July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded
in the continental United States. 70% of Iowa
- the nation's largest corn producer - is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rates 50% of the nation's corn crop
as poor or very poor. Today U.S. corn prices reached an all-time high
. The impact will be global
looks at "Why King Corn Wasn't Ready For The Drought"
A catastrophic freeze has wiped out about 80 per cent of Ontario’s apple crop and has the province’s fruit industry looking at losses already estimated at more than $100 million.
"Warm temperatures got fruit trees blooming early and when temperatures plummeted Sunday morning it damaged or wiped out much of the $60 million apple crop and 20 to 30 per cent of Ontario’s $48 million tender fruit crop which includes peaches, cherries, pears, plums and nectarines." Also see Michigan
(tart & sweet cherries, apples, pears - "what sets this year apart is not just the severity of the damage but the variety of fruits affected") and western NY
("The erratic Rochester weather has taken its toll on local fruit crops... as much as 90 percent of apples, peaches, cherries, and raspberries in the area [are] destroyed").
The NYTimes covers the mysterious collapse of commercial honeybee colonies over the last 5-months, covering dozens of states
. The disease, Colony Collapse Disorder
, does not have a determined cause. The Canary Database
indicates that bees
can serve as "canaries in a coalmine" for human diseases
, as many other animals do. Some of the suspected causative agents (as reported [pdf
] by Penn State
) include a immunodeficiency, the hive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, nutritional stress, parasites, infectious diseases, stress due to colony splitting and relocation, insecticides, and antibiotic use. The die-offs are likely to adversely impact both prices and crop yields
Concerning crops. Pesticides are good
Organic is good
And what about organic pesticides?
Maybe organic might not even mean what you think it means.
Let's strap on our pesticide gear
and grow something--or die trying!
, what a nice resource!)
Today the British government
released a major report
on the safety of genetically modified foods. According to New Scientist
, "existing genetically modified crops and foods pose a 'very low' risk to human health and are 'very unlikely' to rampage through the British countryside", but others
Even the food industry is concerned when medicinally-modified crops spread their genes to food crops. How can accidental or intentional
contamination be stopped?
Is even the USDA's power to quarantine and destroy
Have you ever wanted to try painting a portrait of Pappa Hemingway
or Joey Ramone
using poppy seed, grits, brome grass, millet, lentils, and white rice? Do you have the patience to recreate Van Gogh's Starry Night
in cream of wheat and split peas? Crop art
showcases artists who use only harvested natural materials to create their art. Via Coudal.
US Department of Agriculture under pressure to purchase surplus crops.
One solution is to use the crops in school lunches, so they are testing things like sweet potato pancakes and hamburgers with prune puree in them (which makes them healthier by replacing some of the fat).
Monsanto, the megacorp who brought you terminator seed technology, and who is known for suing farmers who harvest seeds from crops grown from patented Monsanto seeds, has had a busy couple of weeks. On April 4, they merged with pharmaceutical giant Upjohn to form meta-megacorp Pharmacia. That same day, in a spurt of overactivity, they decoded the genetic sequence of rice.