News in July 2012
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Global - General

Measuring Global Food Security


The United States is suffering through one of the worst droughts in its history, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture announcing earlier this month that more than 1,000 counties across 26 states now qualify as natural-disaster areas. By some estimates, the bone-dry weather could cost farmers and ranchers as much as $50 billion.

Signs suggest that global food security may improve in the near term. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently issued its International Food Security Assessment, which predicts that rates of food insecurity will creep downward between 2011 and 2012. In the decade ahead, the share of the population without adequate food security will drop from 24 percent to 21 percent.

Grain Imports in Low Income Developing Countries


When analysts discuss growing import demands for grains, they usually focus on middle income developing and developed countries with a growing middle class. A recent report by the Economic Research Service (ERS) of USDA, International Food Security Assessment 2012-22, outlines the grain import needs of 76 lower income countries that now have 814 million food insecure people living on less than 2,100 calories per day. These are commercial markets, but need financial help when grain imports are larger than normal or growth in export earnings slows down.

The 76 lower income countries are in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Latin America/Caribbean. India is included in this group, but China is not. With population growth over the next ten years driven by current social customs, the key factors for food security and food imports are domestic food production and the financial capacity to pay for imports. The share of the population food insecure is expected to decline from 24 percent to 21 percent, while the amount of food needed to close the food security gap will remain constant. The number of food insecure people will increase by 37 million by 2022, a 4.6 percent increase, while the total population expands by 16.4 percent. In Sub-Saharan Africa the share of food insecure people will decline, but the percentage of the world total will increase.

Grain production in these 76 countries increased from 498 million metric tons (MMT) in 2003 to 617 MMT in 2011 and is projected to increase to 739 MMT in 2022. Commercial grain imports have grown for 75 MMT in 2003 to 111 MMT in 2011. By 2022, imports are expected to increase 38 percent to 153 MMT. Food aid in grain equivalents declined from 8 MMT in 2003 to 5 MMT in 2011. The assumption is that food aid would remain stable over the coming ten years. Grain yields increased by 1.6 percent per year for 2000 to 2010, while population grew by 1.9 percent. Their average grain yield was 1.7 MT per hectare in 2008-10, 53 percent of the world average of 3.2 MT per hectare. In 16 countries, yields were less than 1.0 MT per hectare. Lack of technology, like irrigation, fertilizer, improved seeds and machinery, restrains grain yield growth. Agricultural value added per worker for countries with available data was a low $1,158.

Among the 39 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, grain production increased from 81 MMT in 2003 to 107 MMT in 2011. Production is projected to increase to 150 MMT in 2022. Commercial imports increased from 17 MMT to 25 MMT from 2003 to 2011, while food aid declined from 5 MMT to 3 MMT. Food aid is assumed to remain stable, while commercial imports are projected to increase to 32 MMT by 2022. Grain yields are projected to increase 1.6 percent per year in the next ten years, while population grows 2.4 percent, grain imports expand 3.2 percent and export earnings increase 5.1 percent. The Congo, Burundi, Eritrea and Lesotho have almost 100 food insecurity and is not likely to change over the next ten years.

The 22 Asian countries in the analysis account for two-thirds of the people in the 76 lower income countries, with India accounting for 56 percent of the regional total. Grain production in the region increased from 369 MMT in 2003 to 458 MMT in 2011, and is projected to grow to 529 MMT in 2022. Commercial grain imports increased from 25 MMT to 36 MMT and are projected to 45 MMT in 2022; imports will continue to be less than 10 percent of consumption. Food aid declined from 3 MMT in 2003 to 1 MMT in 2011. Grain yields for 2012 to 2022 are projected to increase by an average of 1.1 percent annually, the same as the population. Imports of grain will increase by 4.9 percent per year, while export earnings grow by 5.5 percent per year. North Korea is the most food insecure nation in the region with grain yields increasing 0.5 percent annually, slightly faster than population at 0.4 percent.

