Okay, so why is Krippner reading Indian newspapers? Well — he’s just weird, okay?
Anyway, ran into this item about more evidence that pests are becoming immune to BT corn and cotton, which are genetically engineered to produce poisons made by Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT), a naturally occurring pesticide.
Analysis of 77 different studies in 8 countries resulted in well documented cases of five major pests that have developed resistance to BT crops as of 2010.
That’s the basic problem with all of these GM crops; they ignore how nature works. Yes, they’ll work for a time, but sooner or later (usually sooner) good old fashioned evolution will produce new pests that are immune to the GM solutions.
The only way to deal with pests successfully over the long term is to break the reproduction cycle through biodiversity. You don’t put all your eggs in one basket. But we’ve lost so much genetic diversity that all it would take would be one very virulent plant pathogen attacking one of our core crops like corn, wheat or soy, and we’d be in deep, deep trouble.
And you’d think we’d have learned our lesson from numerous famines, plagues and infestations in the past (think Irish potato famine, for example). But obviously we haven’t.
Good. I hope it becomes so ‘challenging’ they go out of business, both in the EU and here.
And before you start pointing fingers at me and accusing me of being anti-environment or something, let me explain.
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you should know by this time that I feel the entire fuel ethanol industry is pretty much a scam.
First of all, there is no market for ethanol fuel. At least not any kind of market that a capitalist would recognize. The entire market for ethanol fuels is based on government mandates, tax breaks and corporate welfare. Without the tax breaks, grants and mandates, ethanol fuel would not exist because a) it wouldn’t be cost effective to produce it, and b) no one would buy it.
Second, despite all of the nonsense coming out of Congress and the ethanol industry, ethanol damages engines. There is a reason why virtually every single engine manufacturer in the world testified against increasing ethanol content in fuel when Congress pushed through the rules increasing the content in gasoline. Unless you’re running one of the specially modified flex-fuel vehicles, running more than 10% ethanol in your engine can cause serious damage. Oh, the corn growers and ethanol lobby claims that’s nonsense, but who would you rather believe, the ethanol lobby which has a vested interest in selling ethanol, or the engine manufacturers? (In a lot of cases, you shouldn’t be running any ethanol in your engine, especially if it’s an older vehicle.)
Third, again, despite claims to the contrary from the ethanol industry, ethanol production does have an adverse effect on food prices. One independent study I read indicated it adds about 17 cents to the cost of a bushel of corn here in the US, and in the EU, where wheat is more commonly used to produce it, the cost is even higher.
Fourth, it doesn’t save energy. If one calculates in all of the associated energy inputs that go into producing ethanol, such as transport costs, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, distillation costs, etc., it actually takes more than one gallon of fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol.
Fifth, it is definitely not environmentally friendly. Oh, sure, burring ethanol produces less garbage than burning gasoline. But if you factor in all of the environmental damage done by the entire production process as well, ethanol becomes really dirty, really fast. Drastically increased pesticide and herbicide use, drastically increased fertilizer use, trucking costs, diesel fuel for the tractors, trucks, trains. And it certainly is far from being carbon neutral.
Oh, the heck with it. Thanks to a congress that is pretty much owned lock, stock and barrel by the lobbyists, ethanol is going to continue to be rammed down our throats while other, less damaging technologies like hydrogen and electric which could really solve our problems are almost totally ignored.
Much to everyone’s surprise, our little fruit trees not only survived the winter, they’re doing very well indeed! About 10 of the original lot survived. Not as many as we’d hoped for, but considering the drought, the fact that they were grafted by a student, and we got ‘em more or less for free, I’m very pleased. I’d like to add a couple of dozen more up there in the rockier parts of that field that we can’t really do much with. We’ll see if they have some sales this year.
Everything is running late this year because of the cold, wet spring we had. Lots of farmers haven’t gotten their corn, even some of their grain in yet, and soybean planting is way behind schedule.
We had serious die-offs of winter wheat and alfalfa in Wisconsin. Some parts of the state are reporting as much 75% die-off on alfalfa, and winter wheat 30-40%. This weekend the renter had to work up a big field of wheat that didn’t survive the winter. Didn’t have time to stop to ask him what they’re going to put in. Might still be able to get corn in there.
Weather has been odd. Went from beautiful summer like weather with temperatures in the 80s down to temps in the low 40s at night. Northern parts of the state had some late season freezes as well.
Egads… It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve said anything about what’s going on out at the farm! No, we didn’t pull the plug and sell the place! I’ve just been so busy these last few weeks between clinic visits, CT scans, doctors, the new bike, new radio and I don’t know what all else that I just haven’t had time to mess around much on Tumblr.
