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Posts Tagged ‘farming’

Organic farming wastes resources and what about the animals?

We should all care where meat comes from. Poor animal welfare shames us all. Writing in the Guardian, George Monbiot has an idea:

One study in Britain suggests that, if we stopped using animal products, everyone in Britain could be fed on just 3m of our 18.5m hectares of current farmland (or on 7m hectares if all our farming were organic).

Organic is wasteful, then, right? And if we stop using animal product, where does the fertiliser for organic come from?

The study Monbiot cites is in the Land Magazine. You can read it there, and then know that according to the Soil Association, “Organic means…no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers.”

Poo it is, then. We need farm animals. But we can all agree they must be well treated. Anything less is a curse on our age.

 

Posted: 21st, October 2017 | In: News, Technology, The Consumer | Comment


George Monbiot: vegans against cow shit

George Monbiot wants to tell us about his meals in the Guardian. We live in an age of narcissism, so a broadsheet writer talking about his dinner is staple fare:

I’ve converted to veganism to reduce my impacts on the living world

Cows swoon:

The world can cope with 7 or even 10 billion people. But only if we stop eating meat. Livestock farming is the most potent means by which we amplify our presence on the planet. It is the amount of land an animal-based diet needs that makes it so destructive.

We should slaughter all the animals?

An analysis by the farmer and scholar Simon Fairlie suggests that Britain could easily feed itself within its own borders. But while a diet containing a moderate amount of meat, dairy and eggs would require the use of 11m hectares of land (4m of which would be arable), a vegan diet would demand a total of just 3m.

And lots of manure to grow the stuff with? Human shit is only good for columnists to make a living. The rest of us need horse, bird, pig and cow shit.

Rothamsted tells us:

Livestock manures are a valuable source of nutrients in many organic rotations. Making best use of these nutrients:
• contributes towards economic sustainability
• minimises pollution of the wider environment

Can you have good animal shit without animals to do the shitting? Monbiot adds:

Not only do humans need no pasture, but we use grains and pulses more efficiently when we eat them ourselves, rather than feed them to cows and chickens.

If not more animals to create more animal manure to grow crops with, is the option to go for increased GM crops and artificial fertilisers?

This would enable 15m hectares of the land now used for farming in Britain to be set aside for nature.

Nature? Are human beings not natural?

File under: show us your shit.

Posted: 10th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Reviews | Comment


German farmers collect straw bales in the style of Wernher von Braun (video)

Wernher von Braun

IN this video, we catch up with the descendants of Wernher von Braun (“He aimed at the stars but sometimes he hit London”) now working as rocketeer farmers in the German lands:

Posted: 17th, June 2013 | In: TV & Radio | Comment


We’ve reached peak farmland! Millions of humans will die (maybe)

EEK! We’ve reached peak farmland: we’ll not expand the fields ever again. That, of course, spells doom for all of us human beans, as there will be ever less food for ever more people. Woe is us.

Except that’s not actually what is being predicted. Rather, that because we’re using farmland ever more efficiently we’ll never need to plough up more forest to make fields:

American corn farmers currently average about 180 bushels per acre, and the world average is around 82. Ausubel and his colleagues assume a modest 1.7 percent annual increase in corn yields between 2010 and 2060, which implies that “the average global yield in 2060 would resemble the average U.S. yield in 2010.”

One concern is that farmers may be approaching the biological limits of photosynthesis, which would constrain crop yields. But the authors note that the winners of the annual National Corn Yield Contest currently produce nonirrigated yields of around 300 bushels per acre, nearly double average U.S. yields. Ausubel suggests that the difference between the global average of 82 bushels and contest-winning 300 bushels per acre yields means that “much headroom remains.”

All that’s necessary is to get global average crop yields up to current US average crop yields and we’ll be fine. And the good thing about that is that we know how to get crop yileds up. For we do it today, so we must know how to do it.

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Posted: 30th, May 2013 | In: Money | Comment


EU farmers push for faster spoiling milk (photos)

TO Belgium for the Europe Milk Demonstration, in which the versatility of milk is showcased by farmers with hoses. The famers, upset by what they see as unfair milk prices, squirt milk at the European parliament and police. The farmers also set barrels of hay and a pile of tyres on fire, sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky. They plan to stay put outside parliament until Tuesday afternoon.

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Posted: 26th, November 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


German farm lets sausage munchers pick which pig dies

WOULD you prefer to eat sausages taken from a single pig – a pig whose name you knew? Dennis Buchmann, has created Meine Kleine Farm (My Little Farm). The farm allows customers to vote for the animal they want to eat.

Says Buchman:

“I think man has lost touch with his food. People eat a sausage like a carrot; without any thought about what goes into it.” 

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Posted: 28th, February 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment


Europe gets united airforce – reach for the subsidies

THE European Union is to get its own airforce. Oh, Brave New World:

When European farmers turn their eyes skyward, they soon may have more than the weather to worry about. The more progressive aviation framework in Europe means that government monitors potentially have a new weapon in their arsenals–unmanned aerial drones–to enforce regulations, and they’re starting with agriculture. EU regulators are exploring potential aerial systems that can help them spot farm subsidy cheats and violators of Common Agricultural Policy rules.

…satellite images are unreliable. In some places, mountainous terrain makes for long shadows that obscure features on the ground. In places like Scotland, it’s overcast all the time.

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Posted: 9th, February 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)


Celebrities Polish Giant Pig Turd In Westminster

SO. There we were on Whitehall, when Christine Hamilton, Sharron Davies and Liz McClarnon arrived and stood by a gigantic turd.

While Old Mr Anorak popped off to borrow a chamois leather from a relative up the red road round the corner– McLarnon, once of Atomic Kitten is due a comeback; and Hamilton did make her Neil famous – someone said it was not a turd but a big fake sausage that would be signed for a rally organised by the National Pig Association.

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Posted: 3rd, March 2011 | In: The Consumer | Comment