The Latin America/Caribbean region includes 11 countries that increased grain production from 14 MMT in 2003 to 16 MMT in 2011, while imports grew from 12 MMT in 2003 to 16 MMT in 2011. Grain imports are expected to be 21 MMT in 2022, while production will increase to 20 MMT. Food aid averaged less than one-half million MT per year. Grain yields are expected to grow 0.8 per year over the next ten years, while population grows 1.2 percent. Export earnings are projected to increase 4.4 percent per year allowing grain imports to grow 2.2 percent per year. Haiti is the most food insecure country in the region, followed by Guatemala with 70 percent of the population food insecure.

The North Africa region, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, increased grain production from 33 MMT in 2003 to 36 MMT in 2011, while imports increased much faster from 21 MMT in 2003 to 34 MMT in 2011. For 2022, production is projected at 40 MMT, while imports are expected to be 54 MMT. Food aid is inconsequential. Average grain yields are expected to increase 1.1 percent annually over the next ten years and match population growth. Export earnings growth is expected to average 5.7 percent allowing grain import growth to average 5.2 percent. Arable land is scarce in Egypt and it has the highest yields among the 76 countries analyzed. Land is less scarce in Algeria and more abundant in Morocco and Tunisia.

North Africa is the most food secure region analyzed, but depends heavily on food imports now and will be more dependent ten years from now. Egypt uses irrigation, while the other countries rely on rainfall and have more variable yields. Egypt will have to rely on export earnings, projected to grow 6.3 percent per year, to feed itself. That is key for all the regions with increased exports as part of the plan to avoid increased food insecurity. Countries that rely on raw material exports are particularly vulnerable to periods of low prices. Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa must rely first on domestic production to avoid increased food insecurity. Since most of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture is rain fed, variability of yields results in low prices in good crop years and food shortages in other years.

Books & Articles

Darwinian Agriculture' explains how evolution can improve agriculture
R. Ford Denison, an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, seeks to address these challenges through the dual prism of science and nature in his new book
Read more at:
Field trials and tribulations—making sense of the regulations for experimental field trials of transgenic crops in Europe
Plant Biotechnology Journal Vol 10 Issue 5 Article first published online: 30 JAN 2012
Sonia Gómez-Galera, Richard M. Twyman, Penelope A.C. Sparrow, Bart Van Droogenbroeck, René Custers, Teresa Capell, Paul Christou1

Transgenic plants that are being developed for commercial cultivation must be tested under field conditions to monitor their effects on surrounding wildlife and conventional crops. Developers also use this opportunity to evaluate the performance of transgenic crops in a typical environment, although this is a matter of commercial necessity rather than regulatory compliance. Most countries have adapted existing regulations or developed new ones to deal specifically with transgenic crops and their commodities. The European Union (EU) is renowned, or perhaps notorious, for having the broadest and most stringent regulations governing such field trials in the world. This reflects its nominal adherence to the precautionary approach, which assumes all transgenic crops carry an inherent risk. Therefore, field trials in the EU need to demonstrate that the risk associated with deploying a transgenic crop has been reduced to the level where it is regarded as acceptable within the narrowly defined limits of the regulations developed and enforced (albeit inconsistently) by national and regional governments, that is, that there is no greater risk than growing an equivalent conventional crop. The involvement of national and regional competent authorities in the decision-making process can add multiple layers of bureaucracy to an already-intricate process. In this review, we use country-based case studies to show how the EU, national and regional regulations are implemented, and we propose strategies that could increase the efficiency of regulation without burdening developers with further unnecessary bureaucracy.

Global impact of biotech crops - Environmental effects, 1996–2010
GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain 3:2, 129–137; April/May/June 2012;
Graham Brookes* and peter Barfoot

This study presents the findings of research into the global environmental impact of biotech crops since their commercial introduction in 1996. It updates the findings of earlier analysis presented by the authors in Agbio Forum 8:187–196, and 13:76–94. As such, the methodology remains largely unchanged from previous papers on this subject by the authors, with the key differences between each year’s paper being the provision of additional (one more year) and updated analysis.

Europeans’ attitudes towards food security, food quality and the countryside
New Eorobarometer

This survey shows that EU citizens understand that food security is a global issue, with a large majority expressing concern at the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population. Attitudes to food quality vary by Member State and price is an almost equally important consideration for many. However, although there is an improvement compared to previous years, only a minority of EU citizens recognise the logos introduced by the EU to ensure the quality and origin of certain types of food products. Finally, there is a broad consensus across most Member States and socio-demographic groups that agriculture plays a beneficial role and makes a positive contribution to the preservation of rural areas.

