Friday, 27 April 2012

HARVEST PREDICTION توقعات انتاج الحبوب هذه السنه

These satellite image sof vegetation growth in Erbil in 2012 shows a huge reduction in growth compared to that of 2010 when there was a good harvest. This predicts that the harvest this year will be poor with only 25-30% of the harvest being realized and there will be a huge reduction in wheat and little if any barley for livestock.
We have little in the way of official records for rainfall yet what figures there are indicate that there has been less rain this season and the satellite imagery supports that data. There will therefore expect a marked reduction in the tonnage of local wheat and barley reaching the silos this year. The government needs to ensure that records are kept of the exact quantity and origin, (i.e. farms and localities), of local grain reaching the silos and that action is taken to ensure that grain, imported by traders, is not bought into the silos as local crops and advantage taken of the available subsidies. In addition it is vital that the government should takes steps now to purchase barley for distribution to livestock farmers to safeguard their flocks and herds and avoid mass slaughtering of stock.

 It is time for the Ministries of Agriculture and Trade in both Iraq and Kurdistan to face this ‘wake-up call’ and begin to closely monitor the production of cereals, and other crops, keep reliable records of meteorological conditions such including rainfall and temperature to form a database for crop forecasts. It is possible to collect data of the amount of land each farmer plants with cereals, and other crops, support and monitor the farmer throughout, and record the harvest produced. Assisting each farm to increase produce and by keeping records and collecting data reliable predictions of harvest can be made. What we have instead is that the media are told that there will be ‘a good harvest’ or ‘more grain reaches the silos than last year’, when there are no records of where the grain actually came from!

Obtaining and keeping data is an essential process that should be carried out by government departments and is the norm in developed and developing countries. Indeed in Europe it is possible to for government legislation to allow the tracing of produce, whether animal or vegetable, from source to supermarket shelf. Indeed in most European countries shoppers can now expect to find locally produced meat, vegetables and fruit not only carrying details of the area where it was produced but indeed the name of the farm that it came from. If this is what can be achieved then surely here we can at least expect reliable records to be kept by government departments and action taken when poor harvests are foreseen.        
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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Foot and Mouth Disease, Gaza Strip, Cows

22 Apr -2012
Foot and Mouth, Gaza Strip, Cows

We are informed that FMDV serotype SAT-2 has been identified (ELISA test) by the World Reference Laboratory for FMD (WRLFMD) at Pirbright (UK) in a sample from clinically suspected cattle in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestinian Autonomous Territories (PAT). This confirms the initial diagnosis performed by the FMD laboratory of the Kimron Veterinary Institute (KVI) at Beit-Dagan, Israel. Following the initial diagnosis of a sample obtained as FMDV SAT2, the KVI laboratory sent the sample to WRLFMD

FAO recently issued an alert on Egypt and Libya,

FAO recently issued an alert on Egypt and Libya, both hit by foot-and-mouth disease

Since issuing an emergency alert on 22 March about the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Egypt and Libya, FAO has been engaging countries throughout the region to provide support in preventing the spread of FMD. According to FAO analysis of formal and informal trade movements, the outbreaks in eastern Libya in the Benghazi area and widespread outbreak reports throughout Egypt are two separate introductions of the SAT2 strain, brought northward via formal and informal trade movements of livestock from the arid Sahel region that spans the African continent just below the Sahara desert.

“The various situations of insecurity that have been brought on by civil unrest compounded by another year of failed rains in much of the Sahel is the driving force in increased migrations as herders search for pasture and markets for their animals,” said Juan Lubroth, the FAO’s chief veterinary officer.

Meat prices have been considerably higher in Libya than in other areas, for example, so herders would tend to move their animals to where they will sell for a higher price. In some cases, populations are simply fleeing conflict, such as we’ve recently seen in Mali, and they bring their life savings with them in the form of their animals.

To date, FAO has been involved in the following initiatives to address FMD:

  • Development of a regional emergency response plan (Regional Strategy) with consultation with countries at risk of eastward spread of SAT2 from Egypt, and westward spread from Libya into Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco;
  • Implementing this plan through activities of the FAO/OIE’s Crisis Management Centre for Animal Health (CMC-AH) and the EuFMD Commission, with a focus on training for early detection of SAT2 in neighbouring countries and technical support to Egypt to manage the SAT2 epidemic;
  • Between 27-29 March, a previously scheduled meeting to review the progress on FMD control in the West Eurasia region was adapted to include urgent discussions among countries that are at risk to the east of Egypt. Movements of animals from the Nile Delta eastward through the Sinai Peninsula and north into the Gaza Strip have been deemed the highest risk for the spread of the SAT2 FMD virus strain into the wider Middle East region. The Gaza Strip shares a narrow border with Egypt, which is seen as a possible risk for introduction of SAT2 beyond Egypt’s borders;
  • From 4-5 April, FAO presented the regional emergency response plan for foot-and-mouth disease control at a meeting of the REMESA network of chief veterinary officers and veterinary officials from North Africa and southern European countries. REMESA is the Mediterranean Animal Health Network originally established to combat the spread of avian influenza when it reached the African continent in 2006;
  • As part of the decisions made at the REMESA meeting, the FAO/OIE’s Crisis Management Centre for Animal Health (CMC-AH) is arranging for a mission to Libya with the aim of taking additional virus samples so that vaccines can be matched against them for the maximum efficacy of eventual vaccination campaigns;
  • The CMC-AH will also decide together with the Libyan veterinary services exactly what additional assistance will be needed to support Libya in controlling foot-and-mouth disease. The emergency team is expected to depart imminently;
  • From 10-12 April, FAO/EuFMD trained veterinarians from the region in taking virus samples and diagnostic methods to identify the SAT2 strain of foot-and-mouth disease. A supply of ELISA diagnostic kits, which are easy to use, were also supplied to veterinarians for use in the areas at highest risk in Egypt and countries to its east, including Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, including the West Bank;
  • FAO and EuFMD is negotiating to find sources for vaccines in the event of further spread of foot-and-mouth disease and a worsening of the situation.
Independent of the FAO’s activity, Israel has implemented targeted vaccination along its southern borders, to create a buffer zone of protection for the animal herds most at risk. Israel is supporting the Gaza Strip by making 20 000 vaccine doses available immediately from its own supplies, to cover valuable cattle. A further 40 000 doses will be made available for the small ruminant population (mostly sheep and goats).

