"To enhance and institutionalize the e-Extension system in agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources for optimal application, utilization and exchange among users and partners."

Department Order No. 03 series of 2007 designates the Agricultural Training Institute as lead agency for the provision of e-Extension services in collaboration with the various agencies, bureaus and organizational units of the DA. This is to integrate and harmonize ICT-based extension delivery system for agriculture and fisheries.

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Agri and Fisheries News

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37 MILLION BEES FOUND DEAD AFTER PLANTING LARGE GMO CORN FIELD TREATED PESTICIDES

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 10:02
by Mr. Emerson Deñado.  

May 17, 2016 http://www.wuc-news.com
This is how GMO is making depopulation. 
Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada. The local bee keeper, Dave Schuit who produces honey in Elmwood lost about 37 million bees which are about 600 hives.
37-million-bees-dropped-dead-after-farms-in-ontario-canada-sprayed-neonictinoids-on-their-gmo-crops “Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. While many bee keepers blame neonicotinoids, or “neonics.” for colony collapse of bees and many countries in EU have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture fails to ban insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc.
Nathan Carey another local farmer says that this spring he noticed that there were not enough bees on his farm and he believes that there is a strong correlation between the disappearance of bees and insecticide use.
New research shows that neonicotinoid pesticides kill honeybees by damaging their immune system:
A new study published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that neonicotinoid pesticides kill honeybees by damaging their immune system and making them unable to fight diseases and bacteria.
The research team in Italy suggests that exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides results in increased levels of a protein in bees that prevents an important molecule involved in the immune system respond making bees more susceptible to be attacked by harmful viruses.
The findings of the leading author of the study, Francesco Pennacchio, and his colleagues show that millions of bees are dying because insecticides like neonicotinoid pesticides that are mainly suppressing the immune system of bees.
In fact, the research team discovered that a protein family similar to what found in other animals is responsible for regulating the immune response in bees. The researchers found out that once bees are exposed to lethal doses of the neonicotinoid clothianidin, the leucine-rich repeat protein family (known as LRR) can suppress the activity of a key protein involved in immune signalling, called NF-κB.
When the researchers infected bees (who were exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides) with a common pathogen known as deformed wing virus, there was a significant increase in replication of the virus. The virus is known to be common in bees but it’s kept under control by the bees’ immune system. However, the bees exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides have a little chance of survival since the insecticide suppresses the immune system of the bees.
“The reported effect on immunity exerted by neonicotinoids will allow additional toxicological tests to be defined to assess if chronic exposure of bees to sub-lethal doses of agrochemicals can adversely affect their immune system and health conditions,” says team member Francesco Nazzi of the University of Udine. “Moreover, our data indicate the possible occurrence in insects, as in vertebrates, of a neural modulation of the immune response. This sets the stage for future studies in this research area, and poses the question on how neurotoxic substances may affect the immune response.”
As much as biotech companies and their financial beneficiaries want to pretend that the problem has absolutely nothing to do with GMOs at all, but rather the pesticides, the fact is that 94% of GMO corn are treated with neonicotinoids and since the introduction of GMOs, the use of pesticides has increased by 500 million pounds:
Millions of bees die because of Neonicotinoid pesticides manufactured by Bayer and Syngenta and 94% of GMO corn in US is treated with either imidacloprid or clothianidin pesticides. As a matter of fact, majority of GM corn and soy are treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. Also, despite the false promises of biotech that GM crops will reduce the use of pesticides, the truth is that since introduction of GMOs, the use of pesticides have increased by 500 million pounds. In fact, according to the Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), 94 percent of U.S. corn seeds are treated with either imidacloprid or clothianidin and as a result, honey bees are subjected to increasingly toxic load of neonicotinoids in corn fields:http://seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/gmo-corn-treated-with-neonicotinoids-pesticides-manufactured-by-Bayer-Syngenta-kill-honeybees.php
While EU countries implant a two-year ban on the use of toxic neonicotinoid insecticides – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – USDA once again fails to ban these toxic insecticides:
More and more evidence are merging that neonicotinoid insecticides have an important role in decline of bees’ population. Besides harming bees, the new studies suggest that neonicotinoid pesticides can also be harmful to human’s health.Neonicotinoid pesticides remain in every part of the plant including roots, pollen, leaves and nectar and if bees, pests or bugs drink water from the plants’ droplets, the neurotoxin kills them right away.The genetic engineering has failed to keep its promise of using fewer pesticides and insecticides:
A report by Charles Benbrook (a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University) shows that since the introduction of GMOs, the use of chemicals have increased by 500 million pounds.
Didn’t biotech promise that GMOs would be helping the environment while feeding the poor and hungry? Well, GMOs have had the opposite results and have led to many problems in US and the world agriculture (from superweeds and superpests to spread of new diseases in the soil) and environment. While neonicotinoid class of pesticides destroys and damages the immune system of bees, Monsanto’s best herbicide weed killer continues to weaken the immune system in human beings.
However, US regulatory agencies including USDA and FDA fail to simply ban these toxic chemicals that are contaminating our air, water and food supply.
Source: 37 MILLION BEES FOUND DEAD AFTER PLANTING LARGE GMO CORN FIELD TREATED PESTICIDES