Propaganda Agent Against Agricultural Progress
Truth about Trade & TechnologyBoard Commentary, Editorials, 05/07/2012
By Bill Horan

Agent Orange,- the infamous defoliant from the Vietnam War – discussion in the USA.


Challenging boundaries in risk assessment – sharing experiences
7-8 November 2012, Parma

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will hold a high-level scientific conference in November with the aim of fostering and furthering science in the area of risk assessment.

The conference, which takes place during EFSA’s 10th anniversary year, will bring together scientists from different disciplines to discuss the latest developments in risk assessment and risk assessment methodologies. It also extends EFSA’s commitment to providing continuous learning and training activities for its Panel members, staff and the wider scientific community.

Europe - EU

No risk with GMO food, says EU chief scientific advisor
Published 24 July 2012; Chief Scientific Adviser, GMOs, Science

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are no riskier than their conventionally farmed equivalents, the European Commission’s Chief Scientific Advisor Anne Glover has told EurActiv in an exclusive interview, calling for countries impeding GMO use to be put to proof.

The endorsement of GMO safety will rattle member states where bans are in place (see background), and represents the CSA’s highest-profile policy intervention since Glover became Commission President José Manuel Barroso’s scientific advisor last December.

“There is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health or environmental health, so that’s pretty robust evidence, and I would be confident in saying that there is no more risk in eating GMO food than eating conventionally farmed food,” Glover told EurActiv, saying the precautionary principle no longer applies as a result.

Glover said she was not promoting GMOs, and added that “eating food is risky”, explaining: “Most of us forget that most plants are toxic, and it’s only because we cook them, or the quantity that we eat them in, that makes them suitable.”

But she said that scientific evidence needed to play a stronger role in policymaking, firing a warning shot at countries that have banned GMOs. “I think we could really get somewhere in Europe if when evidence is used partially, there were an obligation on people to say why they have rejected evidence,” she said.
GMOs and other scientific advances must be explored in order to head off the increasing scarcity of energy and other resources and competition for land use, Glover suggested.

35 years of delays in the EU Approval of GM Products
EuropaBio 02/07/2012

The EU’s strict laws for GM products state that approval decisions have to be taken quickly once a product is declared safe by independent scientists. However, the European Commission routinely delays such decisions, often for years. The combined delay for all GM products? 35 years. Steps in the EU approval system for GMOS: How does it work? And does it work?

The EU has one of the world’s strictest approval procedures for GM products. First, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) makes an extensive scientific risk assessment. If EFSA finds the product in question as safe as its non-GM counterpart, a political decision must then be made. This decision-making phase is administered by the European Commission and involves the Member States. EU legislation requires the European Commission to stick to specific timelines It has a maximum of 3 months to ask the Member State representatives to vote.

If they vote and do not reach a qualified majority, the Commission has to hold another vote within 2 months. In exceptional circumstances, the applicant and the Commission may agree to find another solution (which may result in a delay). The timelines foreseen in EU legislation are regularly exceeded. Why does this matter?

The EU is not currently able to produce all it needs. It imports grain commodities worth billions of euros every year, especially soy and maize to feed European farm animals. The EU has outsourced arable land nearly the size of Germany’s entire territory to other parts of the world to produce our animals’ food. Most of the imported animal feed is from the Americas and is genetically modified. If a given GM product is approved for cultivation in the Americas, but it is not (yet) approved for import into the EU, this results in serious problems for international trade. Shipments with traces of products not yet approved in the EU could be turned awaay from European ports or diverted to Asia where demand is even higher.

The backlog of EU authorisations for GM imports, combined with the fact that European farmers are forbidden to grow most GM crop varieties, contributes to rising food prices, undermines the competitiveness of European farmers, increases the EU’s import dependency, and creates legal uncertainty for import operators.

