Belize's most complete independent agricultural publication

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Beth Roberson

Beth Roberson has 61 articles published.

Ag Briefs

in Issue 37 by

  UB CF announces that the next Neal Kinsey Soil Fertility 3 day course will be held the week of August 27th (note this has been changed from the dates in the previous Ag Report). This will be a repeat of the very well-received Intro 2 Course given in February. To register, contact David Thiessen at 670-4817 or thiessenliquid@gmail.com. Limited registration.   Avocados reached the highest prices in the US over 19 years early this summer, at $28 USD/10 kilos, due to lowered yields caused by bad weather and other problems in the main producing countries of Mexico (strikes), Peru (floods), Chile (droughts) and the US (California droughts). Avocado as colorant: Researchers at Penn State, USA, inadvertently discovered that avocado…

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Belize Livestock Producers Association News

in Issue 33 by

Belize is now proceeding with cattle sweep 4. Based on our good results indicating a healthy livestock population, and proposals at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) we may qualify for some testing reductions. The OIE has drafted changes for the entire world, that, if accepted, would only require 3 tests for brucellosis under some conditions, rather than the currently required 5. Currently we must test 99.9% of our livestock, but we have applied to test only a representative percent of 22.7% of livestock for the fourth sweep. If those results are clean, they could be accepted and used to declare our official status. Throughout the country, it would then involve selected herds, identified into 6 risk areas: breeding…

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Ecological Farming

in Featured/Issue 34 by

Ecological Farming By Taylor Walker   There is a lot of talk these days regarding global climate change, soil loss, and desertification. We as farmers, gardeners, and stewards of the earth can play a major role in slowing and even reversing these catastrophic trends. Thankfully there are many solutions at hand if we use thoughtful techniques and look to the natural environment for ideas and answers.   In nature plants do not grow only in one plane but grow in all dimensions. Most natural terrestrial ecosystems consist of many different species of plants and plant types.  Groundcovers, vines, herbs, shrubs, understory trees, canopy trees, and emergent canopy trees are all present in a tropical forest. As anyone who has farmed…

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Belize Livestock Producers Association Holds 38th Annual General Meeting

in Issue 32 by

On March 19th, 2016, the Belize Livestock Producers Association (BLPA) convened for their 38thannual general meeting (AGM) at their headquarters at Mile 47 ½ George Price Highway. Ranchers gathered from all over Belize, and those renewing their membership found a special price of $25.00 annual dues in effect for the day. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Environment and Sustainable Development Mr. Jose Alpuche, always a welcomed attendee, made a short presentation noting that a reduction of the entry tariff [of cattle] into Mexico and the Government of Belize’s (GOB) cooperation “will provide a foundation for you ranchers to build upon”. He also noted that we need to attach “a proper value on the cattle…

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Pro-Organic Belize Visits Pesticides Control Board – Understanding Pesticide Labels 

in Issue 32 by

On March 11th, 2016 a delegation from Pro Organic Belize (POB) met with Pesticides Control Board (PCB) staff at the PCB headquarters at Central Farm, Cayo District. Present from PCB were Pesticides Registrar Ms. Miriam Serrut, and PCB team members, Ms. Jenelle Canto, Mr. Selvyn Molina, Mr. Nonanto Canto and Mr. Ginnel Ozaeta. Nearly all of Cayo’sPOB members joined their “delegation”, such was the interest level in learning more about how pesticides become registered and how to understand their labels. Belize recognizes 5 grades of pesticides, which are graded by hazard classification, shown in color, using the World Health Organization (WHO) Acute Oral Toxicity Tables for chemicals. Of the 2 reds and 1 each of yellow, blue and green classes,…

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Sam Vigue Discusses Low Input Farming with Pro-Organic Belize

in Issue 31 by

Sam Vigue is an American agronomist who works as a seed research specialist in Austin, Texas. He visited Belize in 2015 and returned in 2016. During the latter visit, he attended Pro-Organic Belize’s January meeting to discuss seeds and low input farming principles. Sam defines low input farming as using better farming systems, wherein a farmer is less reliant on external inputs for planting, growing or harvesting crops. He claims that when seeking self-sufficiency in farming, it all starts with seeds and soil. Healthy soil works like preventative medicine. Having all the nutrients is key. Foliar fertilizer, in his view, will not work as well as maintaining the soil as a storehouse of nutrients for the plant. One of the…

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What Do ppm & ppb Quantities Really Mean?

in Issue 30 by

Descriptions of minute quantities, parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb), can be difficult to grasp. How can we practically relate to one part per million or one part per billion? One ppm is one part per 1,000,000, equivalent to one drop of substance diluted into 50 liters. In an analogy to time, one ppm is equivalent to 32 seconds of one year. One ppb is one part per 1,000,000,000, equivalent to one drop of substance diluted into 250 fifty-five gallon (200 l) drums – that is one drop into 13,750 gallons! In time, that would be 3 seconds out of a century. Many common synthetic-based pesticides’ Maximum Contamination Levels (MCL) are figured in single digits of parts…

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Jaguar Predation: Ranchers and Conservationists Strive Together for Answers Toledo’s Ya’axche Hosts Experts from Panthera

in Issue 29 by

There are no current estimates as to what the countrywide jaguar and puma losses to the livestock industry are, as many ranchers have been reluctant to discuss the predation issue. More information is needed on cat predation of livestock in Belize, to create the best strategies to minimize these losses. However, enough is already known to identify several predation hotspots, including the Belize River Valley area around Crooked Tree and rural Toledo District. The Belize Livestock Association (BLPA) will shortly begin coordination with the Belize Forestry Department and Panthera, the world leader in wild cat conservation, to include cat predation feedback in the cattle sweep surveys of ranchers. Not waiting for these in-depth particulars to begin assisting Belize’s ranching sector,…

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