Saturday, 12 October 2013

European hunter-gatherers, farmers coexisted for 2,000 years

European hunter-gatherers, farmers coexisted for 2,000 years

NEW DELHI: It has been commonly assumed that ancient hunter-gatherer societies crumbled in the face of agriculture based societies. However, research just published in the journal Science has a stunning new perspective - both types of communities existed side by side for 2000 years in Central Europe. 

Indigenous hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the hunter-gatherer communities died out or adopted the agricultural lifestyle. The results come from a study undertaken by the that has just been published in the journal Science. 

A team led by anthropologist Professor Joachim Burger of the Institute of Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) studied bones from the 'Blatterhohle' cave near Hagen in Germany, where both hunter-gatherers and farmers were buried. 

"It is commonly assumed that the Central European hunter-gatherers disappeared soon after the arrival of farmers," said Dr. Ruth Bollongino, lead author of the study in a statement released by the University. "But our study shows that the descendants of Mesolithic Europeans maintained their hunter-gatherer way of life and lived in parallel with the immigrant farmers, for at least 2,000 years. The hunter-gathering lifestyle thus only died out in Central Europe around 5,000 years ago, much later than previously thought." 

Until around 7,500 years ago all central Europeans were hunter-gatherers. They had descended from the first anatomically modern humans to arrive in Europe, around 45,000 years ago. But previous genetic studies by Professor Burger's group indicated that agriculture and a sedentary lifestyle were brought to Central Europe around 7,500 years ago by immigrant farmers. From that time on, little trace of hunter-gathering can be seen in the archaeological record, and it was widely assumed that the hunter-gatherers died out or were absorbed into the farming populations.

The Mainz anthropologists have now determined that the foragers stayed in close proximity to farmers, had contact with them for thousands of years, and buried their dead in the same cave. This contact was not without consequences, because hunter-gatherer women sometimes married into the farming communities, while no genetic lines of farmer women have been found in hunter-gatherers. "This pattern of marriage is known from many studies of human populations in the modern world. Farmer women regarded marrying into hunter-gatherer groups as social anathema, maybe because of the higher birthrate among the farmers," explains Burger. 

For the study published in Science, the team examined the DNA from the bones from the 'Blatterhohle' cave in Westphalia, which is being excavated by the Berlin archaeologist Jorg Orschiedt. It is one of the rare pieces of evidence of the continuing presence of foragers over a period of about 5,000 years. 

"It was only through the analysis of isotopes in the human remains, performed by our Canadian colleagues, that the pieces of the puzzle began to fit," states Bollongino. "This showed that the hunter-gatherers sustained themselves in Central and Northern Europe on a very specialized diet that included fish, among other things, until 5,000 years ago. 

It seems that the hunter-gatherers' lifestyle only died out in Central Europe 5,000 years ago. Agriculture and animal husbandry became the way of life from then on.

Identify Animal Tracks on your field

Identify Animal Tracks on your field

Friday, 11 October 2013

Pakistan: Poultry sector produces 11.2b eggs annually

Pakistan: Poultry sector produces 11.2b eggs annually

LAHORE   - The local poultry industry is producing 11.2 billion table eggs and 1.34 billion kgs of chicken meat annually. In Pakistan, per capita consumption of meat is only 7.4kg and 60-65 eggs annually, whereas developed world is consuming 25-28kg meat and over 250 eggs per capita per year.

This was stated by the newly-elected Pakistan Poultry Association North Zone Chairman, Raza Mehmood Khursand, while emphasizing the need for understanding that egg is a complete diet and replete with the best kinds of protein, vitamins and minerals.

He said that Pakistan Poultry Association is celebrating World Egg Day on Friday (today) by organizing seminars at different places to make the general public aware about the nutritional value of egg and its importance in human diet. The importance of protein in the growth of human body and brain also highlights the real value of egg as an essential item of daily meal, he added.

“As per standard of World Health Organization, daily requirement of animal protein for a person is 27 grams whereas our public is consuming 17 grams only. Therefore we are already consuming less animal protein as per required standards.”

During a press briefing, he said that poultry sector is one of the most organised agro-based sectors of Pakistan. Poultry sector has been serving the nation since 1962 and providing affordable poultry products to the masses to fulfill the requirements of animal protein.