EU science advisor: ’Lots of policies are not based on evidence.’
Website –; July 24, 2012

Professor Anne Glover was appointed the Commission’s first chief scientific advisor in December, charged with providing “high-level and independent scientific advice throughout all stages of policy development and delivery” to Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Glover served as chief scientific advisor for Scotland from August 2006 to December 2011, holds a chair in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Aberdeen, is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Glover spoke to EurActiv’s Jeremy Fleming in her office in the Berlaymont.

Politicians sometimes shy away from science, but they should be clear about why they reject scientific evidence in future, the European Commission’s first chief scientific advisor told EurActiv. In an interview, she says GMOs are a good example of where policy has trumped science.

It would apply to how we implement regulations around genetically modified organism (GMO) foods, because we have so much very robust evidence, and the precautionary principle is no longer relevant with GMO foods or crops.

If we look at evidence from [more than] 15 years of growing and consuming GMO foods globally, then there is no substantiated case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health or environmental health, so that’s pretty robust evidence, and I would be confident in saying that there is no more risk in eating GMO food than eating conventionally farmed food.

I would say there is risk in eating food and that’s what people forget. Eating food is risky, most of us forget that most plants are toxic, and it’s only because we cook them, or the quantity that we eat them in, that makes them suitable.


EuroBioRef is an EU-funded project set up to address this problem by identifying improvements in bio-refinery design and operation.

With € 23 million of funding allocated under the EU's 7th Framework Programme, EuroBioRef brings together four different FP7 research themes: Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Biotechnology; Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies; Energy; and Environment (including climate change).

Established in 2010 and due to continue until 2014, the project is focused on developing a highly integrated, multipurpose refinery. In contrast with previous designs, this one would be capable of handling multiple feedstock's, processing them in multiple ways (chemical, biochemical, thermochemical), and producing multiple products, from aviation fuels to chemicals, polymers and other materials.

CONANX – Impact of social concerns about food on policies and businesses

The first phase of this ERC-funded project aimed at explaning the extend to wich consumers' anxieties shape all points of the contemporary food systems along the supply chain ("from the farm to the fork"). This includes considering various issues, from international food security, domestic food hygiene to public health and doing so at a range of geographical scales, from international food markets to individual households.

• The aim consists in making recommendations on a wider range of topics, from quality and provenance of food, to innovations in food labelling, marketing and consumer practice. The project will test the market for these new ideas with a view to providing consultancy services to various groups (manufacturers, retaillers, food service organisations and agencies) so that they are better equipped to interpret and respond to consumers' concerns about health and food safety when developing new products.

• Participants: United Kingdom (Beneficiary); FP7 Project N° 230287; EU contribution: € 1 700 000; Duration: January 2009 - December 2012

New GMO trials in Spain
Digna Biotech SL - Clinical trial to investigate the safety and tolerability of a gene therapy vector rAAV2/5-PBGD for the treatment of Acute Intermittent Porphyria.

Transgene S.A - A Phase 1/2a Dose-Escalation Study of JX-594 (Thymidine Kinase-Deactivated Vaccinia Virus plus GM-CSF) Administered by Multiple Intravenous (IV) Infusions Followed by Intratumoral (IT) Boosts Alone and in Combination with Irinotecan in Patients with Metastatic, Refractory Colorectal Carcinoma.

Focusing in on European research in central and eastern Europe

This rethink is outlined in the ESF's new report titled 'Central and eastern Europe Beyond Transition: Convergence and Divergence in Europe'. The report aims to identify new themes for social science research in and on the CEE, to be promoted and endorsed by national and European funding institutions.


UK Science Minister David Willetts: more focus needed on agricultural research, including GM

Britain must place a renewed focus on agricultural research including GM projects, or risk falling behind other countries like Brazil, the Science Minister has said. Failure to do so would not only see Britain lose its position as a leader in agricultural science but profoundly affect the developing world where rapid advances are needed to feed the growing population, he said. “The world faces enormous pressure on its food supply, and that is one of the reasons the cost of food has been shooting up in our shops – there are more mouths to feed across the world and there are climate change pressures on farms.

“We want to harness the world class research going on at agricultural institutions like Rothamsted and the John Innes Centre so that we can continue to generate the most productive wheat and the best breeds of chicken or pig.

