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Corn and Drought

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. Wired looks at "Why King Corn Wasn't Ready For The Drought".
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 9, 2012 - 149 comments

erratic weather damages crops

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").
posted by flex on May 5, 2012 - 78 comments

In a sympathetic biochemical photo-reactive process, the Biosphere has altered the litho-sphere into the pedosphere, the cryo-sphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere*

The Loess Plateau in China’s Northwest is home to more than 50 million people. Centuries of overuse led to one of the highest erosion rates in the world and widespread poverty. Two projects (results) set out to restore the Loess Plateau. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Mar 22, 2012 - 7 comments

"The map reflects what the plants have known for years."

The USDA has released an updated version of its plant hardiness zone map. Based on low temperatures from 1976 to 2005, it puts most US locations into a slightly warmer planting zone. While many headlines link the overall changes with global warming, the map also reflects factors such as urban heat, prevailing winds, and the slope of the land. The Washington Post has an interactive graphic showing the old and new zones.
posted by pernoctalian on Jan 25, 2012 - 26 comments

Foreshadowing an organic end to a green revolution?

Genetically engineered crops lead to genetically adapted weeds. [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu on May 5, 2010 - 73 comments

"First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect..."

Killered Bees. 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.
posted by rzklkng on Feb 28, 2007 - 45 comments

Wheat

The Story of Wheat
posted by Gyan on Dec 27, 2005 - 24 comments

Concerning crops

Concerning crops. Pesticides are good and/or bad. Organic is good and/or bad. 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! (headlice.org, what a nice resource!)
posted by gunthersghost on Apr 26, 2005 - 8 comments

The HRE was neither holy nor roman, talk amongst yourselves (about GMOs)

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 disagree.
posted by turbodog on Jul 21, 2003 - 58 comments

superweeds

'Superweeds' signal setback for genetically modified crops.
posted by thedailygrowl on Jun 25, 2003 - 22 comments

genetic spill

Biological Incident 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 enough?
posted by kablam on Nov 16, 2002 - 2 comments

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.
posted by iconomy on May 13, 2002 - 9 comments

US Department of Agriculture under pressure to purchase surplus crops.

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).
posted by o2b on Jan 30, 2002 - 8 comments

Wild GM corn begins to overtake Mexican countryside.

Wild GM corn begins to overtake Mexican countryside. "It even grows out of the concrete."
posted by skallas on Jan 30, 2002 - 34 comments

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.

Uh oh.
posted by jbushnell on Apr 26, 2000 - 2 comments


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