Quoting the experts, Raza Khursand said that the annual consumption of 300 eggs per person is important for human health. The consumption level in the developed countries meets this requirement adequately, however, the annual egg consumption is not satisfactory in Pakistan.

The PPA chairman concluded that efforts should be made to make people cognizant of the above facts to increase egg consumption and to ensure the good health of our people since only a healthy generation can take a country to the pinnacle of progress and prosperity. He said that poultry at present contributes 40 percent of the total meat consumption and generates employment and income for about 1.5 million people. He said that poultry is the cheapest available meat protein source for our masses and as such, is an effective check upon the spiraling animal protein prices also.

Farmville becomes real in Turkey

Farmville becomes real in Turkey

A Turkish engineer has adapted Farmville, an online farming game, to real life by developing an application, sponsored by Turkcell. 

A senior engineer in the department of fisheries, Semih Salnur, developed the application and now he carries the vegetables, which are ‘cultivated via internet’ to the cultivators. 

The project was originally started four years ago, Salnur said. 

“People want to have their own garden to cultivate their own vegetables. We wanted to make this dream real,” he noted. 

He said that a greenhouse was built for the project in the Aegean city of ─░zmir. There are now 650 one-square meters of gardens. People pay 10-15 liras to rent these gardens a month. 

“They can water or fertilize the gardens by using the application we developed via mobile phone or computer. When these missions are not completed, the system does this itself, but punishes the users. 

When the users perfectly complete their missions, the system rewards them,” he said, adding that the users of the application would also feed chickens in the future.

Hurriyet Daily News

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The six soil types

The six soil types

Loamy soil - often seen as the ultimate garden soil because most plants will grow in it, this is brown and crumbly in texture and similar to that found on well-worked allotments. It's rarely waterlogged in winter or dry in summer and supports a wide range of plants. Loamy soil is light and easy to dig and is naturally high in nutrients

Chalky soil - typical of south-east England, chalky soil is very shallow, full of clumps of white chalk or flint and is very free-draining. This means it can be bone dry in summer and plants will need far more watering and feeding than on any other soil. Chalky soils are always alkaline, which restricts the number of plants that can grow on them. Planting may also be difficult as spades frequently hit lumps of hard chalk or flint

Clay soil - this is sticky to handle and can be easily rolled into a ball shape. It is naturally high in nutrients so plants that like these conditions should do particularly well. It does pose some problems. In summer, it is often baked dry, with visible surface cracks, making it difficult to get water to plant roots. Yet in winter, it can be constantly wet and waterlogging is common. It is hard to dig at most times of the year

Silty soil - is made up of fine grains, originally deposited by a river. The tiny particles give it a silky feel if rubbed between the fingers. It does not form distinct shapes like clay when wet, but it can be rolled into sausage-like strips. Silty soils can be badly drained but are not prone to waterlogging.

Peaty soil - the fens of eastern England are very peaty and are some of the country's best farmland. Plants grow happily in it, as long as they can adjust to the relatively acid conditions. Almost black to look at, easy to dig over and spongy to the touch, peaty soil can be soaking in winter and dry during most of the summer.

Sandy soil - feels rough and gritty when handled and will not form distinct shapes like clay. It usually has a sandy brown colour and is easy to dig over. Water-logging is rare on such soils as they are very free-draining and, accordingly, watering and feeding of plants is needed on a regular basis. It is quick to warm up in the spring, so sowing and planting can be done earlier in the year than with clay or silty soil.

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening
Square foot gardening is the practice of planning and creating small but intensively planted gardens. The practice combines concepts from other organic gardening methods, including a strong focus on compost, densely planted raised beds and biointensive attention to a small, clearly defined area. 

This method is particularly well-suited for areas with poor soil, beginner gardeners or as adaptive recreation for those with disabilities (Bartholomew, 2005). The phrase "square foot gardening" was popularized by Mel Bartholomew in a 1981 Rodale Press book and subsequent PBS television series.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How to grow herbs in wooden boxes

How to grow herbs in wooden boxes

Living in the city can rob you off the basics like having a garden, growing fragrant flowers or herbs to have that fresh stock every time you cook. You might kill for a garden or even a homegrown tomato. But it doesn't have to come to that.

