GFM Network News


Researchers at USC and Texas A&M University grew winter wheat in an arid area of Texas with reduced irrigation and found that the plants protect themselves by producing thick leaf wax.

The key to drought-tolerant crops may be in the leaves

Leaf wax acts as the equivalent of ‘lip balm’ for plants, 
protecting them from the harmful effects of drought

A new study suggests breeding plants with a thicker layer of leaf wax is the key to greater drought tolerance and growing crops in more arid regions. Sarah Feakins, a scientist at University of Southern California who has studied leaf wax in the context of climate change, teamed up recently with researchers at Texas A&M

The growth chamber system can reproduce past weather patterns, down to exact daily fluctuations.

Growth chamber system ‘test drives’ new varieties

Cameras can detect and quantify signals produced by plants

Following the lead of automakers who torture test their cars on special tracks that simulate real driving conditions, researchers at Michigan State University have developed a system to test drive new plant varieties before they reach the field. Called DEPI — Dynamic Environmental Photosynthetic Imaging — the system uses sensors, cameras and software to reproduce


A special type of photosynthesis called CAM allows pineapples to grow on marginal land with up to 80 per cent less water than most food crops.


Unlocking pineapple’s genetic secrets

Engineering crops like wheat to use the pineapple’s method of photosynthesis could dramatically boost its drought tolerance

The pineapple, the tropical fruit enjoyed by people worldwide in slices, chunks, juice, upside-down cakes, piña coladas, glazed ham and pizza, is finally giving up its genetic secrets. Scientists say they have sequenced the genome of the pineapple, learning about the genetic underpinning of the plant’s drought tolerance and special form of photosynthesis. The genome

Coleus for the sun

Coleus have long been an important component of shade plantings; whether planted in the ground or grown in containers, they have traditionally been popular plants for those spots in the garden that receive little direct sun. The older varieties, such as the “Rainbow” series, are all suitable for use in the shade and in fact,

Winter wheat can germinate in spring

There are reports circulating of agronomists telling producers to reseed winter wheat fields that have just germinated this spring. As I understand, it is related to the process of vernalization and whether it has occurred or not. Last fall I wrote a Crops eNews article titled “What Happens if My Winter Wheat Didn’t Emerge?” –


Valentine for a gardener

Fresh cut flowers and jewelry seem to be the items of choice for a lot of people when they are out shopping for something to give that special someone on Valentine’s Day. There is nothing wrong with choosing either blooms or bling, but if your special someone is an avid gardener who loves all plants,

This One Is Vigorous And Resilient

During the dark days of winter we gardeners like to fill our indoor environments with the beauty of live plants. Even if you don’t have a light garden or a sunny window sill, a number of resilient plants can be grown successfully even in quite low-light environments, some of these being members of the philodendron



Keep Off The Brassica

Kids may try to convince their parents that broccoli is toxic, but it actually is for livestock. Brassica plants, which include kale, rape, cabbage, broccoli and mustard, are toxic to livestock, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Brassicas contain a number of toxic chemicals, including glucosinolates, which are present in

Boosting Legume Nitrogen Fix

McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, and Becker Underwood, Ames, Iowa, have signed a commercial licensing agreement granting Becker Underwood exclusive rights to patented nitrogen-fixing technology developed by a team of McGill researchers. Becker Underwood is a developer, marketer and producer of bioagronomic products for agriculture. Legumes such as soybeans, peanuts, peas, lentils and alfalfa form symbiotic