Farmer generation gap? Father and son split on use of herbicides to control weeds

| | December 14, 2015
Screen Shot at AM
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

Father [Bach Bakehouse] and son [Jon Bakehouse] love each other and love to farm, but there’s tension between them. The son wants to cut back on farm chemicals and figure out a more natural way to ensure the rich, black soil thrives decades from now. The father remembers what it was like to farm without effective weedkillers and knows how easily a farmer can lose his land if he loses sight of this year’s profit . . .

When public health activists decry chemical farming, they attack some of the practices — genetically modified crops, synthetic fertilizers, weedkillers — that have helped Maple Edge Farm prosper and remain in the family while so many others have sold off to larger operators. . .

Jon may sound like an ideal candidate for the organic movement. But he isn’t.

Organic farmers control weeds with heavy equipment that slices at the ground. More than a decade ago, Jon switched to no-till farming, which helps prevent erosion by leaving the soil — and the earthworms in it — as undisturbed as possible. Iowa on average is losing its topsoil 10 times faster than it’s being regenerated, according to Iowa State University agronomist Richard Cruse.

The downside of no-till methods is that the farmers depend on herbicides to kill weeds. Jon wants to find a way to use less chemicals while still preserving the soil.

If Jon can do that and still make a profit, he can show Bach that these moves don’t just help the environment, but they also make economic sense. Fertilizer and weedkillers are Maple Edge Farm’s biggest cash expense.

Read full, original post: An Iowa farmer depends on pesticides. His son asks: Is there a better way?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend