A Fascinating study about sheep

A new study has revealed that ewe and rams are able to differentiate one another’s facial expressions. With people, they are not able to differentiate between a happy and unhappy sheep, but according to the study, the animals are able to do that https://www.sruc.ac.uk/news/article/1989/here_s_looking_at_ewe. According to researchers at the Scotland Rural College, discovered that facial expressions are important when it comes to affecting the cognitive process of the small ruminants like sheep and goats. The study which incorporated French National Institute for Agriculture Research revealed that sheep can distinguish between negative and neutral facial expressions among themselves. When you compare to other primates, sheep are seen not to have a developed oro-facial musculature, though they are able to show a wide range of facial expressions, more pertaining the ear posture.

Concerning differentiating emotions, it is perceived that if the animals have the ability to perceive emotions in others, then this has an influence on their own emotions. The study was led by Dr. Bellegarde and was published in Frontier in a veterinary science journal. Dr. Bellegarde said that the study indicated that for the inaugural time rams can be able to know and differentiate between what is neutral and negative and facial expressions.

The research covered a range of situations to get reliable results. This saw the exercise photographed sheep in three situations that include sheep’s home, in social isolation and in the social interactions. Then sheep were trained in a simultaneous visual discrimination task. Regarding this, sheep were required to relate one type of the facial expression with a reward. A half of the sheep were assigned with the task of associating the image of a negative facial expression with the reward whereas the other group was to associate the neutral one. At the end of the exercise, all the sheep managed to discriminate the task with the image faces, an indication that sheep are able to discriminate between different facial expressions.

Creating a Sustainable Community on Mars is One Step Closer Thanks to NASA Research

For as long as mankind has ruled the Earth, there has been some type of farming to produce food. The basic necessities are commonly recognized as soil, water, and sunlight in order for a seed to thrive and grow. NASA researchers are working on the ability to create a viable solution for growing plants outside of the Earth’s perfect conditions. The project is called Food for Mars and Moon.

In the study, scientists created used “Mars-like” soil and silver sand and then added a Mars soil stimulant that included manure. The results were exciting, not only were the plants able to grow in what would probably be considered adverse conditions to any traditional farmer, but there was an additional surprise that researchers did not expect but were thrilled to discover. Two earthworms were found in the Mars-like soil. This is the very first recorded example of reproduction in a Mars-like simulation.

The purpose of this study is clear, NASA is planning for a future that may include civilization on our moon or the planet Mars. There are no current known food sources outside of Earth which is the primary concern after breathable air and safe conditions for any interplanetary habitation. Initial testing showed that with the addition of pig manure the Mars-like soil outperformed the silver sand from Earth. This may seem like a small, insignificant result, but it opens the doors to further studies and, possibly, eventual success in farming on another planet.

Project Food for Mars and Moon is self-explanatory. NASA scientists are working to find an effective solution to growing food outside of Earth in unfavorable conditions in order to sustain long-term human life. Initial findings suggest that with the help of a Mars soil stimulant plants can be grown. Further studies will continue research with a special focus on how earthworms were able to reproduce under Mars-like conditions. One day, if a new civilization in erected on another planet these findings will have provided crucial help in long-term sustainability.

How Agricultural Technology Is Improving Efficiency in Farming

The agricultural technology industry is growing at a very fast pace. Drones are now being used to collect data from farms, and this is proving to be very efficient as drones are fast and not expensive to use. This is also one of the reasons why the number of farmers who are using drone technology is growing by the day. Many companies are gaining interest in the agricultural technology field because of the potential in the industry. Besides drones and robotics, companies are also specializing in smart irrigation and sensors among other categories of agricultural technology.

The developments in the industry are bound to have a huge impact on farming and agriculture all over the world. This is because it will be easier for farmers to collect information about soil conditions, climate, and so much more, which will enable them to make more informed decisions and ultimately result in better produce, both in terms of quality and quantity. Tasks that previously needed several workers and so much time to complete can now be done in less time and without the need for so many workers.

