crops, sequestration of carbon, and regulation of pests and disease; therefore a Global Soil Biodiversity Assessment (GSBA) will gather data and examples of how soil biodiversity and its services can be measured and will be the core of GSBI's future action plan that will be presented at Rio+20.
People are underestimating sugar levels in drinks which are perceived to be "healthy" options, according to new research. More than 2,000 people across the UK were asked to estimate how many teaspoons of sugar were in a variety of beverages and, while many overestimated the amount in fizzy drinks, they "significantly misjudged" the levels in milkshakes, smoothies and some fruit juices.
The research, carried out by the University of Glasgow, suggested the average person in the UK consumes 659g and 3,144 calories a week through non-alcoholic liquid intake. At 450 calories a day, it is the equivalent to almost a quarter of the recommended daily calorie intake for women and around a fifth for men.
The European Court of Auditors today (17 April) dealt a blow to the European Commission’s overhaul of agricultural policies, saying in an opinion that the proposals are “too complex” and expose the EU to possible abuse in its direct payments scheme. Follow the link to read the full article.