Israel is arranging to bring in additional doses to revaccinate when and where it will be most helpful, either within the country or by sharing vaccines with neighbours.

Foot-and-mouth disease affects all cloven-hoofed animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo and pigs. It causes serious production losses and can be lethal, particularly to younger animals. Meat and milk from sick animals are unsafe for consumption, not because FMD affects humans, but because foodstuffs entering the food chain should only come from animals that are known to be healthy.

بدء تحصين الماشية لمرض " الحمى القلاعية" فى مصر

الأحد، 22 أبريل 2012
اليوم السابع

أكد الدكتور عصام عبد الشكور رئيس الإدارة المركزية للإرشاد بهيئة الخدمات البيطرية بوزارة الزراعة، بدء التحصين ضد الحمى القلاعية باللقاح الجديد الذى تم إنتاجه محليا فى معمل المصل واللقاح بالعباسية بالتعاون مع شركة "فإكسيرا" القابضة التابعة لوزارة الصحة، والذى ثبت فاعليته بشكل أكبر من اللقاح المستورد فى ثلاثة محافظات وهى "الإسماعيلية والوادى الجديد والتجمعات السليمة فى محافظة والبحيرة".

ولفت عبد الشكور إلى أنه سوف يتم التحصين ضد العترة سات2 والعترتين المتوطنتين بمصر وهما A وO، كما سيتم التحصين ضد حمى الوادى المتصدع بالنسبة لكافة المواشى، وهى من ضمن الإمراض المتوطنة بمصر.

وقال رئيس الإدارة المركزية للإرشاد بالخدمات البيطرية، انه قد تم توزيع 600 ألف جرعة بعدد 11 محافظة كمرحلة أولية من المصنعة محليا والمتفق علية من بين 2 مليون جرعة، مشيرا إلى أن هناك تكثيفا من قبل اللجان الطبية البيطرية لتوعية المربيين وأصحاب الحيوانات بأهمية تنفيذ إجراءات الأمان الحيوى لمعالجة ووقاية الحيوانات السليمة من الإصابة بمرض الحمى القلاعية سات2 والسيطرة على المرض قبل انتشاره وإرشادات بالتطعيم.

وأكد مصدر مسئول بالخدمات البيطرية فى تصريحات لــ"اليوم السابع"، أن هيئة الخدمات البيطرية قررت تطعيم قطعان الماشية ضد القلاعية بمختلف المحافظات، بعد الاطمئنان على المواشى التى تم تلقيحها ونتج عنها تورم لمدة 4 أيام، لافتا إلى أن التورم الذى يحدث بعد التلقيح يؤكد صلاحية اللقاح المنتج محليا خصوصا بعد الاطمئنان على انتهاء الورم البلحى بعد مدة لا تتجاوز 4 أيام.

وقال المصدر إن الهيئة أعطت تعليمات لمنتجى اللقاح بضرورة كتابة الآثار التى تحدث جراء استخدام اللقاح، حتى لا يسبب التورم حالة من الهلع لدى صغار المربين، خاصة أن الورم الناتج عن الطعم لن يكون له اثر بعد مرور 4 أيام من تلقيح الماشية.

وكانت هيئة الخدمات البيطرية بوزارة الزراعة أعلنت عن بداية التطعيم ضد الحمى القلاعية نهاية الأسبوع الحالى بعد التأكد من فعاليات اللقاح المنتج، والتأكد من سلامة المواشى التى تم تلقيحها فى مراحل التجريب.

تقارير مصرية

الخدمات البيطرية: بدء تحصين الماشية لمرض "القلاعية" فى ثلاثة محافظات

الأحد، 22 أبريل 2012 - 11:15
كتب عز النوبى
أكد الدكتور عصام عبد الشكور رئيس الإدارة المركزية للإرشاد بهيئة الخدمات البيطرية بوزارة الزراعة، بدء التحصين ضد الحمى القلاعية باللقاح الجديد الذى تم إنتاجه محليا فى معمل المصل واللقاح بالعباسية بالتعاون مع شركة "فإكسيرا" القابضة التابعة لوزارة الصحة، والذى ثبت فاعليته بشكل أكبر من اللقاح المستورد فى ثلاثة محافظات وهى "الإسماعيلية والوادى الجديد والتجمعات السليمة فى محافظة والبحيرة".

ولفت عبد الشكور إلى أنه سوف يتم التحصين ضد العترة سات2 والعترتين المتوطنتين بمصر وهما A وO، كما سيتم التحصين ضد حمى الوادى المتصدع بالنسبة لكافة المواشى، وهى من ضمن الإمراض المتوطنة بمصر.

وقال رئيس الإدارة المركزية للإرشاد بالخدمات البيطرية، انه قد تم توزيع 600 ألف جرعة بعدد 11 محافظة كمرحلة أولية من المصنعة محليا والمتفق علية من بين 2 مليون جرعة، مشيرا إلى أن هناك تكثيفا من قبل اللجان الطبية البيطرية لتوعية المربيين وأصحاب الحيوانات بأهمية تنفيذ إجراءات الأمان الحيوى لمعالجة ووقاية الحيوانات السليمة من الإصابة بمرض الحمى القلاعية سات2 والسيطرة على المرض قبل انتشاره وإرشادات بالتطعيم.

وأكد مصدر مسئول بالخدمات البيطرية فى تصريحات لــ"اليوم السابع"، أن هيئة الخدمات البيطرية قررت تطعيم قطعان الماشية ضد القلاعية بمختلف المحافظات، بعد الاطمئنان على المواشى التى تم تلقيحها ونتج عنها تورم لمدة 4 أيام، لافتا إلى أن التورم الذى يحدث بعد التلقيح يؤكد صلاحية اللقاح المنتج محليا خصوصا بعد الاطمئنان على انتهاء الورم البلحى بعد مدة لا تتجاوز 4 أيام.

