Blowin in the wind Feb 20, 2010 13:14:21 GMT
Post by curiousgeorge on Feb 20, 2010 13:14:21 GMT
There's an ongoing debate in the farming community about that issue of food vs fuel, and prices. There have been some experimental plots that have yielded 300 bu/acre (corn ) lately, but that's been done on prime land with specific varieties of GM corn and a lot of tlc. The avg. is around 160 or so. There is a big push to get yields up for cash crops like corn and soy, but a lot of folks figure we're pretty close to the limit already. Rice, wheat, etc. also are in that category. Fruits & Veggies are not a big issue, since there's plenty of land, etc. and lot's of people grow their own - I do. It's not unusual for a veggie crop to be plowed under due to market saturation.
It's a real balancing act for farmers. Yield increases don't always pay off, because of increased inputs for fertilizer, water, fuel, etc. Corn, wheat, and soy need to be dryed (natural gas), stored, transported, etc. It's one of the most complicated businesses going, and the competition is international, which means tariffs and subsidies in some cases.
Feeding an ever growing global population, that is expanding their diets into new areas ( more meat, greater variety, etc. ) is a significant challenge.
"Fruits & Veggies are not a big issue, since there's plenty of land, etc. and lot's of people grow their own - I do. It's not unusual for a veggie crop to be plowed under due to market saturation. "
This is a common sight in Europe where subsidies unbalance the market even more than in the US. But much of the 'saturation' is also due to the consumer moving to a domestic version of 'just in time' food stocking.
Consumers have got so used to the local supermarket having fresh fruit and vegetables at all times regardless of the season, that the old practices during a glut of bottling, drying, pickling and other long-term food storage methods have become lost skills. If the second dip of the depression we are in goes as deep as it appears it will do - I think these skills will need to be relearned.
Those with land may also need to think hard about what crops to keep for themselves and how to keep them safe from hungry townies.
(For those who want simple fruit pickling - I recommend making rumtopf )
That's true. Even among farming family's there aren't nearly as many who preserve as much as was the case only 50 years ago. Used to be hard to find mason jars at yard/farm sales but these days you can buy them cheap by the truck load.
Freezing is far more common than canning, which raises the spectre of lengthy electrical outages destroying your supplies. Hence the obvious concern with reliable generation and distribution of power. I don't think the proponents of on-again/off again electricity alternatives have given this aspect much thought. They seem to think that losing power is merely an inconvenience - sort of a so what? attitude if you can't surf the net or watch tv for a few days.
One of my recurring nightmares is being in the path of a horde of New York City locusts descending on my little patch and stripping it bare.