Producing pigs without antibiotics: How to do it?

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 09:43
by Mr. Emerson Deñado.  

Apr 29, 2016 http://www.pigprogress.netHigh standards of biosecurity and hygiene are amongst the most important measures needed to achieve pig production that is free from antibiotics use.Producing pigs without antibiotics: How to do it?
In late 2015, Australian research zoomed in on strategies that can help to reduce the usage of antibiotics as far as possible. The researchers were associated with Sunpork Farms and the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Australia. Their outcomes were published in Animal Production Science.
Increased disease and welfare problems
The authors state that they did not intend to argue the science or their opinion on the reasons behind the desire to reduce antibiotics. They did say, however, that banning the use of antimicrobials in some countries led to increased disease and welfare problems, so that is why it would be good to know 'under what conditions pigs can be produced without the use of antimicrobials'.
The authors state that they dived into published experimental challenge trials, field studies and risk factor analyses. "Disease prevention practices were examined - pathogen survival and transmission studies, vaccine and disinfectant efficacy studies and nutrition trials."
They added, "From these studies we collated the important practices that manage or prevent disease and improve pig health. We also reviewed new diagnostic assays and technologies to better monitor the pig and its environment at the herd level."
Known and understood for long
Many strategies are known and understood for a long time, the authors wrote. Apart from the application of high standards of biosecurity and hygiene to create the conditions for reduction of antimicrobial use, they sum up a range of other factors, important for preventing disease:
• Eradication or elimination of pathogens;• Minimising the mixing of pigs;• Cleaning and disinfection of pens and sheds;• Ventilation to improve air quality;• Reducing stocking density; and• Eliminating potential vectors of disease.
The researchers also point to health improving measures like vaccination and improved consistency of nutrition.
Diagnostic and vaccination tool development
In order to achieve antibiotic-free production, the scientists state that several technologies need further developing. They wrote, "The development of diagnostic technologies that correlate with disease and production will enable the detection of potential disease problems at the individual or herd level before disease outbreaks occur and before antimicrobials are needed."
They added, "The development of vaccination technologies for prevention of disease and diagnostic technologies that can be used on-farm to predict disease outbreaks are integral to safely moving towards antimicrobial-free pork."
They concluded, "Any move to antimicrobial-free production requires an acknowledgement that pig production costs may increase and that many pig production practices must change. Such changes must also ensure that animal welfare and food safety and quality standards are maintained or improved, and that reliable markets for the product are found."
Source: Producing pigs without antibiotics: How to do it?

Sea urchins’ grow-out culture worthy of investment

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 09:52
by Catheryn Villorente.  