Vegetables can thrive in wooden boxes and crates for that matter. Wine boxes look the best. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps and you can have your little garden with homegrown herbs all year round. And what can be better, it's a portable garden.

Now, you can pluck your own vegetables and get addicted to the ease of picking your own herbs and tomatoes and lettuce for a fresh salad.

Waterproof the wooden boxes before you plan on using them. The concept is the same as having a vase. But remember while waterproofing, you don't want to use chemicals on your food containers, so no polyurethane. Some people suggest three coats of Danish oil and metal brackets to brace the corners.

Don't keep the boxes on the floor, have some elevation, maybe a wooden table. You still need to seal the table. You can line the table with a metal sheet if you like. Also, don't forget to drill holes in the table and in the bottom of the crates for drainage, and to lift the crates off the table just a bit, cut wine corks in half and place them underneath.

Now, all you need to do is add soil with manure. To be organic, use organic manure and there, your crates are ready for use. From a local nursery, buy the herbs or plants you want to grow and put it in the wine boxes.

Rome wasn't built in a day, neither are great gardens. It can also be a perfect family project. You can start with vegetables that are easy to grow and maintain. But the bottom line is, grow what you love to eat.

One final tip, consult your local gardener to find out about basic tips about growing herbs and maintaining the plant. Also, find out about timely clipping and when to change the soil or add more manure. You will need help, but the next time you want to make pasta, you know where to get your fresh herbs from. 

Herbs you can grow 

  • Coriander 
  • Lettuce
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon grass
Herbs you can grow

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

How To Grow An Avocado Tree

via Tip Nut

How To Grow An Avocado Tree

You can make some pretty tasty dishes with an avocado but did you know that you can grow a tree from it too? It probably won’t produce any fruit, but it is a nice addition to your home plant life.

For best chance of success, try this with a pit that has been taken from a very (very) ripe avocado that hasn’t been refrigerated. You may also want to start 2 or 3 at a time in case one fails.

Tip: If you have plenty of sunny locations in your home, you could start several of these in the early Fall and have a bunch to sell at your annual summer yard sale or donate to church raffles, team fundraisers, etc. Depending on what part of the country you live in, these can be hot sales items.


  • Wash all the flesh off the pit, pat dry and set aside for a couple days.
  • After the drying time, remove the skin and insert 3 toothpicks 1/2″ deep into the pit equally distant from each other around the fattest part (circumference).
  • Suspend in a dark glass (pointy side up) with the toothpicks resting on the rim of the glass.
  • Fill the glass with water until the bottom 1/3 of the pit is submerged.
  • Place glass in a sunny spot. Change water every two days so there’s fresh water instead of stagnant.
  • Once you have a 6 inch stem with a couple leaves (this will take several weeks), cut the stem down to 3 inches.
  • Wait several more weeks until you have a few stems with leaves, you’re then ready to plant. The roots should now be about 2″ long.
  • Taking a 10″ diameter pot, fill with good, well draining potting soil (sandy mix works great). Removing the toothpicks, plant the pit roots down (pointy end and stems up), the top of it should be level with the soil surface.
  • When soil is dry, water. Feed regularly with houseplant food once or twice a month.
  • If the leaves turn yellow, you’re watering it too much. If leaves turn brown, you’re not watering enough. If it looks sickly, make sure you’re feeding it.
  • If you want a bushy tree, pinch the leaves after it grows every 6 inches.
  • Can be left outside during the summer months.

Another Option:

Push pit into a mix of sand and potting soil (pointy side up) with the top half above soil surface. Keep the soil moist. Leave it in a sunny spot. Pinch new growth and care for as mentioned above.

Another Method:

Wrap in moist paper towel and place in a ziploc baggy, seal. Place bag in a warm, sunny spot or somewhere warm (ideas: top of fridge, your computer monitor, television, under sink). Once it starts sprouting and the roots are about 2″ long, proceed as noted above.