Farmers will, therefore, be able to make huge savings on labor costs thanks to the advancements in agricultural technology. This is especially so for very big farms which can be difficult to manage if everything is done manually. All farm activities will be streamlined and everything will be done much more efficiently with agricultural technology. Some of the equipment that is already being used by farmers all over the world includes automatic planters and automatic harvesters.


Farmers are already enjoying the immense benefits of advancements in agricultural technology. With more companies joining the field, things are only bound to get better. And everyone will benefit from this because the quality of produce will improve and the cost savings will definitely be passed on to consumers.

The Future Of Agriculture May Be Through Vertical Farming

Due to modern technology, a twenty-foot farm currently exists inside a climate-controlled cylinder. Despite the fact this sounds exactly like science fiction, the concept is real. Instead of the typical farm requiring acres and acres, farms of the future will be contained inside light-controlled and climate-controlled cylinders. These farms have the capability to grow strawberries and lettuce. They additionally require less water and land, light is provided throughout the year and the necessary moisture is perfectly controlled.

Plenty is the company in California who developed this concept. Last week they announced they are planning to open a farm in Kent, Washington encompassing 100,000 square-feet. The farm will be just south of Seattle, and the intention is to grow backyard quality and pesticide free produce for their regional customers. This is the first full-scale farm established by this startup. For more details regarding this venture, please visit Your text to link….

All the vegetables, fruits and plants will be growing inside towers twenty-feet tall. These towers will consist of LED lights and a climate-controlled facility. Plenty will not be using any pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, GMO’s or herbicides within these towers. Their alternative is thousands of sensors and infrared cameras to collect data. The data will then be analyzed so the optimization of the plants growth can be assured.

According to Plenty, their technology has a yield as high as 350 times more than traditional agriculture. They use hardly any land and only one percent of the water necessary for conventional methods of agriculture. These facts were released in a company press release. This is a lot more than wishful thinking because Plenty has numerous savvy investors including the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. He recently took over Whole food for an investment of $14 billion. Although it is not currently on a large scale, hydroponic farming currently exists. Research shows the future of global agriculture may be hydroponic farming. The company believes this combines the benefits of high yields and local outdoor farming.

Drones: Farm Implement Of The Future That Is Here Now

Farming has long been associated with machines like tractors, plows, cultivators and combines – but high-tech drones which fly over fields may soon become as indispensable to modern agriculture as traditional farm implements.

It starts with something called “precision agriculture.” This a farm management concept that relies heavily on observing crops, fields and soil from the air – from space-based satellite imaging — but now also increasingly using data gathered from low-flying drones.

Aerial sensing with drones can provide farmers with an amazing amount of information about what is going on with the make-up and content of soil, but also the progress of crops as they grow week-to-week.

Japan has already been using drones for years to manage rice crops. Farmers in the United States are just beginning to catch on to this way of gathering information about land and crops. The payoff can be truly astounding.

For example, the fertility of a given field of soil can vary widely in terms of where fertilizer is concentrated as opposed to where soil is depleted. Using remote sensing with enhanced drone imaging techniques, farmers can now stop wasting fertilizer application where it is not needed and concentrate on those areas that do.

The standard practice for farmers has been to simply spread the same amount of fertilizer across an entire field. But now a view from above can easily show how inefficient and wasteful the old “blind” way applying fertilizer has been.

That’s just one example of how sending drones out over fields can “harvest” vast amount of knowledge that enable operators to work more efficiently.

Other uses of drones include monitoring fields for areas of weed proliferation throughout the growing season. This allows pinpoint methods to attack weeds only where they are a problem. Another use of drone-enabled sensing it to keep track of insect predation and plants diseases, such as wheat scab or various other fungal infections common to crops.

Farming has always been a labor of the land — but now it’s taken to the air, as well.