We got us a grain drill! Well, sort of. Borrowed it from a friend for the weekend. Yes, I know it’s way, way too late in the season to be putting in oats, but we’re more interested in a cover crop to keep the weeds down than in harvest, although we do have a combine we can use if we can get it working.
That’s Steve playing farmer by the way. He enjoys this kind of thing way too much.
Monsanto stopped work on a RoundUp resistant wheat back in 2004 because virtually every country in the world that buys U.S. wheat said they would ban sales of it in their countries.
But apparently the cat’s already out of the bag. A small farm in Oregon was discovered to already be contaminated with the wheat when a farmer tried killing off a crop of wheat with the herbicide and some of the plants refused to die.
The result was Japan suspended imports of white wheat and feed from the U.S. and canceled orders, and the E.U. is telling it’s member countries to test all imported wheat from the U.S. to make sure it isn’t contaminated with the stuff.
At the moment, they aren’t sure exactly how the stuff got out ‘into the wild’, so to speak, and are now rushing to do damage control.
If they can’t figure out how the stuff got out there, and can’t provide evidence to the countries who import our wheat, this could be devastating for U.S. farmers.
Ouch… If corn does really drop that low it’s really going to throw a monkey wrench into the works. I’m not sure what will happen exactly if corn drops to under $4, but farmers certainly are going to get hit hard.
The question is whether or not to believe Deutsche Bank. They’re basing the numbers in part on the belief that poultry production in Asia is going to drop drastically because of the fear of bird flu, and that the drought is over in the US and that weather is going to be stable in the rest of the world.
brief but nice article over at NPR’s the Salt blog about the current trial here in Wisconsin over the sale of raw milk.
Note: To be completely accurate the trial is NOT about raw milk. The trial is about the farmer selling food for public consumption without the necessary permits and inspections. The judge has specifically banned any mention of raw milk, health issues (on either side), etc. and is requiring the to conduct the trial solely on the licensing/permit/inspection issues.
MJ first discovered this now? Egads, doesn’t say much for their reporters. This has been going on for just about forever. The U.S. has used political/financial and even military pressure to force other countries to accept US exports of questionable quality and safety for decades. The US has been putting enormous pressure on the EU countries for years now to accept GM seeds and foods made with GM products, meat that was raised using drugs not allowed in the EU, etc.
Whew, it’s been busy around here! We’ve been running as fast as we can to just try to keep up, and it looks like things aren’t going to slow down for a while.
Out at the farm, about all I’ve been able to do is get the lawn done. Managed to finally get out there yesterday. Thank goodness we got the big zero turn mower. The old Fleet Farm Special would never have been able to handle the mess we had out there, especially around the barns.
Haven’t been able to get anything in the ground yet because of a variety of things, mostly weather and lack of time. I’ve been running up to the clinic about once a week for the last month as they try to figure out what’s wrong. CT scans all came up normal (seeing my internal organs was highly entertaining. So that’s what my liver and kidneys look like!) The physical exams all came up normal. So now they’re going to run a scope up my thingie to look at my bladder and see if there’s anything up there that shouldn’t be there.
It’s just starting to dry out. The renter has got most of his crops in, thank goodness, but we haven’t gotten our stuff in yet because of various delays. Maybe this weekend (he said keeping his fingers crossed). We generally don’t put out bedding plants until Memorial Day weekend anyway because, well, this is Wisconsin, and waking up in the middle of May to find snow on the ground is not unheard of.
We’re getting a trailer big enough to haul the tractor around, which will come in very handy. We want to get it here to the house in town so we can work up some parts of the lawn and pull out some shrubs. We’ll have that early next week!
We’re also looking at that trailer and tractor being an additional source of income. Now that we’ll be able to transport it we can get around with the tractor and big tiller and do people’s gardens. I can cover more area with that rig in 1 hour than a person with a standard tiller can cover in an entire weekend.
Even though it’s sunny now, they’re predicting rain and t-storms for the first three days of this week, so it’s unlikely we’ll get much done out there.
The “to do” list seems to grow faster than the grass is!
Average farmland prices went up nearly 20% in the first quarter of this year. I really don’t understand how prices can keep climbing like this, especially with commodity prices the way they are right now.
When they did the appraisal of the farm for the estate, they estimated it at a price of around $6,000/acre, and I’m kind of wondering where they got that number from. The last farmland sale I heard of in the county where the farm is located was $7,500/acre late last year, and I know of four farms in neighboring counties which went for $8,800 - $10,000 per acre, and land rentals are topping $300/acre around here.
I wonder how long the market can sustain prices like this, though.