Agricultural Peeps.

Photo credit: Flickr CC via Daniel Leininger. Peep ingredient list: Sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, yellow #5, potassium sorbate, natural flavors, carnauba wax. Calories: 32. Peep show.

Below, is a selection of recent agriculture-related news.

Egypt, fuel, and food.

Industrial agriculture is reliant upon good and efficient infrastructure to move commodities or it doesn’t pay. It costs Mato Grosso soybean growers three times as much to ship their product as it does Iowa soybean growers. This year saw trucks lined up for 15 miles up to the Santos Port, and a high of 212 ships waiting to load soybeans, causing hold ups lasting 54 days. This cuts profits for growers in Mato Grosso to a third of that of the U.S. Midwest.

To churn out ethanol even in the worst of droughts, Archer Daniels Midland Co, the nation’s largest producer of corn-based biofuel, is preparing to break ground on two new aquifer water collector wells to aid a key Illinois corn-processing plant.

Here’s a superb summary of ethanol from The Economist’s Babbage covering use as it relates to cars, RINS credits, the RFS, increasing MV efficiency, cheap natural gas, and finally, concludes…

The ethanol mandate is clearly wasteful, does environmental damage, contributes to higher food prices at home and abroad through the misallocation of agricultural resources, and is a needless tax on everyone who drives in America. Time for it to go.

There are new and aggressive potato blights. While GM solutions offer reduced use of pesticides, Europe opposes GM, so research goes on. Good article from the Guardian.

Will the loss of water in the U.S. West create farming ghost towns?

Lindsay Corporation is warning of lower commodity prices this coming year.

There is controversy in Ireland over one of the largest proposed salmon farms in the world.

Now we get more maple syrup out of trees through using higher tech methods.

Other states are wooing California’s dairy farmers, where milk prices are low and feed costs are high.

Because of rising farmland values, the average sized 975 acre farm in Nebraska now owes $15,000 per year in property taxes and bears more of the school tax obligation.

Oklahoma will now allow the processing of horsemeat.

Agricultural producers in Australia are suffering from the strength of their dollar.

Sheep farmers in the UK, Scotland, and Ireland have had many challenges lately, and now a blizzard with cold weather has killed thousands of lambs.

In China, the goal is to combine land parcels to develop commercial scale farming, which will support the urban areas.

The bee die-off is more severe this year. Evidence has been around for awhile that the pesticide class neonicotinoids is contributing to it. Like all problems, this one isn’t simple, however, and has many other contributing factors like the loss of biodiverse habitats and hauling semi loads of bees from around the country and world to California to pollinate the almond groves.

Is there a market for more edamame beans?

The WSJ wrote about today’s railroad boom. This year $14 billion is being invested in railroad infrastructure in North America.

There were quite a few great articles in my local Colorado news sources this week. Some were regional topics. Some were not.

The Boulder Weekly advocates an organic eat local purpose for County Open Space farmlands plus a ban of growing GMO crops on them. In reality, the economics of this don’t add up, but it doesn’t hurt to dream of an ideal world, something we always do around here. It is a well written lengthy article and includes the study that Ken Meter did for the county.

Here’s a really nice piece out of the Denver Post about soil, especially as it relates to gardeners.

ENERGY: Noble Energy Inc. is planning to build a liquid natural gas facility in Weld County to fuel its rigs and equipment for drilling in the region, and also offer the product to other drilling companies.

Paul Danish, for the Boulder Weekly, wrote about the recent climate change study reporting that our global warming has averted an ice age.

BONUS: Doonesbury cartoon has been contemplating a move to Colorado to grow cannabis. If you want to see the series, the link will take you to the first one and you can click through.

Written and compiled by K. McDonald.

4 thoughts on “Agricultural Peeps.

  1. rjs

    re Will the loss of water in the U.S. West create farming ghost towns?

    ten minutes before i hit that link, i saw this:

    New Mexico may be the next US oil boom – Pete Domenici said about 1.8 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from New Mexico reservoirs in the Mancos shale, which also extends into Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

    that’s at 5 to 10 million gallons of water per fracking…

    1. K. McDonald Post author

      Great connection, rjs. I checked out your link and the article linked under yours was interesting: Waterless fracking technology? GasFrac? Last time I heard of that company was close to a year ago and when I read about it I wasn’t impressed, but, perhaps in Texas and NM they’d rather use propane than water. I think some of the gas being flared in the Bakken is propane, so not sure how efficient this type of process could become and I’m not up on that subject. The article also says that Marathon has reduced their water needs by 45% in 18 months through a guar mix. Thanks for calling attention to this subject.

    1. K. McDonald Post author

      You saw that I just put up his TED talk here, right? I’m all for grazing, and I think that America made a big mistake when it eliminated 98% of its grasslands. It should still have original prairie and bison. I found a great piece that will be included in next week’s news where agronomists are concluding that native prairie is, after all, the best way to feed livestock. sigh.


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