Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘maize’

Armyworm Poses a Major Threat to Food Security Worldwide

Posted by feww on February 6, 2017

Crop-Destroying Armyworm “Spreading Rapidly” in Africa –Study

Crop-destroying armyworm caterpillar is now spreading rapidly across Mainland Africa and could soon spread to tropical Asia and the Mediterranean, becoming a major threat to agriculture and food security worldwide, said CABI.

“We are now able to confirm that the fall armyworm is spreading very rapidly outside the Americas, and it can be expected to spread to the limits of suitable African habitat within just a few years. It likely travelled to Africa as adults or egg masses on direct commercial flights and has since been spread within Africa by its own strong flight ability and carried as a contaminant on crop produce,” CABI’s Chief Scientist said.

The fall armyworm destroys crop by burrows into them. It’s called the fall armyworm because it migrates into temperate North America in Autumn (fall). This pest has long been a problem throughout tropical America, damaging vital crops. It mostly affects maize (corn) but it has been recorded eating more than 100 different plant species, causing major damage to economically important cultivated grass crops such as maize, rice, sorghum and sugarcane as well as other crops including cabbage, beet, peanut, soybean, alfalfa, onion, cotton, pasture grasses, millet, tomato, potato and cotton. Source: CABI

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Armyworms March across Southern Africa Plaguing Crop Fields

Posted by feww on January 24, 2017

  • CJ Members

Outbreaks of Armyworms across Southern Africa threaten crops in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe

  • An outbreak of armyworms has plagued Malawi, spreading across the southern African country and threatening maize and other crops.
  • Malawi is the third country in the region to be invaded by armyworms.
  • Details of Alert are available from FIRE-EARTH PULSARS.

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Prolonged Drought Plagues Central America

Posted by feww on August 23, 2015

Drought severely affects millions in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

A prolonged, debilitating drought is severely affecting Central America, leading to food shortages and threatening food insecurity in addition to water famine across the region.

drought-damaged maize
A farmer shows his maize crops severely damaged by the drought in Santa Cruz,  southern Honduras (Aug. 22, 2015). A  prolonged drought has affected at least 146 municipalities in Honduras. (Xinhua/Rafael Ochoa). More images…

“Since mid-July, nearly all of the Central America has experienced below-average rainfall, as the largest moisture deficits (<50 percent of normal) have been mainly observed in the Gulf of Fonseca region and in parts of northern Honduras according to satellite rainfall data. The drier than average rainfall has been preceded by both poor Primera rains season which has reportedly led to losses in maize and bean crops over the El Progreso, Zacapa, and Chiquimula departments of eastern Guatemala,” according to Climate Prediction Center.

drought central america
Climate Prediction Center’s Central America Hazards Outlook

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Amazon Deforestation Climbed 28 Percent in 12 Months

Posted by feww on November 15, 2013

5,843 km² of Brazil forest denuded in 12 months to July 2013

Deforestation rate in Brazil rose to 5,843 km² between August 2012 and July this year, a staggering rise of 28%, compared with the previous period, according to provisional figures released by the government.

More than 600,000 km² of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed in the past 40 years to make room for cattle ranching, farming and extensive transportation projects.

Agriculture accounts for almost 5.5% of the Brazil’s GDP, and is responsible for the majority of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions.


Cattle rest in deforested jungle near Maraba, in Brazil’s central state of Para, May 3, 2009.  Soon thousands of cows will be chewing pasture on the freshly cleared land in Brazil’s Amazon state of Para, just a tiny part of Brazil’s 200-million-strong commercial cattle herd, the world’s biggest, that makes it a beef superpower. More than 70 million are in the Amazon area, three for every person. This is where the industry has grown fastest in recent years, a trend activists say is due to cheap land, widespread illegal clearing and weak government enforcement. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker. Images may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in Climate Change, environment, Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2012, global disasters 2013, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Maize Madness

Posted by feww on July 13, 2011

More Maize for Fuel than Food

US ethanol refiners use more maize than livestock and poultry farmers

The ethanol refiners in the U.S. are consuming more maize than livestock and poultry farmers, a report said.

USDA says in the year to August 31 ethanol producers will have consumed 5.05bn bushels of corn, just over 40 per cent of 2010’s harvest, against 5bn bushels used for animal feed and residual consumption.

The Death of Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Part 1): “Our slaveholder, the car, is taking the food right out of our mouths. The late Ivan Illich, a renowned sociologist, reported in the 1970s that when the miles Americans drive are divided by the time spent in the car (sitting on congested roadways, driving, parking, and servicing) and paying for it, they average 5 mph-about twice slower than riding a bike. Today, the cars are getting fatter and running even slower.”

Other Amazing Maize Stats

  • Ethanol production has pushed up the corn prices by 90 per cent compared with a year earlier.
  • US ethanol production could reach a record high of 13.7bn gallons in 2011
  • Both Brazil and China are importing US corn; China to import 2MMT tons this year.
  • USDA predicts global farm consumption could reach a record of about 878MMT.
  • Corn futures topped $7 per bushel.
  • Ethanol futures are currently traded 30 cents per gallon cheaper than gasoline futures.

Notes:

1. A bushel of shelled maize (corn) weighs 56 pounds (25.40 kg).
2. MMT = Million Metric Tons.

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Environmental Disasters: Too Close for Comfort?

Posted by feww on June 14, 2008

submitted by a reader

“You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Beginning to feel that the environmental disasters are getting up close and personal?

One minute you are in your comfortable home near Paradise, north of Sacramento, the next minute you are being consoled by the firefighters as you stand in the front garden watching your home turn into blackened cinder. They apologize for failing to help you, but it wasn’t their fault. They ran out of water!

