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The FFC Bulletin 2014 V2 March

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Hedging Bets: Legume Mixtures in Pasture

White and red clovers are popular pasture species for good reason—they’re highly productive and persist well in grazed situations.  But no one species is best at everything, and there is a persuasive argument for considering other species for the qualities and resilience they can bring to a pasture mix…(more)

Crushing Californian thistles to death and other on-farm, non-chemical control techniques

Following requests to the FFC about non-chemical means of managing Californian thistle this article explains some less well known physical and biological control techniques available to farmers and growers and how to implement them… (more)

Fire-resistant shelter belts

If climate change predictions come true, hot, dry, windy summers will become more common in Canterbury’s future; wildfire weather.  Enter shelter belts.  Not only can these plantings reduce drought stress to pastures, but, planned correctly, they can act as “green breaks,” potentially reducing spread of wild fires…(more)

‘Can healthy soil feed the world?’ Seven scientists give their opinion

The FFC considers the soil to be the most valuable asset humanity owns and has thus made soil management (or husbandry to use the old term) a core focus.  Recently the ABC Rural asked seven soil scientists for their perspective on the question ‘Can healthy soil feed the world?’… (more)

Challenges for pest management in New Zealand

The Royal Society of New Zealand recently published the ‘Emerging Issues’ paper: “Challenges for Pest Management in New Zealand”  (link to external site)

The paper highlights the: (1) Substantial economic and environmental costs associated with the loss of agricultural production and loss of native biodiversity, due to vertebrate, invertebrate, weeds, micro-organism, and freshwater and marine pests; (2) On-going changes and increasing complexity in the way New Zealand deals with its pest management threats; (3) need for ongoing targeted efforts to enable new approaches and technologies to counter increasing pest resistance and the loss of older, now less acceptable pest management tools.

The FFC considers this a valuable and timely report and looks forward to an increasing emphasis and support from local and national government to research and implement more sustainable and effect pest management strategies.  The FFC and Lincoln University are already doing their part by running a series of seminar-workshops on ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ starting with non-chemical weed management.

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