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Farmers could make more hay

880335_harvest_time.jpgThis is a bit off Greenbang’s beat, but stuff it. The weather is grim and farming stories are quite interesting.

Farmers  could get higher yields and fewer weeds in their intensive grasslands, if they planted more species, scientists claim.

A research project involving more than 20 European countries, coordinated by the European Science Foundation (ESF), found if you plant four species instead of one, you get an additional 3.5 tonnes per hectare of food for your livestock.

You also get fewer weeds in the field. At most sites, the yield from a mix of species exceeded the yield from a monoculture of the most productive plant, an effect known in ecology as ‘overyielding’. And the best mix uses equal quantities of each of the four plants.

“Large areas of Europe are covered with intensive grasslands,” says Finn. He argued that if these grasslands had four plant types, instead of one or two, there would be definite benefits for wildlife. “The research showed that more insects associate with the species-rich swards.” More insects means more food for wild birds and small mammals.

1 Comment

  • Tony Belding
    Posted October 21, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    The Time article is riddled with mistakes. To wit:

    Page 1: The GM “Sunracer” should be spelled Sunraycer.

    Page 2: The Chevy Volt will not “require a refreshing plug-in” after 40 miles. The whole idea of the car is that the range extender can power you further than 600 miles.

    Page 3: The article says, “Clara Ford, wife of Henry, whose Model T all but decimated the electric car, drove a 1914 Detroit Electric. (What her husband made of the fact that she wasn’t driving a Ford is lost to history.)” He must have thought it was a pretty good idea. In fact, Mr. Ford bought a Detroit Electric for his wife in 1908, and then a second one in 1914.

    Page 10: Michael Marks is not the founder of Tesla. Tesla was co-founded by Martin Eberhard and Mark Tarpenning, with financial support from Elon Musk. Michael Marks is the current CEO, having recently replaced Eberhard in that role.

    Page 11: The Chevy Volt shouldn’t even be on the list, as GM have not yet produced a functioning prototype of it, and all the specifications on range and efficiency are merely a “wish list” of what GM hopes will be possible. The page is written in present tense as if the car already exists.

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