businessdiary.com.ph : April 26, 2016
Notwithstanding its globular, spiny appearance, sea urchins (Tripneustes gratilla) have proven to be a lucrative shellfish industry worldwide. However, the high economic value of sea urchins prompted its depletion due to overexploitation. With this concern, the Bureau of Agriculture Research (BAR) included in the 7th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition, a featured seminar that discussed a BAR-funded project that is looking into the problems, solutions, and future of the sea urchin industry in the Philippines and its status for commercialization.
 The seminar was delivered by project leader, Ms. Amanda S. Galang, a senior aquaculturist of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Regional Fisheries Office I (BFAR-RFO I) in San Fernando, La Union. In her presentation, she said that the country is not spared the problem pertaining to unregulated harvesting of sea urchins. One of the solutions that they have come up with is the practice of grow-out culture. 
 Locally, known as ‘maritang-tang’ in the Ilocos region, ‘kuden-kuden’ in Pangasinan and ‘tuyom’ in the Visayas, the initial grow-out culture of sea urchins was undertaken in sea pens at Brgy. Nalvo, Ilocos Sur in 1998. Since then, BFAR-RFO 1 has been vigorously promoting the cage culture of sea urchins.
Grow-out culture simply means that the sea urchins are collected and raised to marketable size in bamboo pens installed on the reef flat. The grow-out cages are regarded as ‘mini-reproductive reserves’. Grow-out culture effectively protects seedstock species (juvenile sea urchins) from natural predators, increases survivorship to reproductive maturity and enhances recovery of depleted natural population. As observed upon the introduction of grow-out culture, with the increase of sea urchin in the area, there has been a remarkable growth also of other species such as sea cucumbers, indicating that the practice may also be contributing to the survival of other vulnerable animal life nearby.
For those who want to engage in sea urchin grow-out culture in cages, some general considerations need to be heeded before starting. First, avoid building cages in area with very low salinity because this is stressful for sea urchins and may result in mass mortality. Second, cages should be ideally situated in a sheltered area where wild T. gratilla are naturally found. Third, avoid areas prone to ‘kulaba’ or water poison. Fourth, stock the cages with fresh Sargassum (brown algae) regularly even if some food still remains. This is to ensure that urchins feed at maximum rates and consequently grow fast and develop large gonads. Finally, for beginners, the UP-MSI recommends to start with about 3-4 grow-out cages, each with approximately 1000 – 5000 seedstock species (about 25-500 individuals per square meter).
When harvesting, keep in mind that bigger urchins command a better price. Thus, it is stressed that only the biggest urchins should be harvested.
Production of sea urchins under grow-out culture promotes resource conservation for it prevents further depletion of sea urchins and, at the same time, provides an alternative source of livelihood to the community. Sea urchins fishery is a good livelihood because there is always a demand for the roe or gonads (the edible part of urchins) and is a high value product in the local and foreign markets. In the international market, Japan is the world’s largest importer and consumer of roe (or uni in Japan). It is noted that during year 2000, roe was the most expensive marine product in the Tokyo central wholesale market. It is also considered a premium marine food delicacy in Korea, Greece, France, and New Zealand. In the domestic market, roe is considered a delicacy and is sold to specialty restaurants. The live sea urchin is sold at P60.00 – P70.00 per kilogram while the fresh chilled sea urchin roe fetches P1000.00 – P1200.00 per kilogram.
Aside being a food source, the shells of sea urchins can be used as fertilizer and as raw material for novelty items like candleholders.
Ms. Galang remarked that there are still issues that need immediate attention and long-term solutions such as the proper cage design and size, inadequate supply of juveniles at the start of project, sustainable harvest of sargassum, and poaching. Further interventions are therefore needed by the industry.

Source: http://businessdiary.com.ph/6645/sea-urchins-grow-culture-worthy-investment/

New Research Shows Sows Prefer Cooler Temperatures

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 09:31
by Emerson Deñado.  

21 April 2016 http://www.thepigsite.com/ CANADA - Research conducted by the Prairie Swine Centre shows, given the choice, group housed sows will tend to select lower temperatures, writes Bruce Cochrane.In recognition of the move to group sow housing scientists with Prairie Swine Centre are exploring the value of technology that allows the sows to regulate the temperature of their environment.The technology is designed to take advantage of the ability of group housed sows to move around and to tolerate lower temperatures.Dr. Bernardo Predicala, a Research Scientist Engineering with the Prairie Swine Centre, explains scientists developed a supplemental heating system that allows the sows to use a switch to increase the temperature of the room.Dr. Bernardo Predicala-Prairie Swine Centre:We tried this in rooms with about 40 sows in each room.One room is controlled like a typical gestation room with a preset temperature of about 16.5 degrees while, in the other room, we installed this operant mechanism so the sows actually control the operation of the heaters there.Whatever the resulting temperature that is maintained there is what we see as preferred by the sows.Overall the sow-controlled room, the temperature is about 5 degrees lower compared to the other room with a preset temperature and that translates into about 7 to 8 percent reduction in energy used in that room.78 percent reduction can be significant.Depending on the size of the unit, then it could be a big contribution to the overall utility cost for the total operation so a big reduction.7 to 8 percent could be a big saving in terms of the financial situation for the operation.Dr. Predicala says trials have completed over 2 winters and 1 more trial is planned this coming winter.He says scientists are also planning to apply the same method to allow the sows to operate heat mitigation mechanisms during the summer.
Source: New Research Shows Sows Prefer Cooler Temperatures