“I am committed to keeping us world class in this area, and we will not and must not fall behind [other countries].”

Time for a re-think on GM crops?
BBC NEWS Science & Environment, 26 June 2012.

What would it take to break the impasse on GM crops? That's a problem that has been exercising minds at the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, which is urging the government to adopt a strategic plan for agriculture that includes a central role for biotechnology. Ministers will discuss their proposals, outlined in a new report Going For Growth, at a meeting with industry representatives, scientists and farmers.

The report sets out a comprehensive plan for investment in agricultural research its authors hope will put the UK back at the cutting edge of plant science, boost productivity and profitability in the farming sector, and help to resolve global issues of food security.

"Britain has a strong pedigree in agricultural research, including biotechnology," the report claims. But we're in danger of being left behind as other countries including China and Brazil encourage investment and surge ahead.

"The sector requires stronger political support to regain its competitive edge, to remove barriers to the commercialisation of research, and to put the UK at the centre of global agricultural innovation."

Of course agricultural innovation is about much more than just genetic modification, but it's the inclusion of a substantial section on the potential of biotechnology that's likely to raise the hackles of anti-GM campaigners.


In May 2011 the “International Conference on Biotechnology: Fostering Innovation” in Africa was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The conference focused on the importance of building capacity in biotechnology. The 2013 conference will review trends in regulation of agricultural biotechnology worldwide, with a focus on trends in Africa. The theme of the conference was inspired by the need to ensure that biotechnology regulations in Africa are guided by the need to maximize the benefits of the technology and to minimize its risks. This approach requires that regulations are adopted based on an understanding of the best available scientific and technological knowledge relating to advances in biotechnology. The conference will serve as a forum for sharing knowledge and experiences on: (a) state of the knowledge on international biotechnology and agriculture research; (b) biotechnology and agriculture research in Africa; and (c) regulations on biotechnology in Africa and elsewhere.

GMOs: Hacking genes to feed the world
Dayly Maverick; Ivo Vegter, South Africa

South Africa’s official position on bio-technology is fairly tolerant of genetically modified crops, with their distinguished record of increasing food security. But environmental lobby groups bang on about unfounded fears and demand mandatory measures to protect the public from a non-existent danger. Worse, they’re making inroads.

Many environmental lobby groups are on the wrong side of the struggle to feed the world’s poor. Pressure groups such as BioWatch South Africa, SAFeAGE and the African Centre for Biosafety consistently oppose the introduction of genetically modified (GM) agricultural crops on the grounds that they might harm the environment, human health, or both.

Their arguments are very flimsy. Proving the safety of biotechnology is, of course, logically impossible. One cannot prove that negative effects will never occur – only that they have not occurred in the past and are unlikely to do so in future. This standard, the highest that is possible in the real world, has been met. The onus ought to be on opponents of biotechnology to prove its dangers.

Environmental groups set impossibly high standards for others because they can’t present any evidence of their own. This only inflames unfounded opposition among the lay public, opposition which amounts to ignorant fear of the unknown and wrong-headed application of the precautionary principle. The fear is naïve and simple-minded, and ought to be classed with fears about witchcraft or distrust of newfangled machines like automobiles and mobile phones. The precautionary principle is a self-contradictory argument which logically precludes its own application. One can never be entirely certain that using a new technology entails no risk, but against this slim chance of harm one has to weigh the certain costs and risks of rejecting the technology.


USDA Announces Decision to Deregulate Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets
WASHINGTON, July 19, 2012 –

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced its determination of nonregulated status for a variety of sugar beet genetically engineered (GE) to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. This variety is commonly referred to as Roundup Ready (RR) sugar beets.

After completing both a thorough environmental impact statement (EIS) and plant pest risk assessment (PPRA), holding three public meetings and considering and analyzing thousands of comments regarding its analyses, APHIS has determined that, from the standpoint of plant pest risk, RR sugar beets are as safe as traditionally bred sugar beets.

In June, 2012, APHIS published a final PPRA and EIS for RR sugar beets. The final PPRA scientifically examined the plant pest characteristics of the RR sugar beet variety and found the variety is not likely to pose a plant pest risk to agricultural crops or other plants or plant products. Under the Plant Protection Act and APHIS’ regulations, the Agency is specifically required to evaluate if RR sugar beets are a plant pest to agricultural crops or other plants or plant products.


