Skip to comments.Raining Nonsense during a Drought
Posted on 08/21/2012 10:35:59 AM PDT by LucianOfSamasota
The only conclusion to draw from a year like this one is that Mother Nature is not always kind.
Never waste a good crisis, at least when it comes to the op-ed section. On the subject of this years historic drought, the chattering classes have certainly obliged.
William Moseley contributed a sermon for the New York Times, pinning the scarlet A on corn and damning it for all that is wrong with agriculture.
The author informs us that because corn is particularly vulnerable to a hot, dry period during the crucial week of pollination, no sensible farmer should grow it. Gosh, without the agronomic advice of professors of geography, I wouldnt know what to plant on my farm here in Missouri!
As surprising as it may seem to agriculture experts writing in the New York Times, a farmer learns at his daddys knees about corns vulnerability to extreme heat during pollination. Its just one of the reasons we grow hybrid corn varieties, including new genetically modified drought resistant seeds. But its also a fact we farmers have understood since about 1791, when corn first became a political football during the Whiskey Rebellion.
(Excerpt) Read more at american.com ...
Farmers are the backbone of the nation.
I am not joking.
Oddly enough, I’m all in favor of farmers diversifying from corn, because frankly, we have so much corn that we are wasting a lot of it by making ethanol.
Plus, there are some missed opportunities, here. There are other crops, like Rye, Barley, Sorghum, Quinoa and Buckwheat (pseudocereals), Amaranth (pseudograin), Wild Rice (which isn’t rice), Millet and Teff, some of which could be grown in the corn belt region, others not. There are a lot of heritage wheats as well that are very different from common flour wheat.
Why grow these other foods? Because they could enlarge our cuisine with all sorts of tasty delicacies!
Right now, the less common ones that are available are mostly eaten by health nuts as unprocessed whole grains. But this is only because nobody has ever gotten around to producing much better tasting processed versions that could be incorporated into processed foods.
For example, most of the world eats a lot of millet, but the only kind grown in the US is as bird seed, not the kind humans eat.
By sticking almost entirely to corn and wheat, with some oats and a little barley, our cuisine is really deprived of hundreds of recipes of tasty stuff we would like to eat.
Processed doesn’t necessarily mean bad for you.
The number one way food is processed is by cooking.
A scientist recently determined that our calorie tables are very inaccurate, because raw foods are so much harder to digest that we only get a fraction of the nutrition from them we get from cooked foods. It far outweighs mechanical effects like grinding.
Add to that different grains digest differently, some being very easy to digest, and others much more difficult, based on several things, such as our intestinal flora, the amount of soluble and insoluble fiber in them, the types of carbs they contain, simple, medium chain and long chain, and other ingredients, like gluten, and plant hormones, that improve or interfere with digestion.
I omitted soy from the list specifically because it contains a lot of plant estrogen, so consuming a lot of it can cause some major long term problems, unless it is processed as it is in south Asia, by fermentation, which breaks down the plant estrogen and makes soy safe.
And fermentation is probably the second most important way to process foods. Whole milk is so nutritious that too much can be bad for your cardiovascular system, but processing it into cheese neutralizes many of those harmful factors.
Of course, fermenting grains is usually done to create beer, but is also done to create very probiotic yoghurts such as Kefir, which is very good for your intestinal flora, as well as fermented porridge and other foods.
Maybe true (and you left out soybeans by the way), but tasty stuff and feeding a lot of people economically don't always match up.
Regardless of the idiocy of using corn for fuel, you can still make everything (including ethanol and associated DDG's) from plastics to corn puffs from corn. The proccessing world that takes a grain and turns it into something useful, many things useful, likes corn. The fact that you can 200+ bushels an acre doesn't hurt either.
If millet can fill that spot - fine by me. Just not sure how it will on a reasonable scale...
Posted from corn country...
I’m having some processed cold barley right now.
I am a firm believer in “add to, don’t delete from” as far as agricultural goodies go.
If farmers can maximize their profits with corn, great. However they may be missing a bet by not developing a market for other grains that could increase their profit margins significantly, as well as making them less susceptible to killer market fluctuations.
One I think really shows promise in the southwest is Amaranth, as a single stalk can have a liter of seeds on it, that have a lot of the good but uncommon amino acid lysine in them. But it would not replace corn, instead it would complement it.
A thousand years ago, Amaranth was the big crop for much of Mesoamerica and South America, feeding empires, much like corn and wheat and rice is today. Today it is popular in Africa, because it will grow in harsh conditions.
Importantly, if you look at agricultural land, the best lands for corn and wheat in the Midwest get much of their water from the Oglala aquifer, which is already starting to run dry in its shallower parts in Texas. When it runs low, water will have to be brought south from Canada, so crops that use less will be a better deal.
Unless we get some major droughts and another Dust Bowl.
why...that’s quite a mouthful....very interesting......