|Get'em, he's not one of us!!!|
"Also Kevin, developing GMO's is not "against nature". Anything that occurs in the natural observable world is natural. Skyscrapers and bridges are as naturally occurring as bee hives."Unbelievable !! So apparently if I'm reading this correctly, we're to believe that all those Industrial Solar Farms and Wind Farms installed within pristine wild environments are officially natural and anybody against those projects would be labeled anti-science ? I was totally surrounded and outnumbered by intellectuals, but not a genius among them. Only one older commenter knew what I was talking about and apologized for all the vicious hatred I bore the brunt of. Actually I was trying to explain the benefits of how and why mycorrhizal fungi are a superior mechanism choice over BOTH conventional breeding [as championed by the Organics gang] and Genetic Engineering [as championed by the Industrial Science Crowd], of which both techniques were mentioned in the December Intelligence Squared debate in which the audience was informed it would take 10 years to develop for drought resistant plants. But with the mycorrhizal fungi, you will actually get instantaneous results that very first season. No matter, this will be my last post on the subject of GMOs. But first, a bit on natural weed control which would negate using chemical pesticides.
Of course the subject of Roundup or Glyphosate was only a small part of what I wanted to talk about. Actually I didn't really want to discuss it at all. However it is anyway a major component of the conventional science-based industrial agricultural program that most Farmers and Home Gardeners practice for ridding themselves of those evil weeds. I am NOT totally against chemicals, they all can have a place when used modestly. For example, I mostly find them useful in ONLY the extreme cases where drastic measures can reverse what human land mismanagement caused in the first place. In an extremely dense weedy situation after weed whacking, you need only use Roundup one or two times and that's it. But then you also need to rebuild plant community system back to a more naturally biologically balanced situation which would be mycorrhizal. Years ago, I too fell for the Roundup is "Biodegradable" label like you see above, believing the text which stated that when the Glyphosate comes into contact with soil it becomes inert or neutralized. Well, low and behold that was a lie and the government forced them to change their label. So without chemicals, how does one go about accomplishing this ?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
|image: Rick Halsey|
|Image: Kevin Franck - Julian California|
|Mycorrhizal Applications Inc|
|Photo Credit: Oregon State|
|Bert Wilson - Las Pilitas Nursery|
So both Mike Amaranthus and Bert Wilson spoke of weeds not being able to compete within a mycorrhizal system. So why is this ? It's a thing called phosphorus. Weeds excel in a bacterial environment which industrial agriculture and conventional chemical gardening and landscaping create by killing the mycorrhizal biological controls within the soils. They rob the soils of phosphorus. More and more literature is proving that in these mycorrhizal landscape beds and organic run farm fields where mycorrhizae is used to enhance performance in crops, the weeds are starved for phosphorus. In the disturbed soil environment created by industrial agriculture, the weeds are very aggressive at capturing the soil phosphorus far better than mycorrhizal crop plants who lack mycorrhizae on their root systems under conventional farming practices. This is where the industrial agricultural model benefits Corporate profiteering interests. Not only can they sell their expensive patent protected GMO seeds, but all the other chemical fertilizers, herbicides and some insecticides where the precious GMOs fail. It's a win win for all those former WWII chemical companies and an expensive proposition for the farmers that feel shackled to the system. Were it not for U.S. Government Subsidies, the conventional Farmers would never earn a living. That's why Organic wheat growers and other organic farmers don't qualify for the Government teat life support entitlements, because they make profit. Because they plant into their crops a good healthy mycorrhizal blend within their soils and those same weeds cannot compete in a mycorrhizal environment with it's massive rooting network grid infrastructure. So it's a P related factor and this is what Mike Amaranthus' customers have been experiencing and why they are noticing fewer weeds. Now does anyone here reading this have any idea of potential for ruin of some powerful wealthy Biotech Industry's business model ? Do you think they are just going to lay down and accept defeat ? Not on your life.
There are also some other important points to consider regarding farm cost savings and higher production yields with mycorrhizae. The University of Wisconsin made a study of the effects of Mycorrhizal Applications Inc's product called MycoApply on potato yields, profit and another extremely interesting thing about the application of phosphorus in the field. It was found that where conventional grown potatoes needed 120 lbs of phosphorus added per acre, under the mycorhizal applications to the potato fields, only 30 lbs was needed. Hence less phosphorus and more efficient mycorrhizal nutrient competition and uptake means less fertilizers. There was also an added bonus of more yield of potatoes per acre and profit by the usage of mycorrhizae into the soils. So drought tolerance, superior nutrient uptake which negated tons of fertilizers on industrial site, 200% increase in water hydration which made plants drought resistant and the added plus of less weeds or stunted weeds which could not compete. So it was win win all way round.
|Illustration by Michael Rothman|
University of Wisconsin Potato trail with MycoApply
Summary of 2011 results
• MycoApply® treated plots averaged higher yields at all input levels of phosphorus.
