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Science in action to improve the sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and food systems
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Author: Andrew McGuire

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Monoculture vs. Polyculture Part II: “Straight up” beats “cocktails” for cover crop ecosystem services

Cover crop mixtures, known as “cocktails” by some, are being promoted as having benefits over cover crops planted as monocultures. As I described in Part…

Monoculture vs. Polyculture Part I: “Straight up” beats “cocktails” for cover crop productivity

Planting cover crop mixtures is very popular right now. The practice has a feel-good aspect about it and, buoyed by the ecological theory, it fits…

Ecological Theories, Meta-Analysis, and the Benefits of Monocultures

How do we go about increasing agricultural crop yields? As long as human populations are increasing, this is the primary challenge we face in agriculture.…

Space Farming is Science FICTION

It said on the screen, “Bioregenerating Soil-Based Space Agriculture.” The title of the talk was “Beyond Intensification.” The speaker, a prominent researcher and prolific author,…

Agriculture Requires Fertilizer Inputs, and That’s Good

On a brown, August-dry field in Eastern Washington, a farmer in a combine cuts a 24-foot swath across a field of wheat. The harvested grain…

Can We Save Nature by Improving Agriculture?

There is an ongoing debate about how to produce food for a growing population without losing more of our wild lands. Two options are being…

Questioning the Value of Soil Quality for the Irrigated Arid West

“The Nation’s Leading Potato Producing County” states a sign on I-90 at the Grant County border1. In 2010, Washington potato yields averaged 33 tons per…

Cold + Dry = Winterkill : 2013-14 Winter in Review

Remember last winter? As June warms and temperatures in the 90s are in the forecast, it may be hard to recall, but here in the…

The Sustainability of the Columbia Basin’s Irrigation System

Although now teenagers, while in Ephrata’s elementary school my three daughters learned about hydropower generation, electricity and the dams owned and operated by the Grant…

Concentrate Organic Matter at Surface to Improve Soils

Organic matter is the key to soil quality, but building soil organic matter levels can be slow and expensive. There is an alternative. Research shows…
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