Wondering why?


Butte Valley fire, Humboldt, Thursday night. Image: Jason Halley / Chico Enterprise-Record. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Into the SUV with what little you could snatch away from the mouth of the fire heading east to Iowa to stay with Aunt Molly. On interstate 29 a twister is about to touch down. Whoosh! You swerve out of the way just in time.


Parkersburg Tornado.
Photo AP. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Aunt Molly’s house in Cedar Rapids wasn’t so lucky. It didn’t have wheels to drive away and avoid the floodwater; it is completely deluged.


An aerial photo shows a flooded area of downtown looking North over Cedar Rapids, Iowa June 13, 2008. Interstate I-380 can be seen at top while Mays Island, with Cedar Rapids City Hall, is seen on the left with its bridges under water. Floodwaters have inundated about 100 city blocks of Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s second-largest city with 200,000 residents. REUTERS/Ron Mayland. Photo AP. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Five hours and a dozen phonecalls later, you are finally heading to the calm of Wisconsin to stay with Cousin Thelma and her family. Turn the radio on. Homes on Lake Delton in central Wisconsin have been ripped apart by deadly storm and washed away by floodwaters. Chilly gooseflesh grow on your forearms. Something tingles deep inside your gut, that uncomfortable feeling something is wrong. And you are right! Well, It’s Friday the 13th, you hear yourself murmuring.


Lake Delton is a popular tourist spot south of the Wisconsin Dells. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Distant Cousin Joe and his family are in deep mourning in Loveland. Two of their kids with four of their classmates and a teacher didn’t make it back from a fishing trip. And his 5,000 acre cornfield is submerged in floodwater …


Corn crop submerged in floodwaters near Loveland, Iowa, June 12, 2008.
REUTERS/Dave Kaup. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Back to Iowa to stay with an old classmate who lives in Marshal Town, Iowa, and who invited you to visit her last summer. A rain check is as good as … a rain check! Finally you arrive in Marshal Town. But the whole town has been evacuated and the power plants have been shut down!

Well, at least you have the good old, reliable SUV, and it’s not as if the world is running out of corn to make ethanol for you!

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Posted in Climate Change, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, health, politics, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Food: Worse times ahead

Posted by feww on May 4, 2008

Climate Change + Higher temperatures + Droughts + Floods + Soil erosion + Loss of topsoil + Pollution + Ground-level Ozone = Much Less Food in the Future

Scientists are warning that global warming would present great challenges on the way to produce more food in the future.

“There certainly are going to be lots of challenges in the future. Temperature is one of them, water is another,” said Lisa Ainsworth, a molecular biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture.

“In Northeastern China, low temperatures, a short growing season and lack of water limit production, so rising temperatures in the future may have beneficial impacts there,” said Ainsworth.

“However, in the southern parts of the country, higher temperatures will likely cause yield losses,” she told the reporters.

Higher temperatures coupled with ground-level ozone, which is produced as a result of sunlight interacting with greenhouse gases, added to extremes of floods and droughts is a recipe for disaster.

Ozone is a growing problem in the northern hemisphere and is already costing farmers billion of dollars in crop damage.


Effect of increasing ozone concentration (left to right: about 15, 80 and 150 ppb) on growth of (A) Pima cotton and nutsedge grown in direct competition with one nutsedge per cotton; (B) tomato and nutsedge
grown in direct competition with nutsedge (two-to-one); and (C) yellow nutsedge grown in the absence of competition. (Photo and caption: David A. Grantz & Anil Shrestha, UC Kearney Agricultural Center )

“In the major rice-growing regions, which are India and China, ground-level ozone concentrations even today are very high and certainly exceed the threshold for damage. Ozone is already decreasing yield potential in many areas,” Ainsworth said.

Significant amounts of rice yield are lost annually due to various abiotic stresses (e.g., salinity, droughts). Rice is the staple diet for about half of the world population, and about 90 percent of the world’s rice is produced in Asia.

UN experts believe that in low-latitude regions, slightest temperature rises of about 1ºC could affect crop yields.

The atmospheric CO2 levels have now reached about 388 parts per million from about 280 ppm prior to the Industrial Revolution.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty in the climate modeling when it comes to the regional level,” said Reiner Wassmann coordinator of the Rice and Climate Change Consortium at IRRI. “But it was clear temperatures would rise.”


A train travels along the flooded Darbhanga-Sitamadhi railway line in Bihar in this August 2, 2007 file photo. Massive monsoon floods in eastern India damaged vast areas of corn and affected the rice crop, government officials and farm experts said on Tuesday, adding that losses are being assessed. REUTERS/Krishna Murari Kishan (image may be subject to copyright!) See FEWW Fair Use notice.

“The other mega trend we see is that we will have more climate extremes. In some places there might be more drought, in others it may be submergence, from floods, in some places it might be both,” said Wassmann.


Lake Hartwell, February 2008, western South Carolina. Photo courtesy South Carolina Department of Natural Resources staff. (Source UNL)

“That is really a new challenge for development of cropping systems and I don’t want to limit it to only plant breeding. We have to be clear that this is no silver bullet and that if we speed-up plant breeding everything will be fine. Certainly not.

“We also have to improve crop management and water saving techniques have come into the picture to cope with drought,” he said. (Source)

High ozone levels can damage leaves on trees and crops (such as corn, wheat, and soybeans), reducing growth rates and crop yields. In 1995, ground-level ozone caused $2.7 billion in crop damage nationwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Due to its reactive nature, ozone also can prematurely degrade and wear out rubber, paints and other materials. (Source)

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