• Yield increases were greatest @ 25% of conventional phosphorus inputs (30 lbs /acre vs 120 lbs / acre.)
• Yields from MycoApply® treated plots shifted significantly to higher grade potatoes (which bring higher prices)
• Net savings on phosphorus alone = at least $81.00 / acre with MycoApply® vs standard conventional P inputs.
• Net revenue increases ranged from $319 to $1,095 per acre on MycoApply® treated plots, depending on phosphorus inputs.
|Mycorrhizal Applications Inc. - MycoApply gave higher yields in potatoes with only a fraction of the fertilizer|
2013 Maine Potato Trials with “MycoApply®” Summary
• 6 trails on 6 farms with MycoApply®
• Average yield with MycoApply® was 366 cwt/Acre. Potatoes over 10 oz was 24%
• Average yield withNO MycoApply® was 319 cwt/Acre. Potatoes over 10 oz was 21%
• Average MycoApply® Advantage was 47 cwt/Acre.
• We estimate potato prices $8.50/cwt
|Mycorrhizal Applications Inc|
This is something industrial agriculture is far behind and lacking because there is no money in such a business model. The Biotech model engineer it's patented seeds to quite literally be drenched in more chemicals and not less as advertised. This makes them outrageously expensive and unattainable by many of the small farmers in the poorer developing countries. When India Farmers failed with those GMO seeds which were heavily promoted as a simply a "Just Add Water" recipe by India's celebrity Bollywood culture as part of the Biotech public relations media blitz, the poor farmers bought into their sales pitch. When things went wrong, Monsanto blamed them for not purchasing and using their chemical fertilizers and pesticides which they were engineered to work in conjunction with. Seriously, dirt poor third world people do not have the money to buy that chemical junk and India Farmer customers who make one to three dollars a day cannot afford to buy more expensive food which makes the "We just want to feed the world" slogan a joke. Now take a look below here at this extreme weed infested maize field. This is actually the results of years of abuse in this field with chemicals and other bad land management practices.
|Image Credits: USDA/Public Domain - Arkansas Cornfield|
In Southern California this super weedy infestation phenomena is common on hillsides and illustrates years of abuse. This field is one in Arkansas and probably represents years of spraying and drenching crops with their chemical junk. The soil is lifeless for the most part and synthetic fertilizers must be heavily added in hopes that the crop gets at least some kind of nutrition even if artificial. It's a numbers game. The weeds thrive in a bacterial soil environment where a mycorrhizal presence is totally absent. When the situation is turned around into a mycorrhizal one, the fungi out competes the weeds for that phosphorus. But the situation above is an example of one of those drastic circumstances I mentioned earlier where a weed killer like that evil Roundup may be needed to remove the bulk of weed density. But you have to stop that chemical application soon, along with the implementing of planting good cover crops which are mycorrhizal to get the problem corrected underground, and then plant a food crop. After planting and harvesting, it will be imperative to have a rotation scheme. Never, never leave soil without mycorrhizal roots in it. If you don't soon plant a cover crop, the fungi may die out and you'll have to start over. Good cover crops are fava, vetch, barley, rye, sorghum, velvet bean, sudangrass, sunnhemp, daikon radish, agricultural mustard, amaranth, safflower, lupin, etc. This will also prevent nitrogen leaching, enhance the soil biology, fixate nitrogen, increases soil mineralization, and prevent erosion. Neglect the cover crops and you'll have to inoculate all over again. Be prepared, that once mycorrhizae is established, weeds may not totally disappear as their seeds will always blow in from somewhere else, but if they do germinate, they will always be stunted in growth because they cannot compete with the mycorrhizae for that precious phosphorus.
This is really something I should have written about previously with regards Farming because it has always been my experience and method for preparing planting sites prior to urban landscape installation and maintenance for years. This is also true in the wild with any habitat restoration where hands on presence at remote location sites to insure success is impossible. For example the various landscape beds around my mother's place as the picture to the right is a perfect example. Now a couple of weeds will grow now and again and if they do they are extremely stunted in growth and only an inch or so high. The funny thing however about a healthy landscaped condition which is mostly mycorrhizal in nature, you will get weeds [unwanted Plants], but not the quite the type you are most likely thinking of. I get loads of tree and shrub seedlings. Take for example this California Sycamore seedling below. It was this Sycamore that I removed and planted at my sister's place over in Lakeside California. I planted it along the wash of the old San Vicente Creek through the Moreno Valley north of Lakeside.