وقال المصدر إن الهيئة أعطت تعليمات لمنتجى اللقاح بضرورة كتابة الآثار التى تحدث جراء استخدام اللقاح، حتى لا يسبب التورم حالة من الهلع لدى صغار المربين، خاصة أن الورم الناتج عن الطعم لن يكون له اثر بعد مرور 4 أيام من تلقيح الماشية.

وكانت هيئة الخدمات البيطرية بوزارة الزراعة أعلنت عن بداية التطعيم ضد الحمى القلاعية نهاية الأسبوع الحالى بعد التأكد من فعاليات اللقاح المنتج، والتأكد من سلامة المواشى التى تم تلقيحها فى مراحل التجريب.

Soils Are a Crucial Frontier among the Applied Biological Sciencesعلم التربه

Soils Are a Crucial Frontier among the Applied Biological Sciences

By Dr. Mohammed Sa’id Berigari, Senior Soil and Environmental Scientist, USA, 04/22/2012
The US suffered major dust storms, causing loss of great quantities of topsoil and human lives 75 years ago when the Soil Science Society of America was established.  These catastrophic events created public awareness that soils are essential to the well-being of the society and led to founding Soil Conservation service.  Farmers were enticed to implement erosion control practices at a time when many soil processes were still poorly understood.  In this paper an argument is presented that the current status of soils worldwide parallels that of the United States 75 years ago.  In spite of remarkable progress in our understanding of soil processes during the last few decades, many aspects of soils still remain unanswered that need refocused research.  Pointing out these persistent “islands of ignorance” would be very helpful in alerting public opinion about the importance of soils, enticing more students to study soils, and influencing policy –making relative to soil degradation and conservation worldwide.
1.     Soils Impacts on Society
Dust bowls also occurred in the last decade in other parts of the world far from the US. A vivid example is the dust bowls occurred in China in the northwestern provinces of Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, and Xinjiang that plowed great areas of marginal lands.  And those provinces  were additionally suffering from overplowing and overgrazing the lands after 1994, when the Chinese Government decided to require that all cropland used for construction be offset by land reclaimed elsewhere(Yang and Li, 2000).  Inner Mongolia led a 22% cropland expansion.  Moreover, following economic reforms of 1978, livestock population in the region grew rapidly, often far above the land’s carrying capacity. A direct result of these two trends is that soils have deteriorated, wind erosion intensified, and once seldom, seasonal dust storms became a far more common events.  In April 2001, one of the worst dust storms hit Beijing and then moved eastward, eventually blanketing areas from Canada to Arizona with a layer of dust. Other dust storms have continued since.  On March 20/2010 another massive sandstorm went from arid lands of Inner Mongolia to China.  The yellow dust reduced visibility and air quality to harmful levels in Beijin, the nation’s capital, delaying flights at Beijing’s Airport and creating a dust warning in Seoul, before reaching Taiwan and Japan.
The wide spread dust storms in Australia, Africa, and China and other parts of Asia are clear manifestation of worldwide soil erosion.   The frequent brown plumes at estuaries, where sediment –laden river waters enter oceans, are unmistakable displays of grand -scale soil erosion.   Yet, as Montgomery (2007) pointed out soil erosion is far more widespread than that just mentioned above. He estimated that we are now losing about 1% of topsoil per year to soil erosion, most of it caused by agriculture.  The evidence exists everywhere that we are skinning the earth.  We see that in the brown streams running from construction sites and in sediments-choked rivers downstream from clear cut forests.  We see it where farmers’ tractors detour around gullies, where mountain bikes jump with deep channels carved into dirt roads, and where new suburbs and strip malls pave fertile lands.  And if it gets worse than it is now, it could periodically interrupt air transportation, cause major health problems, or halt navigation in many rivers.
2.      Soils Relation to World Food Security
We know very well that soils and food production are irrevocably connected and each country strives to secure food for its population. For example, a number of countries in Asia and the Middle East faced with food supply problems in the coming years have in the last decade initiated major programs to purchase vast areas of land in Africa and Latin America.  The “land grab” of unparalleled proportions have been studied very little in the academic literature (Robertson, and Pinstrup-Andesen, 2010).
Nevertheless, it is clear that a number of relatively” land-rich” developing nations are sanctioning the sale or transfer of user rights of large areas (some time million of hectares) for foreign investments.  Smallholder farmers, without formal land titles currently occupy much of the land leased or sold in these transactions, threaten the internal food security of the seller state.   A greater concern is that this land grab, especially when put under intensive agriculture practices in countries like Sudan, Algeria, Madagascar or Egypt where water availability may be an important issue, will lead to the same type of soil degradation that occurred in northwestern China in the past decade and that will see more dust bowls in the future, with local starvation, population migration, and compromised national and international security.  
From a resource point view, recognizing that water is as important to crop production if not more important than soil material in which crops use as medium of their growth and that water will be scarce in many parts of the world in the coming years.  Therefore, it makes sense to produce food where water is.  With the exception of few countries, like Brazil, that are blessed with abundant water supplies, in general the requirement to go where the water is would force us to turn to the oceans, which covers 71% of the earth’s surface and contains 97% of the planet’s water. Roughly 66% of the world population live in coastal regions around the world, so that obtaining food and energy from the oceans would not create logistic problems. Furthermore, Japan has shown, for centuries, that it is possible to derive considerable quantities of food from oceans.  Various seaweed, sea vegetables, and countless fish products often not consumed in other countries, find their way in the daily diet of the Japanese people. 
Other countries can do the same as Japan in harvesting the oceans, if not for human food, at least for animal feeds or sea crops that could be converted to biofuels.  If this trend toward seafarming materializes then soils that are subject to erosion and degradation worldwide could be reforested to a far greater extent than at present or could be put under natural vegetation.  When soil degradation is significantly reduced that would alleviate some of the problems discussed earlier including to a large extent (except permafrost soils) the possible positive feedback of soils to climate change.
3.     Soils Significance in the Climate Change 
Another area by which soils profoundly can affect society is related to global climate change where they play major roles in the carbon cycles.  Worldwide soils contain more than 1,550 Pg (Peta gram) carbon in the top one meter alone (Baveye, 2007) which is more than twice the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere.  That is soils contain 300 times the amount of carbon currently released globally per year from burning fossil fuels.  Additionally, in many soils, soil organic matter contains large quantities of nitrogen that are metabolized by microorganisms, thus, can also contribute significantly to emissions of greenhouse gases.   Therefore, even small changes < 1% in the amount of soil carbon may lead to sources of greenhouse gases that could be significant relative to those emitted by fossil fuel combustion ( Rostand et al., 2000).  Enhanced release of carbon by world soils could drastically exacerbate CO2 levels in the atmosphere leading to fast global warming and ultimately to a positive feedback mechanism that might cause climate change to get out of hand (Baveye, 2007).
It is uncertain whether soils in temperate and tropical regions are likely to be net sources of greenhouse gases.  Only in the high latitude permafrost, especially in Siberia, where the picture is clearly in favor of positive feedback to climate warming.  Siberia with an area of 106 km2 has deep up to 90 m deposits of organic-rich frozen loess that accumulated during the Pleistocene.  That large organic carbon pool (about 450 Pg, more than half the amount of carbon in the atmosphere) has not been considered generally in most global carbon inventories (Zimov et al., 2006).  Similar less extensive deposits exist in Alaska, where recent evidence indicates that permafrost is thawing at a much faster rate than previously expected.  The organic carbon in these soils decomposes rapidly upon thawing and releases CO2 gas to the atmosphere. Concurrently methane gas entrapped as large bubbles in the permafrost is released so fast that it prevents the surface from freezing, even during middle of winter (Walter et al., 2006).  Methane is 18 to 25 times more potent as a gas than CO2, thus, its release by permafrost is significant at least in short terms until CH4 is transformed into CO2 upon oxidation.