Technology Is Making A Positive Difference On Agriculture

America’s food supply is incredibly important and has become synonymous with orange trees and wheat farms. Almost one third of all food produced is wasted each year translating to a $940 billion global hit. There are too many inefficiencies in planting, trucking, the use of water and harvesting. This is compounded by pests, weather and consumer demand. Inadequate labeling and packaging are leading to waste and illnesses are being caused by pathogens in the food. Emerging technologies can provide solutions for these problems. As big data takes its place in agriculture the food chain is being revolutionized.

Sensors used on crops and fields can provide soil conditions, fertilizer requirements, information on the wind, the availability of water and any infestations by pests. GPS units used for trucks and tractors are a vital factor in the determination of the best usage of heavy equipment. Spoilage can be prevented by using data analytics so products can be moved more efficiently and quickly. Fields can be patrolled by drones and unmanned aerial vehicles so farmers are alerted of potential issues or ripened crops. RFID traceability systems provide data streams on a farm products as they go through the chain of supply. The growth rates and nutrients of individual plants can be monitored. Analytics help determine the crops that should be planted and take profitability and sustainability into consideration. For more details about the future of agriculture please visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/timsparapani/2017/03/23/how-big-data-and-tech-will-improve-agriculture-from-farm-to-table/#6fe5ae0e5989.

Packaging sensors will be used by consumers to detect spoiling food and verify freshness and integrity. Algorithms will create new recipes based on a pantry’s contents. There are already several startups creating a scanner the size of a finger to describe the composition of your dinner including the nutrients and ingredients. New technology will help consumers who are health conscious or have allergies or sensitivities.

The Impact of Technology in Agriculture

The United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance indicated that technology is not specifically about faster and better ways of doing things, but also about sustainability. Farmers have not been left behind when it comes to technological development. Innovations such as terrain contour mapping, moisture sensors, self-driving tractors and smart irrigation are gaining popularity among ranchers and farmers. The developments will positively impact farming, leading to sustainable farming for the ever growing population.

Investments in agriculture technology are continuously on the rise, with AgTech companies earning over $1.75 billion in the first six months of 2016. Farmers of today apply a heavy mix of math, data, software, and hardware in developing analyses that are beyond what the eyes can see. The wellness of the crops can also be assessed through multispectral analysis, where the rates at which plants absorb different wavelengths of sunlight are used to form conclusions.

A survey by USFRA indicates that 56 percent of consumers expect ranchers to employ innovations that help conserve the environment. The CEO of USFRA, Mr. Randy Krotz, added that most consumers understand the impact of innovations in the improvement of lives. He also noted that the U.S agricultural sector is applying technology to create more sustainable and smarter versions of the family farm.

Agriculture can be the joining factor between the benefits of using technology and the acceptance of innovation that is part of the day to day lives of consumers. SMART farms use technology and data to become more equipped and efficient in protecting the planet’s limited resources while ensuring adequate food supply. This is the very definition of sustainability and continual improvement.

Agribusiness Industry Welcomes Trump’s Focus on American Waterways

President Trump’s initiative to highlight America’s crumbling infrastructure this week has reminded the agribusiness sector on the importance of water for farmers. Not the water to grow the produce, but the water used to move crops to the world’s export market.


  1. S. farmers and agribusiness sector depend heavily on an aging river system to move grains and produce to the global export market. The nation’s river ways have not seen structural changes or updates to their lock and dam systems in over 50 years.


Agribusiness grain exports such as Cargill, Inc. and Archer Daniel Midland have experienced frequent breakdowns and idled boat crews which add to the transportations cost, reports the Wall Street Journal.


The Trump Administration is proposing to help finance $1 trillion in infrastructure projects for the nation’s airports, seaports, and bridges. American farmers are hoping some of this proposed spending will fix the 242 locks and dams along America’s rivers.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the federal agency charged with maintaining American riverways. The agency released its proposed 2018 fiscal year budget which includes $2.098 billion for “the study, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of inland and coastal navigation projects. Small ports and riverways with the most active commercial traffic are a priority in the proposed budget.


