SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Agricultural R&D
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Agricultural R&D

 
Scientist at the Volcani Center for Agricultural Research (Photo: GPO / A. Ohayon)

The agricultural sector is based almost entirely on R&D, implemented by cooperation between farmers and researchers. Research results are quickly transmitted through an extension service to the field for trial, and problems are brought directly to the scientists for solutions. Agricultural R&D is carried out primarily by the Ministry of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Organization. Most agricultural research institutes in Israel maintain close relations with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, ensuring a continuous exchange of information with other countries.

Israel’s dairy cows are, on average, the world champions in milk production, having increased the average yield per cow from 6,300 liters in 1970 to over 10,000 liters today through scientific breeding and genetic testing carried out by the Volcani Institute. By harvesting sperm and ova from cattle of superior bloodlines, Israel is able to upgrade its own herd as well as share its advances in this field with other countries.

Israeli agriculturists have pioneered trickle-drip irrigation, agricultural biotechnology, soil solarization, and the sustained use of industrial waste water for agriculture. These advances have been applied to marketable products, ranging from genetically engineered seeds and biopesticides to light-degradable plastics and computerized irrigation/fertilization systems.

Making optimal use of scarce water, harsh land, and a limited labor force has led to revolutions in agricultural methods. The search for water-saving techniques spurred development of computer-controlled irrigation systems, including the drip method which directs water flow straight to the root zone of plants, helping farmers worldwide. Research relating to the electro-magnetic treatment of water to improve animal health and crop yields has also produced promising results.

Israeli-designed and manufactured computers are widely used to coordinate daily farming activities, such as guiding fertilizer injection while monitoring relevant environmental factors, supplying feed for livestock mixed according to tested least-cost/best-yield proportions, and providing a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment for poultry. In addition, a variety of innovative equipment for tilling, sowing, planting, harvesting, collecting, sorting, and packing has been developed, manufactured, and implemented.

Agriculture has also benefited from general scientific research and R&D, including automated plant tissue culture, biological insecticides, disease-resistant seeds, and biological fertilization.


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