By K. McDonald on May 25th, 2012
Industrial grade guar is in the highest demand, but food grade guar gum is also used in products such as ice cream, chocolate milk, bagels, peanut butter, gluten-free muffins, chewing gum, tortillas, cranberry sauce, and jellies. Guar meal is used as cattle feed. Guar is also an ingredient used in dynamite, hair shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, lotions, wrapping paper, and kitty litter.
Adding to demand created by currently low natural gas prices, is the fact that more guar is used in fracking for oil than for natural gas out of shale. Both food producers and drillers are looking into alternatives to guar due to current high prices and demand.
Australian Peter Cundall shows us how to grow potatoes directly on top of a lawn using the no-dig method.
BEGINNING OF MY SOAPBOX: Personally, I feel that people need to stop seeing GM technology as an “all or none” issue, but rather as a case-by-case issue and this project appears to be safe and science-worthy. Just because you hate a certain agribusiness behemoth doesn’t mean that you need to reject this science which may pave the way for more environmentally sound ways of producing food in the future. GM research has the capability of reducing the amount of water and fertilizer necessary to grow food and it can incorporate important nutrients into food found lacking in specific regions. Some idealists probably do not realize that organic farmers, too, struggle with producing their crops which are constantly being attacked by insects, viruses, and other pathogens. If accepted by organic growers at some future time, GM technology could eventually prove invaluable to —gasp— organic farmers, as well.
The public opinion tide seems to be switching slowly on this issue, and I predict that a decade from now the majority of people will come around to understanding the benefits that GM technology has to offer. There is good and bad in everything, including this technology, and even if you as an individual think it’s wrong, you are powerless to stop it because it is now being embraced by scientists worldwide. That said, I love heirloom seeds and appreciate the work that people are doing to grow and save them, too. END OF MY SOAPBOX.
To learn more about the Rothamsted experiment see this Guardian article and this Q&A with the scientists.
RE:Polyethylene Gated Pipe Irrigation Systems
That system seem marginally better than center pivot systems from a technical perspective.
Is there any data available to compare ?
I would guess that polyethylene pipe material is cheaper than aluminum, so maybe that’s what the decision to use was singularly hinged on ?
Probably less evaporation. Lower pressure required. Works better on less than level ground
From a link found at the Oil Drum, Q. and A.: Linking People’s Needs to Nature’s with Peter Seligmann:
I’m just saying that people will do whatever they need to survive. Having lived through endless arguments about “You’ve got to choose between jobs and the environment,” “You’ve got to choose between energy security and the environment,” “We need to choose between water supply and the environment,” it became very clear that whenever we deal with issues that are pressing social needs – water, energy food, jobs, health – environment is always the piece that you discount. But when you do that, you sabotage the sustainability of a society.
I have not researched the comparison of the irrig. systems but what concerned me was that polyethylene would deteriorate over time with the intense sun exposure that it receives. Whereas these are gravity systems, pivots are for pump irrigation, of course.
Thanks for contributing the Seligmann quote. I think that hes exactly right. And then you add to that that most people value humanity above any thing else, meaning they will politically enable jobs at the expense of the environment.
This applies to industrial farming with our sell-out of the soil and aquifers for efficiency gains and cheap food.
I was surprised to see white polyethylene pipe used for this. In my experience, black pipe is resistant to light decay, whereas white pipe will break down. White polyethylene is used below ground, such as tiling applications. Perhaps they were able to put something in the white pipe to make it work in the sun?
Good to hear from you & I hope all is well at Farmland LP. Your comment prompted me to do a quick google search which makes it sound like, yes, there is a UV resistant white pipe… “they can add carbon to the pipe and make it perform in direct sunlight.”
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