Articles (articles are listed by latest first)

Plastic film in agriculture and horticulture: risks and benefits

Robert Cook
The article by Professor Changrong Yan (1706) follows one we published in 2014 (1416) which addressed some of the challenges which this technology presents. Use of plastic film is certainly not new; it was used to establish maize in early trials in Britain in the 1970s and is widely used in Europe today, e.g. for early carrot production on sandy, dry land, for the same reasons as in China – warming of the soil under the film allows earlier and better crop establishment. This is …


The benefits and challenge of plastic film mulching in China

LI Zhen,
SUN Dongbao,
LIU Enke,
YAN Changrong,
Liu Qin,
Dr. He Wenqing
Abstract : Plastic film mulching has played an important role in Chinese agriculture owing to its effects on soil warming, moisture conservation and weed control. It has increased grain and cash crop yields by 20%–35% and 20%–60%, respectively. In 2014 plastic film covered 18.14 Mha and the amount of plastic film used reached 1.41 Mt. Despite the benefits of plastic film mulch technology, widespread use has generated large amounts of mulching plastic waste. This has …


Editor’s note on cotton

Dr David Frape
In the early 1950s the place of cotton in common use for clothes was being gradually supplanted by synthetic fibres produced from oil. In recent years cotton has regained its place owing very largely to technological developments in the agricultural sector. Moreover the number of countries producing cotton in large quantities has increased. Development has led to phenomenal increases in the yield/ha and in the fibre quality of that yield, and labour has been reduced by mechanisation. …


Competing on the World Market by Integrating Technology and Crop Management:  Cotton in Australia

David Hamilton
Australian cotton crops now produce yields of around two and a half to three times world averageand Australian cotton yields are the highest in the world. This is largely because of the rapid adoption of new technologies, but also because much of the crop is irrigated compared with many overseas countries where extensive areas of raingrown cotton are produced. This remarkable story has been one of concerted interest and investment in research development and extension (RD&E), and …


Sustainable cotton production in Australia and China

Professor Neil C. Turner
Cotton is produced in more than 100 countries in the world, but six of them – China, India, Pakistan, USA, Brazil and Uzbekistan – contribute about 80% of the total annual production of about 25 million tonnes of lint (1) . While China is the major producer of cotton, producing about 7 million tonnes per annum, Australia is the 8 th largest producer, producing about 1 million tonnes per annum, 99.9% of which is exported, mainly to China (about 0.3 million tonnes) and India (about 0.22 …


The functions and sizes of the five carbon sinks on planet Earth and their relation to climate change Part 2 Coniferous forests-do they warm or cool the climate?

Dr David Frape
Summary The UK Government and Forestry Commission state: “if we plant an additional 15,000 hectares per year, by 2050 these woodlands could be sequestering carbon equivalent to 10% of GHG emissions”(1)(Appendix A). The inference is that by lowering atmospheric CO 2 concentration with planting conifers climate cooling will follow. This is not so. This premise is wrong. Latitude-specific deforestation experiments indicate that afforestation projects in the tropics would be clearly …


Afforestation, food production and poverty- a conflict of interests?

Professor Sir John Marsh
Negotiations about the control of climate change have centred on human activities that increase emissions and on strategies that can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases.  The imperatives of raising income and alleviating poverty imply increased economic activity and higher levels of emission. To some degree these can be countered by improved technologies that depend less on fossil fuel and clean up emissions to the atmosphere and water.  However, given rising global …


Cereal and soya bean production and food security in China: Challenges and opportunities

Professor Yuncheng Liao,
Professor Kadambot H.M Siddique,
Professor Lixiang Wang,
Assistant Professor Yajun Li,
Assistant Professor Xiaolaing Qin
Introduction China’s GDP has increased steadily since 1949, reaching 63,646 billion Renminbi (1038 billion US dollars) in 2014 to become the world’s second largest economy (1) (Fig. 1).  In recent years, China’s food security has received attention from researchers and policy makers (2, 3). In 2011, China had 20% of global food production (4). Future trends in grain production, consumption and import will affect food prices in the region (5) and food security is a high priority of …


Current and forthcoming Issues of World Agriculture

Dr David Frape
The New Year will see a new ‘face’ to World Agriculture .  We shall change our WEB format, and to keep our Journal abreast of developments in internet technology, we shall for example, simplify the procedure by which one downloads references on-line.  Moreover, we shall invite readers to comment on World Agriculture , or on relevant current issues, by publishing your unedited comments, to which we shall append only your name and country. In the present Issue we give evidence of …


The Market, the Managed, or the Mixed Economy. Which should it be in the North v South China Affair?

