Thursday, December 29, 2011

Greed. It can come back to bite you in the...

Rootworms have become resistant to genetically modified corn. The corn made by those wonderful folks at Monsanto (he said snarkily) was modified to produce its' own pesticide. Unfortunately the worms have developed a resistance to it and are starting to increase crop damage. The problem has been exacerbated by poor farming methods.

Don't fool mother nature

A problem of greed
Most farmers rotate corn with other crops in a practice long used to curb the spread of pests, but some have abandoned rotation because they need extra grain for livestock or because they have grain contracts with ethanol producers. Other farmers have eschewed the practice to cash in on high corn prices, which hit a record in June.

Crop rotation I might add has been used for centuries and when done properly results in higher crop yields and better soil conditions. We saw what happened in the 1930s when farmers abandoned standard practices and when a draught ensued the top soil blew away leaving farmers with nothing. That was the period of the great Dust Bowl in the midwest. With a dry winter it makes one wonder how the midwest aquifer is holding up. It's been known to be decreasing with the increase of agricultural activity of the farm belt.

I hope everyone realizes that we no longer grow most of our produce in this country. We only cover about 25% of our food needs here. The rest comes from countries like Chile, Canada, India, and Mexico. And you can thank Bush for our abundance of mangos from India. Much of our farm output was outsourced long ago and yet prices continue to rise. Good luck finding a pound of beef for under $5. That was due to our draught this past summer. But this makes me wonder what defense we would have should our supplies be cut off. We have developed a "just in time" supply system and any disruption to that would be a disaster.


Roger Owen Green said...

I've thought it was INSANE that crop rotation has been abandoned. I learned about c.r. in the 4th GRADE and it made sense then, makes more sense now.

Randal Graves said...

Oh great, you just told the terrorists exactly what to target.

MRMacrum said...

Seems no matter what we do to try to manipulate Nature, the only success we have is when we destroy it.

Demeur said...

Yes Roger and it made sense a couple of thousand years ago too.

Terrorists? Hell we don't need terrorists we're doing a fine job of destroying ourselves.

But we never really destroy nature because nature always wins.

Tom Harper said...

"With a dry winter it makes one wonder how the midwest aquifer is holding up."

Don't worry, the Keystone XL Pipeline will make short work of their aquifer. Who cares about a bunch of whiners' drinking water supply when Big Oil profits are at stake.

BBC said...

I mostly buy meat that is near the pull date and run it through my hand grinder to make it like hamburger, hell, hamburger is over 300 bucks a pound so I save money that way.

A pound of tenderloin hamburger went into the bean pot, very tasty.

I hate to garden, easier to steal what I need.

The Blog Fodder said...

People always look for a silver bullet they can buy rather than improved management that takes brain work and lots of it.
What was needed with the GMO corn that produced its own pesticide was two kinds of corn with two kinds of unrelated own pesticide so the bugs didn't develop resistance as long as the corn varieties were grown in rotation. That lesson was learned long ago but ignored this go round.
And ignoring good agronomics (crop rotation) in the name of short term profit is just too stupid for words. I thought that only happened on the giant farms in the FSU.

S.W. Anderson said...

"Hell we don't need terrorists we're doing a fine job of destroying ourselves."

I've had that same thought more than a few times, only it was "damaging" rather than "destroying."

Blog Fodder is right about doing something stupid in a quest for short-term profits. I hate to say it, but it's a too-common failing of Americans. Not just in farming, but in business and investing.