Oh dear oh dear

The usual phantasm about self sufficiency in food.

Agriculture uses vast amounts of water – 20,000 litres goes to produce just one kilogram of beef, including growing feed, watering the cattle and processing the meat – which will get much scarcer as populations and demands grow.

So, less meat and dairy then.

That will have to mean taking more care of the soil, the very foundation of farming; about half of our arable land is thought to be at risk of erosion, with intensive farming the main culprit. It will involve conserving water and fuel, and almost certainly increasing organic agriculture as artificial fertilisers and pesticides become scarcer and costlier.

Oh, so we need more meat and dairy to produce the organic fertiliser then (it being, after all, cow shit)?

You can\’t have it both ways now, can you?

Plus of course the point that fertiliser comes from natural gasa, not oil, and through frakking we\’ve just found anpothjer huge source of natural gas.

Oh, and of course, no till agriculture is the best way to build up the soil and you can\’t do that with organic farming. You\’ve got to use your herbicides and pesticides you see. Which implies, although doesn\’t insist upon, GM, which is also incompatible with organic farming.

It\’s the usual nonsense: something needs to be done so let\’s do this even whin \”this\” is entirely incompatible with what needs to be done.

And of course the truth is that we don\’t need to be self sufficient anyway, any more than France needs to be self sufficient in jet engines (which we make for them) or aircraft wings (ditto).

10 comments on “Oh dear oh dear

  1. I am totally atechnocreat and believe in traditional culture for organic agri-cattle farming based on vedic application.The products r not only tasty, nutrious and free from chemical/pesticides but the out come of food consumption is important. there r less health hazards from organic, environment , and less emmission of carbon which lead soil fertily to use next generation of coming decades.

  2. As Robin Page details in this article most of the land in the UK (around 60%) is only suitable for grazing which is why we have so much livestock farming. Scottish Highlands, Fells, Dales, Moors etc

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1240888/ROBIN-PAGE-Yes-DO-face-food-crisis–Labours-contempt-countryside-thats-blame.html

    It takes countries such as Canada, US even Brazil where there is plenty of room to grow crops on the scale needed to feed the world such as wheat or more to the point soya beans. And most of that is done using chemicals not organically.

    Anyone watching Jimmy’s Global Harvest on BBC2 Thursday night where he was in Brazil can see that they farm soya on an industrial scale. And the only way they could do is was to add chemicals to the soil to make it alkaline enough to support the crop rather than scrubland that was of no use to anyone.

    Having a temperate, cooler climate in the UK with more rainfall also means we have more resources to “grow” livestock compared to more arid regions. And a lot of farming in the UK is diverse allowing the farmer to use his land for the best food production whether that is crop or animal.

    But try telling that to the urbanites in Whitehall.

  3. Oh and another thing, GM is not the answer. Anyone that says GM is the way to go is in cloud cuckoo land. There have been plenty of studies to show that while the first year’s yield may be higher, though that is debatable, the 2nd and 3rd years’ yields reduce to the point where they are useless. And all this and chemicals into the soil too and damage to the ecosystem, wildlife etc!

    Just look at the devestation in India amongst the poor rice farmers. Conned into buying GM seed that is sterile, when the crops fail they can’t recover seed from the plants for the following year. They have no choice but to borrow money to buy the seed again from companies like Monsanto.

    Feed the poor? More like kill off the poor!

    If the farmer’s crop fails and he hasn’t got the money to buy more seeds, the only way out in their culture is usually suicide. Which leaves the wives and children completely destitute and outcast from the rest of their communities.

    And we call this progress…off soapbox now

  4. Geoffrey Lean: put on Earth so that Ritchie can say to someone and say, ‘Christ, that man’s an ignorant twat.’

  5. @Rossa “the 2nd and 3rd years’ yields reduce to the point where they are useless.” Are you saying farmers are unable to learn from the experience of others? Surly if GM seeds were useless word would get around and no one would buy them. Yet this doesn’t happen. Farmers in the major food-growing countries have been using GM seeds for decades. What do these ‘studies’ know that farmers don’t?

  6. Tim, you are repeating a tired old myth here. Fertilizer does NOT ‘come from natural gas’. You compound it by adding ‘not oil’.

    Fertilizer is made in an industrial process, and at the stage you’re describing, they’re actually making ammonia, by combining hydrogen and nitrogen.
    Your beloved natural gas provides the hydrogen feedstock. In other parts of the world, it could be, and is provided by oil. Or coal. Or biomass. Or whatever is the cheapest local source.

    Natural gas starts running out or getting expensive? Switch to another feedstock source. Heck, you can use electrolysis and get it from water if necessary. (That would be the water that’s also running out, despite it covering 70% of the earth)

    Other than its utility as a cheap source of hydrogen, there is no connection whatsoever between any fossil fuels and fertilizer.

  7. 20,000 litres of water to make one kilo of beef?
    Wow! 20,000 kgs magically compressed into 1kg? Golly.

    What’s that you say? That breaks the fundamental laws of physic? Oh. Wait.

    This 20,000 litres number is just shite of the first water – if you will pardon the expression. Yes, 20,000 litres may pass through the process but it goes pretty much straight back into the environment. It’s called the water cycle. Morons.

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