Excavation bugs - a new alternative to herbicides


27/07/2011

Recent studies funded by the Council of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences and the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in France, it was found that ground beetles reduce the number of weed seeds in the soil. Weeds are known to reduce the harvest of cereals, and these findings support the need to preserve biodiversity of arable land, as it serves as herbicides that control the growth of weeds and strengthen food security.

This study confirms the belief of scientists have long recognized that a variety of ground beetles play an important role in controlling weeds. Dr. David Boehm (David Bohan), who led the study, said that "the predation of seeds of weeds naturally occurring bugs on arable land is of great benefit, thereby reducing the amount of weeds in the fields and potentially improving agricultural productivity."

In the analysis, which will be published in the August issue of the journal "Journal of Applied Ecology", used data from 257 conventionally managed fields throughout the UK in order to determine the impact that the number of bugs earthen weed seeds in the soil in which grow crops such as sugar beet, maize, spring and winter oilseed.

The researchers found that the number of weed grasses declined more than other types of weeds, which is important because many UK farms grass weeds are a serious problem. Some of their species are extremely resistant to herbicides and have a strong impact on performance, because they compete with crops for resources, which leads to lower yields. Policies to reduce the use of herbicides can lead to more weeds in the fields, so that alternatives to herbicides have the potential for significant impact.

Excavation bugs happen to be eating a large proportion of weed seeds that would otherwise have to get into the soil. With proper management, ground beetles could be used as a substitute for certain types of herbicides used and greatly reduce weed populations. The method of "Bank of bugs," which involves the allocation of a particular area of the field as a wildlife habitat for insects, already supported organization of environmental protection and is suitable for farmers.

Professor Douglas Kell (Douglas Kell), the head of the Council of Biotechnology and Biological Sciences said: "We have a goal - to be able to feed 9 billion people by 2050, and to do that we need to do research now that will begin improvements in the quality and of harvest, as well as sustainable development of agriculture in the future.

By studying whole biological systems, such as agricultural ecosystems, we can determine the different contributions made by other aspects of the system, including those bugs. This project shows that the balance of agro-ecosystems can be vital in ensuring the sustainable development of agriculture in the future. It also shows a clear relationship between biodiversity and food security. "

Original: Physorg Translation: M. Potter


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