Animal Vaccines May Be Stalled by Shutdown, Livestock Groups Say

By Shruti Date Singh
Animal Vaccines May Be Stalled by Shutdown, Livestock Groups Say

A prolonged U.S. government shutdown may stall delivery of vaccines that poultry, cattle and hog companies need for food safety and animal health, three poultry groups said in a letter to congressional members today.

Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture who analyze samples from companies and approve the release of vaccines for commercial sale have been furloughed this week as part of the shutdown, according to a letter sent today by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and other members of Congress.

“Two weeks of stalled vaccine delivery will directly impact food safety, animal health and bio-security,” according to the letter. “Because producers hold limited supply of these vaccines, many of the large poultry, swine and cattle companies will be out of critical vaccine in a matter of days.”

Previously, the USDA deemed the function “essential” like federal inspectors at meat plants, according to the council’s website. So far the furloughed USDA employees haven’t affected operations among meat and poultry suppliers, which have access to stockpiles of vaccinations.
“Currently, there is enough supply in the system,” Farha Aslam, a New York-based analyst for Stephens Inc., said in a telephone interview today. “If the government shutdown is extended then animal-production systems could be impacted.”

Cargill, Sanderson

Cargill Inc., the second-largest beef producer and fourth-largest pork processor in the U.S., has at least a 60-day supply of vaccines available for its turkeys, hogs and cattle, Mike Martin, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based company, said in an e-mail today.

Sanderson Farms Inc. (SAFM), the third-largest U.S. chicken producer, expects its supplies to last more than two weeks, Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer of the Laurel, Mississippi-based company, said in an e-mail today.

“We have ample supplies on hand and have no reason to believe that our suppliers will be unable to produce already approved medications,” he said.

Matt Paul, a USDA spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Shruti Date Singh in Chicago at
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at

Monday, 7 October 2013

Management of rice blast disease

Management of rice blast disease

Rice blast is a fungal infestation known to occur in all the rice growing areas of the county. The disease attacks all the parts of the crop growing above the soil. It is broadly classified into three types, leaf, collar and neck blasts.

Initially elliptical or spindle shaped lesions occurs with brown borders and grey canters. Under favorable conditions, lesions enlarge and coalesce eventually killing the leaves. Leaf blast usually increases early in the season and then declines later as leaves become less susceptible.


Collar blast occurs when the pathogen infects the collar that can ultimately kill the entire leaf blade. The pathogen also infects the node of the stem known as node blast that turns blackish and breaks easily.

Neck blast occurs when the pathogen infects the neck of the panicle. The infected neck is girdled by a greyish brown lesion and the panicle falls over if the infection is severe. If neck blast occurs before the milk stage (rice forming stage), the entire panicle may die prematurely, leaving it white and completely unfilled.

Later infections may cause incomplete grain filling and poor milling quality.

Varietal resistant to blast is the most practical and economical approach for management. The most common resistant varieties are Aditya, CSR27, IR64, KRH2, Krishna, Hamsa, Naina, Pusa sugandha3, Rasi, Vasumati, PA6129, DRRH2, Dhan80, PR113, Swati, Narendra, Sumati, Swarnadhan, Triguna, Tulasi, IR-36 etc.


Use disease free seeds. Apply recommended dosage of nitrogen application in 3 to 4 splits and avoid final application in infested plots.

Burn previous crop residues if the crop is found infested. Early sowing helps prevent this infestation spread from neighbouring fields. Avoid water stagnation.

Treat seeds with Pseudomonas fluorescence 10g/lit of water for 30 min, dip the seedlings in Pseudomonas fluorescence 5gm/lit for 20 minutes before transplanting. Foliar spray of the Pseudomonas fluorescence 5gm/lit can be done at an interval of 15-20 days after transplanting.

(Mallikarjun Kenganal & V. R. Joshi, Assistant Professors, Plant Pathology, Agricultural Extension Education Centre, Koppal, Karnataka: 583 231, Ph: 09845364708, email: mallikarjun_nss@rediffmail. com)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Firewood Comparison Chart

Firewood Comparison Chart

Breeding and health management in dairy

Breeding and health management in dairy


Breeding and health management are the two key points for dairying to be profitable. There are two ways to increase the breeding efficiency of buffalo and cows.

First is selection of genetically superior females, free from any reproductive and systemic diseases, and no physical abnormalities, having yearly calving, good growth of calves and lower age at first calving.