The main argument behind the proposition is the right of individuals to know the true makeup of the food they eat. I agree with this in principle, but in the case of this particular proposition, the crux of this issue has little to do with freedom of choice. In fact, voluntary labelling of GMO-free products can meet the informational needs of people who want to avoid GMOs. Anyone who is strongly opposed to buying GM products is free to do so, as U.S. Department of Agriculture “certified organic” products do not contain GMOs.

The real issue of the proposition is the benchmark required for mandatory labelling. Right now, the benchmark is proven toxicity or meaningful health effects; thus, the government has rightly required the labeling of cigarettes and caloric contents. GM products are not required to be labelled because regulatory research has found them to be as safe as conventional foods.

From an economic perspective, labelling GMOs makes sense if the net benefit from having it outweighs the cost. While some people may feel strongly against GMOs and may vote for the proposition because their perceived benefits from labelling are very high, I suspect that there are many others who are indifferent or only slightly concerned about GM varieties, yet may be unaware of the environmental and social benefits of GMOs and the potential negative consequences of labeling.

News in Science

How Tomatoes Lost Their Taste

A new study reveals that decades of breeding the fruits for uniform colour have robbed them of a gene that boosts their sugar content says Alisdair Fernie, who studies the chemical composition of tomatoes at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany.

The tomato originated in South America and is now grown around the world. More than 15 million tons are harvested in the United States alone each year. Farmers pluck the fruits from the vine before they are ripe, and for about 70 years breeders have selected tomatoes that are uniformly light green at that time. This makes it easier to spot the tomatoes that are ready to be harvested and ensures that, by the time they hit supermarket shelves, the fruits glow with an even red color. Wild varieties, in contrast, "have dark green shoulders, and that makes it harder to determine the right time to harvest," says Ann Powell, a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis. Consumers might also find unevenly colored tomatoes less appealing, she suggests.

To find the gene behind the color change, Powell and colleagues crossed cultivated varieties of tomatoes with wild species. By selecting those plants with dark green shoulders and crossing them back with the cultivated varieties, they narrowed down the culprit to a region on chromosome 10. Using the recently completed tomato genome sequence they then identified the gene as SlGLK2—a so-called transcription factor, which controls when and where other genes are switched on or off.

In wild tomatoes, SlGLK2 increases the formation of chloroplasts. In most tomatoes on supermarket shelves, however, SlGLK2 is inactive. Tomatoes with a mutated SlGLK2gene not only have fewer chloroplasts, they also sport less sugar.

The Curious Case of the Poisoned Cows

On a bright morning in early June, a Texas rancher named Jerry Abel turned his small herd of cattle out to graze. The 18 cows moved hungrily into that field of fresh grass. Within a few hours, only three were still alive. The television reporter apparently saw the evil hand of science at work in the episode, at least that was definitely the message in the story: “Genetically modified grass linked to cattle death” Alternatively, she just didn’t do her homework because the grass in question – Tifton 85 - is not a GM product. It’s a decades old hybrid grass developed by Georgia agricultural scientists as a high-protein, easily digestible forage.

Behaviour of the cyanogenic potential of star grass (Cynodon nlemfuensis). VII (final part). Experimental acute intoxication with aqueous extracts and forage with high cyanide content
by J M Aguilera, N Ramos, R Herrera
Biological Sciences Veterinary Science Papers

Acute intoxication was reproduced in calves by feeding star grass fertilized with high levels of nitrate and containing 230 mg cyanide per kg and 0.76% nitrate. Lethal cyanide levels were found in liver, urine, rumen fluid and blood. Mice also died after ingesting an extract of the star grass.

Texas is in the midst of a sustained and destructive drought. And as it turns out, there’s quite a bit of research showing that forage grasses can become surprisingly poisonous when they are stressed by heat and drought. it also turns out, the Tifton 85 grass in Mr. Abel’s field is a hybrid of Bermuda grass and star grass. And star grass is one of those cyanogenic plant species we’ve just been discussing.

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