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World Grain Status (merged)

Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 08 Feb 2018, 16:58:17

From my understanding just two principal ways that our modern agricultural system is unsustainable is by denuding the soil of organics and nutrients and what you posted Ghung of monoculture plot layout leaving these varieties very vulnerable to infestation and disease. Of course in a macro manner the phosphorus and water requirements are not sustainable for much longer to feed our huge population not to mention the devastating impact to the entire system of declining fossil fuels. And of course, the pernicious environmental impacts of connecting food production with FF should be familiar to most here
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby farmlad » Thu 08 Feb 2018, 21:57:11

Another overwhelming challenge for farmers is on the business side, I would estimate that the vast majority of acres devoted to food production have a huge debt load, so the farmer can only focus on the immediate needs and can not afford to make the transition into more sustainable/regenerative practices. Transitioning into regenerative farming requires that you wean the crops off of chemicals and implement soil biology friendly practices so that the soil biology can again supply the nutrients to the plants instead of relying on synthetic inputs. This transition commonly takes 3 cropping cycles to really get off the ground to where the crops can do okay without the synthetics and then in the following years the soil becomes successively better. The costs are in the loss of production during those first years and that makes it almost impossible to make the change. The organic system generally rewards the farmer with a higher premium but they require 3 years of no chemical usage before the crops can be certified.

Most soils that are currently being farmed contain massive quantities of macro and micro nutrients but they are not in the soluble form, ready for plant uptake. This is where we need the healthy communities of organisms to access these nutrients and turn them into the forms that the plants can use. Some farmers have been adding no fertilizers to their soils for 10 plus years and the levels of plant available nutrients just keep increasing. We really don't know how long you can carry off grain until the soil is actually depleted but most likely it would be several decades at the minimum.

The overwhelming implementation of our current fiat credit system has made slaves out of the vast majority of farmers in the developed and developing world. The more I come to understand the fiat credit system the more I see all the destruction it has had on our civilization.

I see similarities in so many other self defeating human activities funded by the all powerful fiat credit system such as fracking, ethanol, healthcare/pharma, and the never ending corporate asset purchasing stripping and bankruptcy cycles.
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 09 Feb 2018, 07:41:25

farmlad wrote:Another overwhelming challenge for farmers is on the business side, I would estimate that the vast majority of acres devoted to food production have a huge debt load, so the farmer can only focus on the immediate needs and can not afford to make the transition into more sustainable/regenerative practices.

A bit of research would show you that you are completely wrong in your estimate. Total farm assets are ten times farm debt and working capital is 1.6 times short term debt. Competition is fierce and prices low so the only way to stay profitable is to minimize debt and interest payments and that has been the farmers reality for decades.
https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-ec ... nd-wealth/
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 09 Feb 2018, 08:03:52

Another huge problem is soil erosion on these vast cleared out monoculture fields. With all surrounding forests cut down, both wind and water cause much soil erosion. But that is the mandate to clear cut forest to have more arable acreage for expanding food supply. Thanks Farm for your expert testimony
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby farmlad » Fri 09 Feb 2018, 09:27:18

Vt snowedin A bit of research would show you that you are completely wrong in your estimate. Total farm assets are ten times farm debt and working capital is 1.6 times short term debt. Competition is fierce and prices low so the only way to stay profitable is to minimize debt and interest payments and that has been the farmers reality for decades.


The debt to asset ratio is obviously one that the USDA likes to put out. Not acknowledging that the assets are based on the level of fiat credit available to the marginal buyer; nothing more.

A more useful metric to evaluate the farmers autonomy would be something like debt vs yearly net income or interest payments vs net income.
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 09 Feb 2018, 13:51:23

farmlad wrote:
Vt snowedin A bit of research would show you that you are completely wrong in your estimate. Total farm assets are ten times farm debt and working capital is 1.6 times short term debt. Competition is fierce and prices low so the only way to stay profitable is to minimize debt and interest payments and that has been the farmers reality for decades.


The debt to asset ratio is obviously one that the USDA likes to put out. Not acknowledging that the assets are based on the level of fiat credit available to the marginal buyer; nothing more.
A lot of farm purchases are for cash so the credit market is not a factor. A larger factor is the estate tax which has just changed for the better.

A more useful metric to evaluate the farmers autonomy would be something like debt vs yearly net income or interest payments vs net income.

All of which is easily found.
https://www.ers.usda.gov/media/9718/far ... y2018.xlsx
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby Newfie » Fri 09 Feb 2018, 20:22:09

The dairy farmer up the road from our cabin says he hasn’t made any money in 3 years and says he is typical of small family dairy farmers in PA. He says it requires a second source of income, his wife is a RN, to float the operation.

