Mixed strains can boost yields

17 August 2000

‘Mixed strains can boost yields’

By FWi staff

PLANTING different strains of wheat, rice or other crops in the same field can reduce pesticide use and increase yields, according to new research.

The findings of the project in China question the modern methods of agriculture which rely on vast monocultures of crops, reports The Times.

The newspaper claims the work by Oregon State University in the US and Yunnan Agricultural University in China also questions the need for genetically modified pest resistant crops.

Instead, organic crops may be found to be superior if applied on a commercial scale, says The Times.

Researchers persuaded farmers in Yunnan to plant a range of varieties and observed the effects of fungal rice blast.

Findings, reported in the journal Nature found that the effects of blast were 94% less severe in mixed variety fields.

Yields were 89% higher compared with fields where only one variety was planted.

The team reported that the experiment was so successful that fungicidal sprays were no longer applied by the end of the two-year programme.

See more