The Waterways Council, Inc., which has been advocating for infrastructure spending on inland waterways, has estimated that $8.7 billion is needed immediately to begin to address the poorly maintained lock and dam system.


“Our majestic waterways deliver grain, construction material, and energy products,” states the WCI. “They power commerce, provide jobs, and are a farmer’s lifeline.”


Changes in Agriculture Good for Consumers

If you step back in time to the 1900, then 40 percent of America’s population lived on farms and almost everyone lived in a rural area. Today, only one percent of people live on a farm and only 20 percent live in a rural area. Yet, thanks to innovative technology, those farmers are growing more food than ever before and using less natural resources to do it, according to an article recently published in the NY Times.

Today’s farmers are planting about 80.5 million acres of corn. In order to grow the same amount of corn in 1950, it would have taken 228 million acres. Today, farmers are planting 81.8 million acres in soybeans. In 1950 in order to get the same crop they would have had to plant 101.7 million acres. Wheat is planted on 47.1 million acres today compared to 56.9 million acres in 1950. Yet, the same amount of wheat is harvested by farmers.

The same can be said for farmers that are raising livestock. Today, 29. 3 million beef cows are raised to produce the same amount of food that farmers had to raise an additional 15.3 million in the 1950s. On farms across the United States, farmers are raising 9.3 million milk cows that provide the same amount of milk as 39.3 million milk cows in 1950.

America does not need as many farmers today as it did in the past. Large farmers produce 80 percent of all food sold to grocery stores today. In fact, 4 percent of farmers each making over $1 million in sales account for 66 percent of all food sold to grocery stores.

These large farmers use technology so that they can produce more food on less land. They rely on technology to provide them with information about soil nutrients, soil moisture and productivity to make wise decisions on what to plant and how much fertilizer needs to be applied to a particular area in a field. They use GPS driven tractors to plant a variety of seeds in the sane field so that harvests can be maximized.

The future is bright for growing food in the United States. The largest land owner in the United States is John Malone who currently owns over 2.2 million acres. Most of it is in Kansas where he just purchased additional acres that had belonged to the Land Trust Preservation. This land was used to test plants that could produce crops perennially instead of farmers having to replant each year.




Genetic Engineering Could Turn Agricultural Virus Into Useful Weapon

An agricultural virus that was once feared by citrus farmers may turn out to be the best hope for an industry that is desperately trying to tackle an even more serious problem. It is through the marvels of genetic engineering that one virus has been modified for the purpose of destroying the other one.

The citrus tristeza virus, or CTV, had previously caused trouble for citrus farmers, but the disease has been eclipsed by the problem of citrus greening. Produced by a specific type of bacteria and spread by certain flying insects, citrus greening causes trees to produce fruits that are greenish and misshapen in appearance and bitter in taste. Although the disease had been reported in other parts of the world, citrus greening was first observed in the United States in 2005 and has since ravaged the fruit-growing regions of the South.

In battling greening, one produce company plans to graft tree limbs containing the modified CTV virus. The firm has requested permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to employ this technique, which will have to be reviewed to determine whether it poses any environmental risks. If approved, this will be the first commercial use of CTV as a sort of inoculation to deal with another type of agricultural disease. More information about the CTV technique is available at www.reddit.com/agriculture.

Using other types of genetic engineering, farmers have been able to provide some protection to their citrus products. One method allowed growers to produce a reasonable number of sweet and round oranges, provided that the trees were properly maintained. An engineered form of spinach has also shown success in dealing with citrus greening. If successful, the CTV technique may help reduce the stigma that has in the past been associated with genetic engineering. Since the method does not actually alter the fruits that are produced from the modified trees, some farmers could in fact claim the final products are not in themselves genetically engineered, which could be an important selling point.

The entire process could take at least two years to yield results, with time being the greatest enemy to citrus farmers. Many hope that the technique will prove successful in wiping out citrus greening before the disease wipes out the industry.