China mustard greens: a big deal for the UK
The UK has been accused of being a “China mustard green factory” as it imports hundreds of millions of pounds of Chinese mustard greens, which are often labelled as “ghost greens”.
But a recent study suggests that there are other benefits to using these green beans in the UK as well.
The research, led by the University of Surrey’s Andrew Dutton, has found that ghost greens are good for the environment and can help boost yields.
Dutton said: “These beans are a crop with potential for global trade, and they’re the keystone crops for all crops and they are used in every country in the world.”
They’re an iconic food that’s grown for centuries, and the only crop that can be grown without using toxic chemicals.
“Ghost greens are grown by farmers in China, India, Thailand and Vietnam and have been used in cooking and flavouring.
The UK imports a large amount of Chinese beans, particularly in China.
However, there is a lack of reliable data on the actual use of these green plants.
Dutton said the study found that they were “an environmentally beneficial crop” in the United Kingdom.
Density of plantsThe study looked at the total biomass of plants in each growing season, from one year to the next, using the global “greenhouse gas” database, Carbon Brief.”
When we compare the biomass of each plant, we can see how much carbon dioxide and nitrogen the plants are producing,” Dutton told the BBC.”
In the UK, we produce a lot of green beans and mustard greens and we use them in cooking.
“However, he said, this information was “limited by the lack of transparency” in some countries.”
We have to use a lot more data to know how much of each crop we are using and where,” he said.”
So we have to get more data from the farmers themselves, who often don’t know exactly how much they are using.
“In the United States, for example, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (USDA) publishes a data collection system, known as the Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GGI), but the data is notoriously unreliable.
The USDA also publishes a database on nitrogen and carbon dioxide production from beans, but it is often outdated and the data can’t be used to make accurate comparisons.
Drought, disease, pests, and diseasesA second study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at how different crops could be affected by drought, disease and pests.
The team looked at crops like maize and soybeans and found that drought can lead to a reduction in yields.”
There is a lot that can go wrong with any crop if it’s drought-prone, and in many places there are drought-related crop failures,” said study co-author Daniel Niedermayer.
The researchers found that these crops also showed “signs of stress”, including the “dispersal” of pests and diseases.”
One thing that really surprised us is how the impacts of drought can be very subtle and not as obvious,” said Niedermeier.”
It can happen even in the worst cases where farmers are trying to do everything they can to protect their crops.
“This is particularly important because in the developing world, the global food supply is increasingly being supplied by smallholder farmers, who tend to be poorer than farmers in richer countries.
As a result, they tend to have less access to the information they need to make sound decisions.
Diseases like rotavirus can also lead to poor yields.
In the US, the food security crisis has prompted farmers to seek ways to improve the quality of their crop.
However the study suggests some growers may need to think differently.”
Farmers may need more data on diseases and pests that affect their crops,” said Dutton.”
That’s probably something that will be very important to farmers moving forward.
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