4.     Soil Pollution in Urban Areas
The world population has become increasingly urbanized.  On the average more than 50% of people live in urban and suburban areas and this number is constantly increasing.  In many cases, a consequence of this trend is that cities are expanding into their industrialized outskirts, where researchers have found soils are routinely contaminated with various organic and inorganic compounds.  Even in the traditional city centers, soils are contaminated often significantly with pollutants such as lead from paint and gasoline or polyaromatic hydrocarbons from vehicle exhausts or coal-fired power plant emissions (Belluk et al., 2003; Morillo et al., 2007).  Recently the public in general has become more aware of potential problems associated with contaminant levels in urban soils, partly because they are likely to affect children more directly, given the tendency of toddlers and infants to ingest considerable amounts of soils through hand-to-mouth transfer when playing in public parks.  In a number of cities in the US and Europe , parent associations have voiced serious concerns about financially motivated construction of day- care facilities and schools on former brownfields.  Even though soils at these sites may have been considered “clean” (i.e., with contaminant concentrations less than regularity limits) at the time when the building were erected, reports of noticeable emanations of volatile organic chemicals are causing parental concerns over their children’s exposure to chemicals that could affect their well-being and cognitive development (Weber, 2011).
5.     Soil Biota Metabolism Underestimation
The best example for how ignorant we still are about many soil processes is the failure of the Biosphere II experiment in Arizona, USA, more than 18 years ago.  Initially planned as an attempt to create a balanced and self-sustaining replica of Earth’s ecosystems, however, by September 26, 1993 it became clear that the $200 million experiment failed to meet many of its objectives.  Particularly, the 25 small vertebrates with which the project started, only six did not die out by the end of the mission.  Almost all the insect species became instinct, including those that had been selected for pollinating plants.
What really led to the failure of the project was the fact that oxygen levels in the air could not be sustained at appropriate concentrations.  There were several reasons for that, but the key ones, was the O2 consumption by soil microorganisms had been grossly underestimated by the scientists involved. Specifically, in the rainforest and savanna areas of Biosphere II, soils were rich in organic matte (O.M.).   Microbes metabolized O.M. at an unexpectedly high rate, in the process using up a lot of O2 and producing significant quantities of CO2.  Before 18 months into the experiment, the O2 levels dropped to the point where the crew could hardly function, oxygen had to be pumped into the system so that crew members could complete the two-year mission as planned.
6.     Soils Remarkable Biodiversity
Soils in general contain huge and diverse populations of microorganisms, thus, constitute a formidable challenge to anyone trying  to understand soil processes, many of which one way or another are mediated by, or at the very least involve microorganisms.   The identity of most of these microorganisms, however, remains a challenging frontier.  It is estimated that 99.5% of organisms in soils have not been cultivated. Some experts in the field admit that it will be necessary in the near future to “develop and apply new approaches to cultivate the previously uncultivated and rare members of the soil community to assign functions to the vast number of unknown or hypothetical genes that will undoubtedly be found”.   Soils will remain most extensive natural biological laboratories where they host an immense number of microbes that carry out an array of degradations including some of most complex compounds added to soils.   The soil biodiversity challenge, therefore, still remains intact and in certain ways has grown.
7.     Soils Contribution to Carbon Sequestration.
Considerable uncertainty persists regarding the practical conditions under which carbon sequestration in soils could be feasible. Sequestration of carbon in soils is often seen as “win win” situation to offset a substantial portion of anthropic CO2 emissions. However, over the last decade, many studies have demonstrated, time and again, that the simple addition of easily biodegradable carbon sources, or even some plant litter to soils  as a way to enhance sequestration, could seriously backfire and actually lead to decreases in soil carbon.
The initial O.M. and moisture contents of the soil within plow layer, soil texture, the C:N ratio of the added organic substance, and the soil and air temperatures are important  parameters  in biodegradation of any organic material added to soils,  consequently a net gain or loss of soil carbon.  Soil organic matter is more likely to accumulates (carbon sequestration) in heavy textured soils with grass cover in wet, and cool environment.
For some time the adoption of no-tillage agriculture was thought to be a realistic practice for sequestration of carbon in soils.  However, the effectiveness of such practice depends heavily on how deep one is willing to monitor soil organic matter changes.   When one samples deeper in the soil profile than the traditional 30-40 cm, the alleged advantage of no-tillage over conventional tillage relative to carbon sequestration disappears or even reversed in some cases.
8.  Soil Micro- Hetero geniety Properties
Researchers in the last few years recognized that the physical and chemical microenvironment in which microorganisms proliferate and actively function in soils are extremely heterogeneous at all spatial scales, in particular at the micrometric scale typical of many microorganisms.
Recent technological progresses have provided researchers with sophisticated equipment to observe the geometry of pores and solids in soils at resolutions as small as 0.5 µm and to observations of sharp differences in accumulation of trace metals and chemical composition of organic matter in soils over minute distances in the order of nanometers to micrometers respectively.  Further advances in thin sections of soils has led to comparisons between explicit pore scale simulations and macroscopic continuum approximations that revealed inhomogeneous solute distribution within soil pores which markedly affect macroscopic estimates of elemental turnover rates and that the error associated with large-scale rate estimates to depend on the type of reaction, pore geometry, reaction kinetics, and macroscopic concentration gradient. 
These experimental and modeling results pose a number of questions about the validity of the bulk-averaged measurements of soil chemical and biochemical properties, that are routinely carried out in wet-chemistry or microbiological laboratories worldwide and on which current models of C and N dynamics in soil are based.  Other questions that wait adequate answers relate to the type of measurement that should be performed, beside macroscopic averages and to the proper way of reflecting the macroscopic emergence of microscale heterogeneities of soil dynamics.
9. Soils Are Still a Crucial Frontier of Applied Science:  Why not?
The ample examples presented in the previous sections demonstrated that soils continue to be critical to the survival of human societies.   Even if floating cities ever develop, as some architects envision, most human population will still be in close contact with soils on a daily basis.  Soils also, remain, for the most part, very poorly understood, and research to improve that picture will be challenging in the foreseeable future.  As Montgomery (2007) put it” soils are our most underappreciated, least valued and yet essential natural resource”
Another reason for arguing the case that soils are a critical frontier of science is that to do so will require researchers to publicize the fact that there are still many aspects of soils that remain extremely controversial. The soil science community in the past has not been keen to advertize its case to the public in large about vast areas of soils that need intensive research to unravel their mysteries as they still exist in the 21 st Century.
Soils will remain the backbone of human survival as they did at the dawn of land cultivation to this day and beyond.
Note:  This article is extracted in a condensed form from its modified version in the reference listed below. The details of cited references appeared only in the original paper consisting of five page- list when published in 2011 in the Soil Sci.Soc.Amer.J. 75(6): 2037-2048 and could be viewed at:
Baveye, P.C.; D.Rangel; A.R.Jacobson; M. Laba; C. Darnault; W.Otten; R.Radulovich; and F.A.O.Camargo. 2011.  From dust bowl to dust bowl:  Soils still a frontier of science.  CSA (Crops, Soils, Agronomy) news of Crop Sci.Soc. Amer., Soil Sci.Soc.Amer. and Amer.Soc. Agron: 5-11.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