I think he got a shot of cash from the gas leases but that has withered and he is not getting any extraction royalties.

Apparently the price for milk fat is down and has been for a while.
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 09 Feb 2018, 20:32:02

Newfie wrote:The dairy farmer up the road from our cabin says he hasn’t made any money in 3 years and says he is typical of small family dairy farmers in PA. He says it requires a second source of income, his wife is a RN, to float the operation.

I think he got a shot of cash from the gas leases but that has withered and he is not getting any extraction royalties.

Apparently the price for milk fat is down and has been for a while.

Dairy farming has been tough for decades in the north east. Recently the price of organic milk has dropped by a third costing a friend of mine $40,000 a year. Too many farmers jumped on the organic bandwagon and created an over supply.
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Re: World Grain Status (merged)

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 13 Feb 2018, 11:02:58

Weeds Out of Control

Herbicides can no longer control the weeds that threaten crop productivity and food security in the UK because the plants have evolved resistance, and future control must depend on management strategies that reduce reliance on chemicals.

A nationwide epidemiological assessment of the factors that are driving the abundance and spread of the major agricultural weed, black-grass, was the focus of collaborative work led by the University of Sheffield, with Rothamsted Research and the Zoological Society of London.

The team mapped the density of black-grass populations across 70 farms in England, collecting seed from 132 fields. They also collected historical management data for all fields to address the question "which management factors are driving black-grass abundance and herbicide resistance?" Their findings are published today in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

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Black Grass (Alopecurus myosuroides) infestation of Wheat

In addition to its effect on cereal yield, black-grass suffers from ergot (Claviceps purpurea) and this can result in contamination of the grain at harvest. The fungus is the same strain that infects wheat.

"At Rothamsted, we used glasshouse bioassays to determine that 80% of sampled populations were highly resistant to all herbicides that can be used for selective black-grass control in a wheat crop," says Paul Neve, a weed biologist and leader of Rothamsted's strategic programme, Smart Crop Protection.

"Field monitoring indicated that the level of resistance to herbicides was correlated with population density, indicating that resistance is a major driver for black-grass population expansion in England," notes Neve. He adds:
"We found that the extent of herbicide resistance was primarily dictated by the historical intensity of herbicide use, and that no other management factors had been successful in modifying this resistance risk."

The team found that the increased weed densities lead to higher herbicide costs and lower crop yields, resulting in significant losses of profit. Increasing resistance is linked to the number of herbicide applications, and mixing different chemicals or applying them cyclically did not prevent resistance developing, the team report.


Farmers, Conservationists Challenge Trump's EPA, Monsanto Over Crop-damaging Pesticide Dicamba

... The 2017 crop season — the first year of XtendiMax use — was an unprecedented disaster. Just as critics warned would happen, dicamba sprayed on Monsanto’s GE soybeans and cotton formed vapor clouds that drifted to damage a host of crops and wild plants. More than 3 million acres of soybeans as well as scores of vegetable and fruit crops, trees and shrubs throughout the country were reportedly damaged by dicamba drift. Flowering plants near cropland also suffered, with potential harms to pollinators, as well as hundreds of endangered animal and plant species. Agronomists reported they had never seen herbicide-related drift damage on anything approaching this scale before. As the 2018 season approaches, experts predict similar widespread devastation.

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Acres of Dicamba-Injured Soybeans


Herbicide-Resistant Weed Concerns Shown in Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll

... The poll found 22 percent of respondents believed they had weeds that were resistant to PPO inhibitor herbicides in their fields, up substantially from 3 percent in 2013. Twelve percent believed they had weeds that were resistant to HPPD inhibitor herbicides, compared to 4 percent in 2013.
... “I hate to say it, I'm not an organic fan but I'm starting to see where organic farmers look like their weeds are more under control with more tillage than we are with our minimum till,”

... And the herbicide dicmaba now being tightly regulated by the EPA - NOT. The University of Nebraska is putting on workshops across the state to allow farmers to be able to use it.

There is definitely a fear of drift and associated implications, so that would be a reason for not using the technology fully [this year],” says Dwight Lingenfelter, Penn State Extension scientist.

Last fall, Monsanto reported that in light of strong demand, the company and its licensing partners would “have enough supply of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans for up to half of all U.S. soybean acres for the 2018 season.” That could mean the number of dicamba-tolerant soybean acres in 2018 would be double compared to what was planted in 2017, which was about 20 million acres.

http://nebraska.tv/news/ntvs-grow/farme ... trol-weeds
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