Timely observance of heat and mating of females at appropriate time and pregnancy diagnosis can help improve reproductive efficiency and thus genetic progress.

Due importance

Artificial insemination is the most successful method for breed development and should be given due importance because maintaining a number of breeding bulls is a costly issue and reduces the rate of genetic improvement.

If farmers maintain breeding bulls then care should be taken to see that the animal conforms to the breed type and should be a progeny from high yielding breed.

The bull should be free from disease and vaccinated and tested for any infections regularly. Record keeping is a must for all breeding activities and milk production of the females in the herd.

Breeding bulls should be allowed to walk regularly and not kept tied so that they may not become fat and have problems in natural mating or in donating semen.


Special drive for vaccination against various contagious diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (F.M.D.), Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (H.S.), Black quarters disease (B.Q) etc. must be followed according to the schedule.

The animals should be served at the doorstep by local veterinarian and awareness created among the dairy livestock keepers. Free inputs should be made available for various diseases and for parasitic control.

This would certainly avoid the expenses incurred on routine treatment and production losses due to illness.

(Dr. Rajinder Singh is Senior Extension Specialist (animal sciences), Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences. Extension, Rohtak, email:, mobile: 09416495904 and Dr. K.S. Dangi is Director General, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying Haryana Chandigarh, email:, mobile no is 09876644619.)

The Hindu 

8 Fall Gardening Tips

By Adam Verwymeren
Fox News 
8 Fall Gardening Tips

The gardening season is coming to a close, but it’s not entirely over yet. If you’re an avid green thumb, you can still squeeze a little more out of the growing season.

 Here are some tips on how to get the most out of the end of the year and how to get your garden set up for next year.

Plant Bulbs For Spring Flowers

Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs like tulips, irises and crocuses, which need a winter freeze to start their growing process. By getting them in the ground now, you will ensure a colorful garden by early spring. For best results, plant bulbs once temperatures are in forties and fifties, but several weeks before the ground completely freezes.

Look for Discounts

Get a jump on next year’s garden by buying gardening equipment, seeds and plants at discounted prices. Many garden centers slash prices in the fall months to move unsold stock. Store seed packets in the freezer to keep them fresh, and keep discount seedlings going indoors until you can replant them next spring.

Repot Overgrown Plants

If a summer’s worth of growth has caused your plants to outgrow their homes, take some time this fall to replant them in larger containers. Dense or compacted soil, poor drainage, or roots creeping out of the bottom of a pot are sure signs that plants are root bound and struggling for more space.

Winter-Loving Plants

Depending on what region you live in, winter doesn’t have to be a dead season. Some hearty plants like kale, lettuce, broccoli and chard thrive in colder temperatures and can even tolerate the occasional frost. As long as snow stays off the ground and the temperatures don’t dip below freezing for too long, these plants will continue to grow, allowing you to garden into the winter months.

Plant Some Quick Growers

September isn’t too late to grow a final crop. Many vegetables can go from seed to table in as little as four to six weeks, giving you vegetables by late October or early November. Radishes can be grown in around 25 days, and some leafy greens like spinach take as little as 40 days to grow, so get in a final few vegetables before the frost sets in.

Plant Shrubs and Saplings

If you plan on adding trees and shrubs to your yard, fall is the best time to do it. By planting these plants in the fall, you’ll give their roots a chance to get established and avoid the withering effects of the summer sun. You’ll want to plant trees and shrubs in the ground a few weeks before the first frost, and if you live in an area with colder temperatures and heavy snows, wrap their  branches and leaves in burlap to protect them from their first winter.

Trim Perennials

Once your garden has gone to seed and perennial plants have run through their life cycle, it’s time to trim them back. Not only will it clean up an overgrown garden, but it will give the plants more energy next year, and limit potential garden problems like powdery mildew or insect infestations.

Fertilize the Lawn

While it might look like your lawn has shut down for the season, a little lawn care in the fall months will guarantee a lush, green garden next spring. Growth slows above the surface in autumn, but beneath the soil, your lawn is still hard at work establishing strong roots. Help it out this fall with a good mix of phosphorus-rich fertilizer, which helps strengthen roots.