توقعات بإنتاج عالمي شبه قياسي للقمح هذه السنة

توقعت منظمة الأمم المتحدة للأغذية والزراعة «FAO» أن تنتج محاصيل القمح العالمية لسنة 2012 ثاني أكبر إنتاج تاريخي مسجل ببلوغها 690 مليون طن، وأعلنت الوكالة الدولية المتخصصة أيضا أن أسعار المواد الغذائية الدولية ارتفعت في فبراير للشهر الثاني علي التوالي بمقدار واحد بالمائة. وفي حين أوردت أحدث نشرة فصلية من تقرير «توقعات المحاصيل وحالة الأغذية» لدي المنظمة «فاو» إنتاجا من القمح لعام 2012 يقل بمقدار 10 ملايين طن دون نظيره من الإنتاج القياسي المسجل سنة 2011، أو ما يعادل 1.4 بالمائة أقل من معدل حصاد 2011، إلا أن ذلك مازال أعلي بكثير من المعدل السنوي خلال أي من السنوات الخمس الماضية. وحتي مع تزايد عمليات الزرع أو توقع زيادتها لدي العديد من البلدان هذا العام كاستجابة لاستمرار ارتفاع الأسعار، فالمنتظر أن تعود المحاصيل إلي حالتها العادية بالمناطق التي شهدت مستويات قياسية من الارتفاع في غضون السنة الماضية، وفق تقرير المنظمة «فاو» الذي أضاف أيضا أن من السابق للأوان الجزم بتوقعات عالمية موثوقة لإنتاج الحبوب عام 2012

 تأثير الطقس البارد
وما يلاحظه تقرير المحاصيل وحالة الأغذية فهو تعزز الأسعار الدولية للحبوب خلال الأسابيع الأخيرة نظرا إلي تباطؤ إمدادات الحبوب، كنتيجة مباشرة لتأثير الطقس الشديد البرودة في أوروبا ومجموعة الدول المستقلة (الكومنولث) وعلي المستويات الاقليمية، يكشف التقرير إن الطقس غير المواتي في غرب إفريقيا كان وراء الانخفاض الحاد في إنتاج المراعي والحبوب بأجزاء واسعة من إقليم السهل والساحل. وتمخض ذلك، مقرونا بارتفاع أسعار المواد الغذائية والصراعات الأهلية عن تفاقم الحالة الراهنة من انعدام أمن الغذاء الحاد بالفعل وسوء التغذية المتزايد لدي العديد من بلدان الساحل والصحراء، لاسيما في النيجر وتشاد وموريتانيا ومالي وبوركينا فاسو. وعلي صعيد إقليم الشرق الأدني، تدهورت حالة الأمن الغذائي في الجمهورية العربية السورية واليمن نتيجة للصراعات المدنية لدي البلدين. وبينما يواجه نحو 1.4 مليون نسمة في سوريا أمنا غذائيا مزعزعا، اضطر الآلاف من الاسر في اليمن الي الفرار من مناطق سكناهم

