Nonsense is nonsense

Industrial farming is inherently inefficient; it squanders precious land and water, poisons and pollutes with pesticides and fertilisers and causes significant welfare issues for the animals.

It’s even possible that industrial farming does all those things but that doesn’t make it inefficient.

We get more kilos of animal protein from the use of those inputs – that’s a measure of efficiency, not inefficiency.

An area the size of the EU is devoted to growing industrial animal feed yet we know that the world’s soils have only 60 harvests left.

What? Where in buggery does that come from? Ah, here:

Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said on Friday.
About a third of the world’s soil has already been degraded, Maria-Helena Semedo of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) told a forum marking World Soil Day.

That’s not a source I would trust to be honest.

“We are losing 30 soccer fields of soil every minute, mostly due to intensive farming,” Volkert Engelsman, an activist with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements told the forum at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome.

“Organic (farming) may not be the only solution but it’s the single best (option) I can think of.”

Not using fertiliser doesn’t sound like a good way to deal with a reduced availability of farmland. This is interesting.

26 thoughts on “Nonsense is nonsense”

  1. There’s a leaflet doing the rounds from an organic farming advocacy group. It alleges that the UK loses 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil annually because of industrial farming; so send us money so that we can campaign against it.

    2.2 million tonnes, if spread uniformly across Great Britain, would make a layer about 0.01 mm thick. That’s 1 mm per century; or 1 cm per 1000 years. So new topsoil is being made at 3 times the rate of erosion.

  2. I wouldn’t trust a single thing the UN says. It is basically an organisation for fleecing wealthy democratic nations and distributing the proceeds to the favoured classes of autocrats and bent regimes. And providing sex tourism for their soldiers.

    If Trump had real bottle he’d withdraw the US from the UN and free up some great NYC real estate.

  3. What a load of cobblers, you don’t loose top soil, unless you’re a really stupid farmer. Soil erosion due to wind rain etc is manageable ( one wonders how the dust bowls of the USA go back to being farms).

    Organic farmer is the least productive and efficient form of farming and I would suggest more like to degrade the soil faster. Run off pollution is a problem on high intensity farms that lob loads of nitrogen etc on, but this can be mitigated by decent crop rotation. I have some fun conversations with an ‘Artist’ friend who is a expert on farming (ie knows bugger all). He constantly spouts the UN bollocks and organic crap(!) all the time.

  4. There is at least one very simple solution, redirect urban sewage onto the fields. Isn’t that what Victorian “dustmen” used to do?

  5. I’ve seen how organic farming in Madagascar leads to all their forests being burned, as the cleared areas only lasts a few years before being eroded. And believe me, it is organic farming or at least, its farming like it was done centuries ago. I stayed on the island of nosybe for a week, you can smell burning all the time.

    In the book Jupiter’s travel about this chap who travelled the world in the 70s on a motorbike, there was an interesting snippet: he gets a lift from locals somewhere in the desert in South Sudan, and he meets an official in charge of forests. When he wonders which forests this guy is supposed to manage, he is being told that the desert they’re on was covered in forests not many years beforehand. But organic farming and animal husbandry put paid to that.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    There is nothing quite so illustrative of the religious quackery of these people than snippets TW put up. This:

    Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said on Friday.

    Somehow becomes:

    An area the size of the EU is devoted to growing industrial animal feed yet we know that the world’s soils have only 60 harvests left.

    Emphasis added. We know? With religious certainty? All our top soil could be gone in 60 years. Aliens could come and steal it. But we don’t know they will. At least sane people don’t know any such thing.

  7. The best examples of soil degradation since WWII come from (i) nomadic goat herders on the fringes of the Sahara (ii) Ethiopia under the Stalinist Haile Selassie Mariam (iii) The Soviet Union.
    Without artificial fertilisers billions would starve – not in the capitalist USA which produces more food than it can eat and would be able to grow enough to survive but in Asia, Europe and Africa. Organic farming is compatible with the world population a thousand years ago but not that a century or two ago, let alone today.

  8. Oh well, at least he doesn’t suggest the usual Greenie solution of mass murder

    Well, anyone who demands worldwide ‘organic’ farming must know that it wouldn’t even come close to feeding the world’s growing population, so ‘genocidal’ would be a good description.

  9. “There is at least one very simple solution, redirect urban sewage onto the fields.”

    Already being done, albeit as processed sewage sludge from sewage works. If you see heaps of dark soil tipped into arable fields, then thats most likely sewage sludge. Its full of valuable nutrients. I won’t allow it on my farm though, it contains heavy metals, from contamination from what people stick down the drains, so it can after repeated use cause heavy metal build up in the soil.

    Farmers would love a ban on artificial fertilisers to be a enforced globally, we’d all be driving around in gold plated Rolls-Royces, the price of food stuffs would be through the roof. There would be a lot of dead people though mind, but I guess thats a feature to the sort of people who dream up these ideas.

  10. “There is at least one very simple solution, redirect urban sewage onto the fields.”

    Jim, Diogenes;

    Didn’t the Germans discover a slight problem with doing this on urban allotments only a couple of years ago?

  11. “Didn’t the Germans discover a slight problem with doing this on urban allotments only a couple of years ago?”

    Don’t know, what was the problem? Heavy metals, or disease issues?

  12. The best possible solution to loss of soil is private ownership of farm lands.

    Farmers who own their own land are damn careful with it.

    Here in western Canada wind erosion can be a problem if fields are over-tilled in dry windy weather. Our farmers with such problem long ago went to zero-till methods. Weeds are killed with chemicals rather than ploughed under and seeding is done by shooting the seeds into the dirt using pressurized air as from a BB or pellet gun.

  13. Jim;

    I was kind of hoping that someone else would remember.

    Fairly sure it was gastro-intestinal disease issues. Cucumbers may have been involved.

    I’ll have to check now.

  14. SMFS; sure, but I have a memory of reading an article after that incident, but published beforehand, that had found that within Germany there was a higher incidence of gastro-intestinal diseases amongst allotment owners due to composting techniques.

    Needless to say, I can’t find it now.

  15. Ahh … “the problem of the soil” addressed by farmer James Hutton in the 1750s and which led to the science of geology. Engelsman is but one of many running this scare. Flannery has been doing so for years Down Under.
    There is a developing rift of some considerable proportions opening in western society between urban populations, where many of these doom-mongers live, and their food providers. Watched it being prised open even further in the recent New Zealand election.

  16. “There is a developing rift of some considerable proportions opening in western society between urban populations, where many of these doom-mongers live, and their food providers”

    Quite. Things, generally, smell of cities vs. everywhere else. It seems to be cropping up across a fair few issues.

  17. @Diogenes, October 5, 2017 at 9:27 am

    There is at least one very simple solution, redirect urban sewage onto the fields. Isn’t that what Victorian “dustmen” used to do?

    Yep, they called it “night soil”

    Good points
    Climate contradictions of EU dogma

    .
    “Thank God We’re Leaving”
    Catalonia crackdown a foretaste of EU political suppression – Nigel Farage

    Guy Verhofstadt (pictured above) has called the Spanish state’s use of violence “disproportionate”. Not wrong; disproportionate.

  18. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Right, so soil accumulates at the rate of 30 microns a year. Two thirds of the width of a human hair. Good to know. Fun fact to trot out at a party.

    What a load of total shit.

  19. ‘all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said on Friday’

    Yawn.

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