organic pesticides

Foes call for New York to review GE moth okayed by USDA

The USDA has approved the first open-air trial of a genetically modified non-sterile insect, male diamondback moths that pass along a gene during mating that prevents female offspring from reaching adulthood. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York said it "believes in the strongest terms that this action should trigger a full environmental review" by state officials, rather than a rubber-stamp approval.

Blasting weeds with air-powered farm residue

A USDA agronomist in Minnesota has invented an air-powered device that shoots out farm residues — "from seed meals to nut shells, fruit pits, and corn cob grits" — at weeds and pulverizes them while leaving corn shoots standing tall, reports Modern Farmer. Dried chicken manure is a current favorite to target the pesky plants. “We can weed and feed at the same time,” Frank Forcella told the magazine.

China’s ag overhaul biggest since Mao’s Great Leap

Even as China’s coal-fueled factories belch toxic smoke, the biggest abuse on China’s environment comes from agriculture, says Time. The country is trying to solve the problem with some of the most radical changes to its agricultural policy since Mao Zedong forced the People’s Republic onto collective farms in the late 1950s—and 30 million people died of starvation as a result.

Microscopic worms as an organic pesticide

Researchers at UC-Riverside conducted genomic sequencing of five nematode families in work that could improve their performance as a biocontrol against insect damage to crops.