  شرق إفريقيا
علي الرغم من بعض التحسن تبقي الحالة الغذائية للمجموعات الضعيفة غير مستقرة، خصوصا في مناطق رعي الماشية المتضررة من جفاف سابق، وتظل حالة أمن الغذاء في السودان وجنوب السودان باعثة علي القلق عقب الغلال الرديئة للحصاد الأخير

جنوب إفريقيا
تبقي الفرص المحصولية مرضية بالرغم من نوبات الجفاف والأعاصير المفاجئة في بعض المناطق.

 مكتسبات في الهند
وفي أقصي مناطق آسيا، تظهر التوقعات المحصولية للقمح عام 2012 مواتية عموما بناتج من المتوقع أن يبلغ المستوي القياسي للسنة الماضية وعلي الأخص نظرا الي المكتسبات المحصولية الجيدة في الهند

أمريكا الوسطي
 خفض الطقس الجاف أعمال زرع المحصول الثانوي من الذرة الصفراء بالمكسيك عام 2012، وفي مناطق أخري من القارة، من المنتظر تحقيق غلال جيدة من نفس المحصول المزروع في عام 2011 رغم الخسائر الأخيرة بسبب الأمطار الغزيرة خلال الفصول التالية التي انتهت مؤخرا.

أمريكا الجنوبية
أثرت نوبة جفاف ممتدة، سلبيا علي محصول الذرة الصفراء لعام 2012 في كل من الأرجنتين والبرازيل لكن ناتجا فوق المعدل مازال متوقعا بالنظر إلي أعمال الزرع الحثيثة الجارية حاليا

المجله الزراعيه ابريل 2012

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Sun Energy a Solution for World Energy Needs and for Mitigating Climate Change

By Dr.  Mohammed Sa’id Berigari, Senior soil and Environmental Scientist, USA, 7/04/2012.
A relevant topic to food security & agriculture
Global warming is a real threat with enormous catastrophic implications affecting humans and all other living systems on the face of our planet including food and feed security, and fiber and timber production worldwide.   As Al Gore (2009), former Vice President of the United States, put it” to get at the roots of climate crisis, we must stop using carbon-based fossil fuels like oil and coal.” And “We have to switch to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.”  Therefore, urgent measures are needed in addition to what is already being done now globally to combat and solve such critical 21st century climate crisis.
 Increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere now at 374 ppm is due to its emissions from various sources particularly from human activities which accounts for 43.1% of climate change, the single most prevalent greenhouse gas causing global warming. The other pollutants’ contributions to climate change are:   methane 28.7%, black carbon 11.9%, halocarbons 7.8%, carbon monoxide and some organic compounds other than methane 6.7%, and nitrous oxide 3.8% (Al Gore, 2009).  

 Therefore, in this article the focus is placed on ways to solve CO2 crisis while not losing sight on how to remedy that caused by other listed pollutants.
More energy hits the Earth from the Sun in one hour than the whole world uses in one year. The source of energy in the Sun is at its core where hydrogen is converted to helium in a thermonuclear fusion. This energy travels from the core to the surface of the Sun and is released into the space mainly as light.  The energy that reaches the Earth is in two main forms, heat and light traveling as electromagnetic waves primarily in the empty space or vacuum and amounts to 5.7x 1024 Joule/year. The quantity used in photosynthesis is 3 x 1021 Joule/ year used in fixing 2 x 1011 tons of CO2 annually.
The quantity of the solar energy remaining in excess of that used in photosynthesis is enormous and should be utilized.    In other words < 1% of the Sun light hitting the Earth is used by terrestrial plants and the remaining > 99% is partially absorbed by material objects in warming the Earth with a good portion reflected back to the space surrounding this planet.   And the quantity of solar energy therefore is limitless based on the law of conservation of mass, that of conservation of energy, and the exchange of mass and energy according to the Einstein equation E= mc2.   Where E stands for energy (Joules), m for the mass    (kilograms), and c for the speed of light which is constant at 3.00 x 108 meter/second in vacuum.
The process of photosynthesis uses solar light in an endothermic reaction simply by using photons in splitting each water molecule to two atoms of hydrogen (H) and one of oxygen (O) in the living photosynthetic single or multiple cells.  Two oxygen atoms form one O2 molecule and is released into the atmosphere as a byproduct.  The H atoms are used to reduce CO2 molecules absorbed from the air by the cells to molecules of simple sugars.
6CO2 (g) +6H2O (l) + light + Living green CellsC6H12O6 (aq) + 6O2 (g)
This natural process of carbon fixation by plants leads to mitigating the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere thus reducing global warming. Those simple chemical reactions occurring in living green plants and other photosynthetic cells, thus far cannot be duplicated in test tubes in the absence of living cells containing chlorophyll molecules.  Therefore, all living systems on this planet depend on photosynthesis for their food, feed and survival.
The energy I need for all metabolic processes is basically derived from oxidation of sugar molecules (exothermic reaction) in different tissues which comes from chemical energy stored in sugar molecules through the process of photosynthesis.  Other than nuclear and geothermal energies, the remaining forms of energies originate from solar energy either directly or indirectly that include chemical, electrical, mechanical, radiation, and thermal energies.  Solar energy will ultimately become the main source of energy for the entire world.
Today a technology exists to harness solar energy through compact linear Fresnel reflectors (CLFR) solar collector that reflect intensive light on water pipes in generating high pressure steam for operating turbines and thus electric power.  The water is condensed and recycled.  The entire process does not emit one molecule of pollutant, the greenhouse particles in particular.
There are giant projects using this innovation of solar energy to supply a cost-effective electrical power in Australia, USA, Jordan, and other countries.  For example 922 miles of CLFR mirrors could generate enough electrical energy to meet most of the demand of USA.  When other countries with abundant sunshine follow the suite undoubtedly fossil fuel and oil consumption for energy generation will shrink enormously which would lead to marked reduction of greenhouse gases, thus mitigate the cause of global warming.
The demand for fossil fuel, oil, and natural gas will remain high for providing the carbon skeleton or precursors for the production of millions of diverse organic compounds.  The need for such chemicals will increase with time and human population growth worldwide and it will take decades for renewable energy to replace significantly the nonrenewable sources of energies.  There will be some resistance from certain segment of the world community to choose renewable energy resources over nonrenewable resources but ultimately the law of survival of the fittest must prevail or the human race collectively will suffer the consequences of irrational choices.
Therefore, humanity can overcome the climate crisis by applying the present innovations in the field of solar energy conversion to other forms of energy especially when it is combined with wind and geothermal energies and these alternative clean energy sources are now available in tremendous quantities. The future of humanity is bright when new ideas are implemented in time and space before the forces of climate change can destroy our beautiful environment and the exquisite habitat of all living ecosystems.
1.      Al Gore .2009. Our Choice:  How we can solve the climate crisis. Melcher Media and Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
2.      Al Gore .2009. Our Choice:  A plan to solve the climate crisis.  Melcher Media.
3.      Mills, D. and R. Morgan. 2007. Solar thermal electricity as the primary replacement for coal and oil in U.S. generation and transportation.  Ausra Inc.: 1-6.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Kurdistan & Iraq grain harvests 2012توقعات انتاج الحبوب للموسم الحالي