This tree volunteered in a dry raised planter bed I built which really no longer gets much water with the exception of the rainy season which only comes once a year. The first few years back in 2003-05, I did inoculate the Tecate Cypress, Pines Saplings and smaller shrubs like Spicebush [Calycanthus] and the spreading Catalina Currant you see in the background which when grown inland has to be grown under shade of trees. So the germination of this little Sycamore seedling in 2013 came as a pleasant surprise. But not a total shock as I always understood that after two and three years the weeds all but disappeared as a result of a health fungal network. One of the worst weeds was stinging nettles which were always an issue, but under the healthy mycorrhizal control they haven't been a pest at all. You should also know that they always were a problem since the late 1960s here when they first appeared in our garden. In some places where there are no mycorrhizal plants on that property, they still persist in spring. Many chaparral species off Rattlesnake Mountain above this location like Laurel Sumac are appearing every year and they were never an original part of the plantings. Now I have no problem with such unwanted shrub or tree seedlings. It's easy enough once a year to pluck them out of the ground. I may have a healthy nature replicated system, but I have none of the plant control components like Deer, squirrels, rabbits etc which would have kept excessive seedling presence in check. In the front yard all shrubs in the pea family are sprouting up everywhere. Again, it's easy enough to pluck them out. But I've always taken it as a compliment when they appear because it means something positive happened under the soil. No weed issues, no insect pest problems, but there are lots of beneficial insects as I've written about previously.
This all translates as biomimetic application as far as caring for and maintaining all plants under any and all circumstances, even on a smaller controlled industrial scale. But don't count on the industry ever latching hold of it. It doesn't make as much profit for the Industrial Ag business model and they will fight and/or manipulate media and use the neanderthal type of blind faith defenders who will question nothing they do or say, nor get off their back sides into the outdoors and explore a world beyond their electronic devices or Labs to find out how nature really works. So this is for individuals who actually give a rats backside. Until the end of the present system anyway, this is the direction this world will always be heading. It's not enough to read this stuff or the links I'll provide below. You have to go beyond head knowledge and make practical application in real life and that is what will provide the wisdom on how to properly use this information and be successful.
Once again, this is my last piece on Biotechs and GMOs. The topic is too much of a waste of time for those who are warm and fuzzy in their own comfort zone ideology where beating up imagined anti science Fundies is the perverted intellectual sport of choice in our modern times. Personally I think they all deserve each other. This world doesn't exactly have many genius' who can prevent problem, but there are a plethora of intellectuals who will gladly claim that they solve any problem, but this usually comes with a high price. In any event, below is one more little tidbit which should illustrate how corporate industrial agricultural ventures will not be going down without a fight any time soon.
Update February 16, 2015: "Fertilizer Use to Surpass 200 Million Tonnes in 2018"
Fertilizer Use to Surpass 200 Million Tonnes in 2018
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Any math folks out there ? Remember those University studies Mike Amaranthus mentioned on MycoApply and Potatoes ? Remember how those organically grown potatoes colonized with Mycorrhizal fungi how they only had to apply 30 lbs of Phosphorus per acre as opposed to 130 lbs per acre as required by the conventional Agricultural farming methods ? So what are we talking about as far as percentages when it comes to drastically reducing this outrageous number referenced above by the United Nations of an increase 200 Million tonnes. Even without doing the numbers, can you see what kind of a fight lies ahead for any group promoting far more responsible farming methods as recommended by companies like what Mycorrhizal Applications Inc is doing ? Can anyone see the handwriting on the wall of just how these Agricultural chemical giants will not stand for their obscene wealth generating business model being dismantled bit by bit ? Seriously people, think about this!
Good Resources for Studies on Mycorrhizas and Weed Control
Biological weed control with soil fungi? Antagonistic effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the growth of weeds
Glyphosate herbicide affects belowground interactions between earthworms and symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi in a model ecosystem
Further Update February 11th, 2015 (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)
Bert Wilson's mycorrhizal recommendations
This reference link below has a page of numerous sub-links, so please click on them and read them. Bert deals mainly with California Native Plants, but the basic fundamentals as far as mechanisms are the same globally. Only the finite details and local applications depending on ecosystems will be unique, but that is where you need to explore personally.