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    Dulcimina's Avatar
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    As Biotech Seed Falters, Insecticide Use Surges In Corn Belt

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    Woke up to this on NPR this morning: As Biotech Seed Falters, Insecticide Use Surges In Corn Belt : The Salt : NPR

    It appears that farmers have gotten part of the message: Biotechnology alone will not solve their rootworm problems. But instead of shifting away from those corn hybrids, or from corn altogether, many are doubling down on insect-fighting technology, deploying more chemical pesticides than before.
    This is a return to the old days, before biotech seeds came along, when farmers relied heavily on pesticides. For Dan Steiner, an independent crop consultant in northeastern Nebraska, it brings back bad memories. "We used to get sick [from the chemicals]," he says. "We'd dig [in the soil] to see how the corn's coming along, and we didn't use the gloves or anything, and we'd kind of puke in the middle of the day.
    If the rootworm-fighting genes in the corn are working well, no larvae should emerge.

    But some have.
    Steiner, the Nebraska crop consultant, usually argues for another strategy. Starve the rootworms, he tells his clients. Just switch that field to another crop. "One rotation can do a lot of good," he says. "Go to beans, wheat, oats. It's the number one right thing to do."
    The problem, Meinke says, is that farmers are thinking about the money they can make today. "I think economics are driving everything," he says. "Corn prices have been so high the last three years, everybody is trying to protect every kernel. People are just really going for it right now, to be as profitable as they can."

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    Thanks for posting this.
    "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

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    Worrisome....

    Next headline: "As insecticide use rises in corn belt, ground and people suffer, farmer slightly less poor, insecticide company's stock is rising"
    Last edited by wiltondeportes; 07-09-2013 at 11:54 AM.

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    I don't have the cites (it was an article I edited that I want to forget about), but transitioning to Roundup Ready crops actually increases chemical use in developing countries. And isn't it convenient that in order to buy the GMO seed, they have to sign contracts to buy all their chemicals from the same company... On top of that, there is sometimes only a single seed company that sells soybean, cotton, corn, etc. seed in any given country.

    The corn thing pisses me off. People are using land that is really only good enough for pasture near where I grew up to grow corn and soybeans (conveniently subsidized). Then the food they grow goes to make people and animals sick. US farm policy is so screwed up. ARGHHHH!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by happybunny View Post
    The corn thing pisses me off. People are using land that is really only good enough for pasture near where I grew up to grow corn and soybeans (conveniently subsidized). Then the food they grow goes to make people and animals sick. US farm policy is so screwed up. ARGHHHH!!!
    I know what you mean; it almost seems as though they're intentionally making people sick and ruining the land.
    Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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    Oh, I forgot my favorite part: then I get to pay taxes to take care of the sick people and maintain the subsidies. I feel like such a schmuck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Forager View Post
    I know what you mean; it almost seems as though they're intentionally making people sick and ruining the land.
    On a sort of happier note, there was another story on NPR this morning about saving an endagered bird In Montana Wilds, An Unlikely Alliance To Save The Sage Grouse : NPR. Some of the techniques that the ranchers are using to preserve the grouse's habitat remind me of Joel Salatin's portable, rotating pastures.

    Maintaining the grass as well as the brush means getting the cooperation of ranchers like Bryan Ulring, who manages the J Bar L Ranch in the valley.

    Ulring is a sturdy 6-footer in boots and vest who participates in the Sage Grouse Initiative by grazing his cattle differently — in tighter groups. Wild bison used to graze that way here for protection, Ulring explains. "They always had the presence of predators, be it wolves, or grizzly bears or Indians."

    Tighter grazing allows other areas of grass more time to grow tall. And that's good for sage grouse. But to do it that way requires moving cattle around a lot more. And each new grazing site needs water.

    I joined Ulring and a crew from the ranch who were putting in a water well before introducing a herd to the new paddock. Once they get the well in, they've got to fence it to keep the cattle in — with a wildlife-friendly fence that's portable so they can keep moving the herd.
    Amazing the things you learn when you stop hitting the snooze button the clock radio I wonder if those cattle are grass-finished...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dulcimina View Post
    On a sort of happier note, there was another story on NPR this morning about saving an endagered bird In Montana Wilds, An Unlikely Alliance To Save The Sage Grouse : NPR. Some of the techniques that the ranchers are using to preserve the grouse's habitat remind me of Joel Salatin's portable, rotating pastures.



    Amazing the things you learn when you stop hitting the snooze button the clock radio I wonder if those cattle are grass-finished...
    That sounds very similar to the techniques my brother-in-law uses with his sheep. If he lets them roam the whole pasture, they'll pick the best/most delicious grass and then move on. If they are limited to a small area, they eat it down, and then he moves them twice a day. This keeps the fields and the sheep healthier, as they are forced to a more varied diet.

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