Grain pile up in the Silo yard
      The forecasts for this year’s net grain harvests for Kurdistan and Iraq are now available and the Ministry of Agriculture has announced that the 2012 support prices for wheat, will remain unchanged at 720, 620, 520,000 ID/MT for grades1, 2, and 3 of wheat respectively.  This means that farmers will again receive government support for wheat production through the price paid at the silo. This system of supporting farmers by maintaining the cost paid for the end product results in farmer choosing to grow crops that they know the government will pay high support prices for and this can have serious detrimental impacts as:
• Farmers do not implement conservation efforts, such as crop rotations
• Farmers may be induced to plant marginal land
• Farmers reduce plantings of unsupported crops

• High support price increases feed cost in poultry/livestock sector.
In addition traders import wheat, purchased at a low price, transport it across the country and sell it as home produced grain at a high profit. In this way the trader can make a healthy profit from the system set up to assist farmers.

The more effective way of supporting agricultural production is a system of direct payments that support the farmer’s income where farmers market their crops at market determined price levels and receive a supplemental payment to support their incomes during a transition period. The added benefits of this approach are that there are no incentives to smuggle imported wheat into Iraq, the overall budget cost is lower and pasture land is not cultivated.  Direct payments also give the advantage of targeting production sectors e.g. sheep or fruit producers,  by giving additional direct payments based upon their participation in a program to achieve a particular policy goal.

Iraq’s intention to support producers through output prices and to reduce support for purchased inputs is questionable and should be reviewed. The implication is that high domestic support prices, as a standalone policy, will be very expensive and not produce the desired results. Evidence from similar countries where this system was used reveals that a 100% rise in support price will result in only a 40% rise in productivity. Quite simply maintaining high output prices is just a form of income support and does not lead to increased productivity. It is essential that production and output costs for all crops and livestock and investment requirements are considered and an overall agricultural policy based on input support and import control is determined.

Food security and reduced reliance upon imports is a policy goal for Iraq and Kurdistan but increased productivity and greater food security will not be achieved by only increasing support of output prices. Productivity is seriously constrained by input availability, lack of available production credit for producers, and overall lack of capital investment in agriculture.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Monday, 2 April 2012

احتياجات اقليم كوردستان للحوم الحمراء

توجد ثلاثة مجازر في كل من السليمانيه و دهوك واربيل  و تحتوي كل منها على معمل لتصنيع اللحوم تكلفة كل وحدة6,750,000 دولار امريكي. كذالك توجد مجازر قديمة في الاقضية والنواحي. وتشرف الدوائر البيطرية على هذه المجازر.
وخلال عام 2011 تم ذبح 360,000 من الاغنام والماعز و71,000 من الابقار والعجول. ,وقد قدرت مديرية الثروة الحيوانية في كوردستان 5-10% مذبوحات اخرى تذبح خارج المجازر في مناسبات دينية و اجتماعية. علما بأن ذبائح المجازر تنتج حوالي 22,000 طن من اللحوم الحمراء وهذه الكميه تكفل 45% من احتياجات سكان الاقليم.
من اين نحصل على ال 55% من احتياجات الاقليم من اللحوم الحمراء؟ 
ان وزارة الزراعة  في الاقليم  سمحت باستيراد اللحوم الحمراء من استراليا فقط ومن خلال منفذ ابراهيم الخليل وذلك بعد اجتياز وقبول شروط ادارة الثروة الحيوانية في الاقليم . وعلى مايبدو  ان شروط  الادارة المذكورة ادت الى وقف استيراد اللحوم الحمراء من خلال هذا المنفذ من قبل المستوردين واالمعتاديين على عدم وجود ضوابط وانظمه لاستيراد  هذه المادة الغذائيه المهمة. والتي قد  تكون سبب  في انشار امراض خطيرة اذا لم تراعى شروط الاستيرد  في المنافذ الحدودية وتعين الدول التي يمكن الاستيراد منها مسبقا.
كما توجد الان في اسواق كوردستان لحوم من استراليا وبرازيل و نيوزيلندا وطبعا من الهند. اللحوم تصل الى اسواق الاقليم من خلال محافظتي كركوك ونينوى. وأخبرت بان لحوم الواردة من هذه البلدان الاربع تستورد رسميا من منافذ طرابيل و ربيعه والبصره والوليد  وربما من منافذ اخرى غير  رسميه لتزود الكباببجية ومطابخ بيوتنا واطفالنا باللحوم الهنديه المخضبه  بكميات  خطيره من نترات الصوديوم .

