Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This Month's Links Round-Up

MUST-READ: A New Paradigm For Grain Prices? This article would make all of those farmland institutional investors think twice. (DTNPF)

FARMING: Digital farming could spell shake-up for crop chemicals sector (Reuters)

AGRICULTURE: Farm Debt Accumulating. Be sure to look at Chart 7: Input Costs and Returns for U.S. Corn Production. (FRBKC)

SUSTAINABILITY: Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of GE Crop Production Raise Concerns. This is another must-read. For all of the articles debating GMOs out there of late which miss the point, this article nails it. (NSAC)

DAIRY: Changing Structure, Financial Risks, and Government Policy for the U.S. Dairy Industry (ERS USDA)

CORN BELT: Minnesota farmers warned not to plant Monsanto's latest Roundup soybeans (Star Tribune)

WATER: Water 4.0—the next revolution in urban water systems (Phys.org)

LAND-USE and CARBON SEQUESTRATION: Soil carbon sequestration potential of US croplands and grasslands: Implementing the 4 per Thousand Initiative (JSWC)

IN-DOOR PRODUCTION: Crisis in Dutch horticulture far from over (Horti-Daily)

LAND-USE: The Sand Mines that Ruin Farmland (NYT)

ENERGY: The Age of Cheap Oil and Natural Gas Is Just Beginning (Sci-Am)

SCIENCE: If weeds were allowed to grow with no control measures, about half of corn and soybean crops across the United States and Canada would be lost (Science Daily)

ROBOTICS: Sweet-pepper harvesting robot tested by Dutch grower (Horti-Daily)

BIOFUELS: Scrapping EU biofuels targets is the right thing to do (EurActiv)

HEALTH: What foods can help fight the risk of chronic inflammation? (Science Daily)

FOOD: The FDA’s new food labels (Medium)

ADDED SUGAR: You’d Be Surprised at How Many Foods Contain Added Sugar. Pay attention to those new food labels! (NYT The Upshot)

MEAT: Might a shift away from meat and toward fruits and vegetables create larger environmental effects? One cannot make blanket statements against meat production, as there are wide variables. (Conversable Economist)

HEALTHY RECIPE: Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salsa (Space Coast Daily)

To view last week's LINKS, click here.


  1. the weed study is short on details as to whether the weedy plots had been controlled for weeds in prior years...it would seem if a field had been controlled for weeds several years prior to omitting controls, weeds would not be much of a problem, or a while at least...conversely, a newly plowed rogue field would be full of weed seeds that would overwhelm a new planting...

    i dont doubt 50% losses in a weedy field, however...i've seen worse in my own garden when the weeds got ahead of me...

  2. I had similar thoughts as I read this. You might be lucky to get a 50% soybean crop in many places. The point I thought of, was that the study was released when there was a lot of activism, anti-glyphosate, and anti-GMO articles in the news.

  3. Years of fighting weeds provides particular insight into the ongoing battle to grow plentiful crops in the absence of herbicides. Today, we choose to deal with weeds as we suspect our forefathers once did: Hand picking; covering with rotting materials (plucked weeds); light deprivation using organic materials (straw and grass - cut grass works great to mitigate weeds!),etc. We strictly avoid purchasing 'easy-to-use' weed blockers as they may not be available in the future and obviously contribute to one kind of environmental stress or another during manufacturing and subsequent use. Yes, picking weeds is a difficult proposition, particularly in the three large gardens we nurture; but the intimacy created with the soil, plants, weeds and other natural products is too good to miss. We believe the preservation of mycorrhizae is critical to good soil health and for that reason we avoid disturbing the soil as much as possible, particularly avoiding mechanical means. We are by no means experts on the topic of successful mitigation of weeds but with each passing season our efforts have been paying off. "Nature abhors a vacuum," it has been said; when it comes to weeds truer words have rarely been spoken.