Professor Sir John Marsh
1. Market economies provide a means by which resources are distributed to secure maximum returns to their owners. Owners and users are assumed seek maximum profit.  Owners sell them at the highest price available and users, ultimately consumers, buy at the lowest price they can find.  All participants in the market, buyers and sellers have perfect knowledge about what prices are available. 2. Given this restricted model resources move to secure the greatest value possible, given the …


The functions and sizes of the five carbon sinks on planet Earth and their relation to climate change Part I Their present sizes and locations

Dr David Frape
Introduction The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among  five spheres  of the Earth, carbon (C) sinks: the biosphere, pedosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere (These are not mutually exclusive, see Glossary).  Along with the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that is key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life; it describes the movement of carbon as it is recycled and reused …


Some notes on the politics of survival

Professor Sir John Marsh
1. We can only make policies that have the consent of the power brokers a. In a democracy such as the UK, power lies with those who win votes. b. The Brexit debate has shown how voters disregard expert views but accept uncritically populist statements from pressure groups. 2. The need to reduce fossil fuel use implies unwanted changes in lifestyles. a. The public response is likely to be fashioned by pressure groups who offer ‘easy’ options – anti-austerity for example. …


Innovative agroforestry for environmental security in India

S.B. Chavan,
Dr A.K. Handa,
Professor Parkash Toky
Introduction The role of trees in environmental security has been well known for ages.  Trees in agroforestry systems not only provide direct benefits (food, fodder, fuelwood, fertilizers, fibres, etc) but also improve soil fertility, reduce soil erosion, filter atmospheric pollutants and most importantly they maintain carbon balance.  Growing multipurpose trees along with agricultural crops, has been considered as a panacea for maladies of intensive agriculture and deforestation…


A review of Dame Fiona Reynolds’ book: The Fight for Beauty, Publ. Oneworld Publications, London 2016; and on the effects of land use on climate change

Dr David Frape
Dame Fiona has published a most apposite and timely book on the Man’s need for beauty of the natural world.  She has asked me to review it – a hard-headed scientist to review a book on beauty, is you might think, a bit incongruous.  “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, as Plato most astutely stated – it is not subject to scientific analysis, or quantification. Nevertheless, what is beautiful is subject to teaching, or is learnt by experience. My mother once told me she …


The part played by World Agriculture in three vital roles of countryside on the Earth

Dr David Frape
This Issue is one of the more important Issues of World Agriculture.   The pages here are more numerous than is normally the case. We deal with one of our fundamental purposes and objectives.  This is to give a clear, description of the some of the complex, vital problems confronting this World and where possible propose solutions. Policy makers carry out their duties in response to pressure from the voting public.  It is up to that public with the very best and well-informed …


“Capital” farmland is part of a solution to the Chinese food security problems

Dr David Frape
A discussion of the conclusions drawn by Dr. Tang Huaizhi, Dr. Xue Jian, Prof. Yun Wenju – this Issue The Chinese Government fully recognizes the potential national problems associated with their current agricultural production and accepts the conclusions of their leading scientists as to the appropriate action to take. Over  the next 20 years, urbanization of China’s population will continue, presenting similar problems to those of western societies.  A current Chinese …


Government playing a bigger role in protecting farmland as supporting human society development

Professor Wei Xiuju
1. The area/quantity and productivity/quality of farmland being the   foundation for humanity survival Land is the foundation of human survival, agriculture is the basic industry of human society, and farmland closely related to agriculture is one of the most important resources of social and economic development.  Food production capacity is an important aspect of food security, and it is affected by many factors.  In addition to uncontrollable factors such as weather, it is …


Current Chinese agricultural reform

Professor Sir John Marsh
See Status, problem and strategy of capital farmland development in China,  Dr.Tang Huaizhi et al . this issue This evidence is of immense importance – there is a growing gap between what can be produced and what is demanded, there is too a history of damaging uses of technology that have led to desertification of major formerly productive areas, to add to this there are major calls for good land to be used for urban development and the overarching impact of Climate Change.  …


Status, problem and strategy of capital farmland development in China

Prof. Yun Wenju,
Dr.Xue Jian,
Dr.Tang Huaizhi
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the construction of irrigation and water conservation projects reached a peak in the 1960s and 1970s with farmland irrigation area of about 45 Mha (1) nationwide. This provides the base from which farmland can achieve its potential. In the 1980s and 1990s, as a result of limited and fragmented investment in the long term, this in turn gives rise to widespread agricultural infrastructure disrepair and functional degradation.  Given the …


India: Potential based on tradition

Professor Parkash Toky,
Robert Cook
Anyone who has visited India two or three times in the last decade cannot fail to be impressed by the huge economic progress made in recent years.   Dual carriageways and regular flights now link most major cities and traffic becomes more frenetic by the day, as new cars, motor cycles and lorries crowd onto the congested roads.   This is a reflection not just of economic activity, but of increasing affluence, especially amongst an expanding middle class, whose spending power provides …