الحمى القلاعيه "المصريه" تهدد الامن الغذائي في الشرق الاوسط وشمال افريقيا

حذرت منظمة الأغذية والزراعة بالأمم المتحدة FAO  من أن تفشي مرض الحمى القلاعيةFMD بين الماشية المصرية يمكن أن يمتد لأجزاء أخرى من شمال أفريقيا والشرق الأوسط, مما يهدد الأمن الغذائي.
وذكرت المصري اليوم و وفقا لتقديرات رسمية أن أكثر من63   ألف حيوان أصيبت بالمرض, في حين نفق 11000 حيوانا معظمها من العجول. وحذرت "الفاو "من أن 6.3 ملايين من الجاموس والأبقار و7.5 ملايين من الخراف والماعز معرضة لخطر الإصابة بالمرض في مصر. وقالت إن هذا نوع جديد تماما من سلالة الفيروس يعرف بـ"سات2 SAT", والماشية ليست لديها مناعة ضده. وأكدت المنظمه أن هناك حاجة ماسة للحصول على الأمصال, وأن المنظمات الدولية والإقليمية على استعداد لوضع خطة عمل والمساعدة في الحماية الإقليمية.
ويؤثر مرض الحمى القلاعية على الحيوانات ذات الحوافر من بينها الماعز والماشية والأبقار والجاموس, ويتسبب في خسائر فادحة للإنتاج, ويمكن أن يكون مميتا خاصة بين الحيوانات الصغيرة. وينتقل الفيروس الذي يسبب المرض بسرعة بين الحيوانات عبر الجو والاتصال العادي, ولكن الأشخاص الذين يتعاملون بصورة مباشرة مع الحيوانات يمكن أن ينقلوا الفيروس أيضا عبر أحذيتهم أو أيديهم أو ملابسهم.
ويشار إلى أن مرض الحمى القلاعية لا يمثل تهديدا مباشرا للإنسان. لقد قل استهلاك المصريين للحوم الحمراء بشكل ملحوظ لخوف المواطنين من بيع بعض الجزارين للحوم الحيوانات المريضةاو النافقة, وقد ارتفع استهلاك لحوم الدواجن علما بان انفلونزا الطيور مازالت اهم مشكله للامن الغذائي المتدهور في مصر.
ومن الجدير بالذكر ان الحمى القلاعية مرض قديم جدا في العراق ولها عترات فيروسية كثيرة والمرض منتشر عالميا. في العراق وكوردستان وتوجد بعض العترات المستوطنة منذ زمن قديم ولكن العترة الموجودة حاليا في مصر لم تمر سابقا على بلاد مابين النهريين ونحن غير مستعدين لمواجهته بامكانياتنا المحدودة...ولماذا هي محدودة؟؟؟
وتعد الحمى القلاعيه من اهم الامراض العابرة للحدود واستيراد اللحوم والحيوانات الحية خاصة التي تعبر الحدود من دون كشف بيطريه معتمد  حسب الارشادات الدولية  او عن طريق المنافذ الحدودية الرسمية وغير الرسمية.
 يعلم قسم من الزملاء  في منطقه الشرق الادنى وكوردستان بانني كنت مستشارا اقليميا في الفاو لمنطقة شمال افريقيا والشرق الاوسط  في القاهره ولمدة 12 عاما كمستشار اممي للثروة الحيوانية والتجارة بها  وهي من اوليات الامن الغذائي في هذه المنطقه والمعروف عن شعوبها بانها تستهلك كميات كبيرة من اللحوم في المناسبات الكثيرة و في غير المناسبات ولها اسباب كثيره لاداعي لذكرها الان. لقد قضيت اكثر من ثلاثة  عقود في دول الشرق الادنى (32 دولة) مهتما بهذه المواضيع .   وقد تم اختياري من قبل الحكومه المصريه كعضو في اللجنه الوزارية  العليا المصرية لانفلونزا الطيور (وكانت  اللجنه تضم خمسة وزراء وسبعة محافظين) وتركت اللجنه العليا بعد تقاعدي  قبل ثلاث سنوات من منظمة الفاو وقدومي الى كوردستان للعمل كمستشار للزراعه والامن الغذائي قي مجلس الوزراء....
ونظرا  لاطلاعي بالامكانيات الزراعية الهائلة لمصر لذا اشجع بقوة التعاون بين البلدين في هذا المجال المهم. ولكن لي بعض التحفظات الانية حول استيراد اللحوم بكل انواعها من مصر وحتى ثبوت خلوها من الامراض العابره للحدود.
وقد تلقيت مكالمة  هاتفية من صديق ذو شأن في مجال الزراعه في مصر مستفسرا اذا كانت عندنا وزاره للزراعة في كوردستان ومتعجبا عن سبب اهتمام وزارة الصحه  وجهات اخرى غير معنية بشكل مباشر بموضوع الدواجن وصحة الحيوان بدلا من وزارة الزراعة في بغداد واربيل. والجواب متروك لوزارة الصحة  في بغداد و اربيل للجواب على هذا التساؤل . وللعلم اني  ولا حتى وزارة الزراعه في كوردستان لم نبلغ بأمور كثيرة ومنها هذا التخبط السيء لسمعتنا وسمعة دوائرنا البيطريه .
 سيتم اليوم الاثنين(2.4.2012) اختبار اللقاح الجديد لتحصين الحيوانات السليمة ضد المرض من السلالة الجديدة «سات تو»، تمهيدا للبدء فى تحصين الحيوانات بالمحافظات المصريه الخالية من المرض والحيوانات السليمة بالمحافظات الأخرى كمرحلة ثانية. أن الحكومة  المصريهستعتمد على الشركات الوطنية أو الاستيراد من الخارج لتوفير الجرعات اللازمة للتحصين لحماية ١٢ مليونا من الحيوانات والماشية المصرية،