Tag Archives: agriculture

Pigeon towers to cope with peak phosphate and natural gas fertilizer?

[ Natural gas based fertilizers intensified crop production per acre up to 5-fold, yet natural gas, like phosphate, is finite.  We are going to be forced to reinvent our fossil-based agriculture, why not start with pigeon towers? Beats going to … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Phosphorus | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Nitrogen fertilizer poses significant threats to humans and the environment

NRC. 2015. A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System. National Research Council, National Academies Press. 19 pages.   Nitrogen (N) is essential for agricultural productivity, but in its more reactive forms, it can pose significant threats to humans … Continue reading

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Steam powered farm tractors

[ Steam engines weren’t very efficient, 10 to 20% at best, which is why they went away beginning around 1920 when oil-powered engines came along.  At the very best steam engines for transportation reached 10 to 20% efficiency. They were … Continue reading

Posted in Biomass-powered Steam Engines | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Mineral: Soil from Ugo Bardi’s “Extracted”

[ Ugo Bardi’s book on minerals covers a wide-ranging territory, including soil, which is a mineral.  In this section of the book he shows how humans have damaged the soil so much we have greatly overshot carrying capacity by lowering … Continue reading

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Plant more prairies to save topsoil and prevent pollution runoff

[ A program to plant more prairies to enrich the soil, keep topsoil from blowing and washing away, and provide a bio-diverse habitat for hundreds of species is receiving little funding or farmer participation, even though it would save farmers … Continue reading

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Chemical industrial farming is unsustainable. Why poison ourselves when pesticides don’t save more of our crops than in the past?

Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides destroy soil, ecosystems, and a third of the crop is still lost to pests, just as in the many millennia of farming before chemicals. [ This is a book review of Dyer’s “Chasing the Red Queen”, … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Agriculture, Biodiversity Loss, Chemicals, Overshoot, Pesticides, Soil | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Chemical industrial farming is unsustainable. Why poison ourselves when pesticides don’t save more of our crops than in the past?

After a collapse will people grow their own food or plunder others?

[ In this post Ugo Bardi looks at what will happen if society collapses and we have to suddenly go back to pre-industrial agriculture conditions.  A back to the land movement where people grow their own food may not happen. … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Peak Food, Phosphorus, Scientists, Soil, Ugo Bardi | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Sand mines used to frack oil & gas are destroying the best topsoil in the Midwest

Nancy C. Loem. May 23, 2016. The sand mines that ruin farmland.  New York Times. Chicago — While the shale gas industry has been depressed in recent years by low oil and gas prices, analysts are predicting that it will … Continue reading

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The effect of high energy prices on small business. U.S. House of Representatives, 2014

[ This hearing is about how the unaffordable prices of energy are affecting ordinary people.  Chairman Tipton at one point says that “I do not think that Americans truly realize the significant amount of energy that is necessary to be … Continue reading

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The Back to the Land Movement: why it failed and why we need to try again

[ This is my book review of “Back from the Land: how young Americans went to nature in the 1970s, and why they came back”.   Some succeeded, but most failed, and there are lessons to be learned from the previous … Continue reading

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