[Homeroast] GMO Coffee

Kirk Janowiak janomac at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 12:51:29 CDT 2010


I can comment here as it was a favorite topic of mine back in grad  
school in wildlife ecology (um..."several" years ago).

Simply put: ecologically balanced (i.e., "natural") grazing systems on  
the African Savanna require about 10-15 kilogram of vegetable matter  
going into an ungulate herbivore to produce about 1-kilogram of animal.

In a feedlot, it requires about 8-10 kilograms of feed to produce 1- 
kilogram of animal (beef steer).

Hmmm...looks like feedlots are more "efficient," right?

When teased apart a little further, it can easily be shown that a  
mixed herd of ungulates (kudu, wildebeest, gazalles, zebras, etc.) is  
as much as 3 times more efficient! How? Each population (species)  
feeds on different vegetable material; different plants.
Put cattle on that range and the conversion rate is about 15:1  
(feedlot 8-10:1); put in the mixed herd and while the 10-15:1 ratio  
still exists, you can support 3-5 times as many pounds of animals  
standing on the hoof as you can cattle alone because of the division  
of food resources.

The argument, of course, is strongest against grazing cattle on open  
rangeland, but is still a little more efficient than feedlot with  
almost none of the commensurate problems (waste disposal & polluted  
water resources, intra-specific disease, and so on). Managing such a  
herd is tricky, but doable.

But the efficiency argument doesn't seem to sway farmers. Bison on  
American prairies are more efficient (~10:1) than grazing cattle  
(~15:1), but the western farmers still graze cattle, because cattle  
are easier to manage.

Kirk

On Jul 20, 2010, at 9:25 PM, Ryan M. Ward wrote:

>
> "I love the story that livestock are inefficient. In a feed lot,  
> absolutely, but when compared to a proper managed graze veggies have  
> way more shortcomings."
>
> Interesting, could you elaborate? This is very counter-intuitive to  
> me.
> -- 
> Ryan M. Ward
>
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>> Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 19:28:20 -0400
>> From: edbourgeois at gmail.com
>> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
>> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] GMO Coffee
>>
>> We spent way to much time trying to control nature rather than work
>> with it. Tom probably has some great stories of creative approaches  
>> of
>> fitting coffee into a natural environment to the benefits of the  
>> care,
>> health and taste of the coffee. If we put the same effort in working
>> with the standard varietals as we did going hybrid and now gm I think
>> we'd have a better result, But seeds could not be controlled which
>> loses much of the corporate charm. I love the story that livestock  
>> are
>> inefficient. In a feed lot, absolutely, but when compared to a proper
>> managed graze veggies have way more shortcomings. Though fruit and
>> coffee can be done practically invisibly.
>>
>> On Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 2:27 PM, Edward Bourgeois <edbourgeois at gmail.com 
>> > wrote:
>>> There isn't much we eat that doesn't contain some amount of a GMO
>>> plant crop in it. Personally I have grave concerns with GMO  
>>> crops.  My
>>> cuppa Tom and an occasional splash of milk (from a local dairy  
>>> that is
>>> grass fed and is able to go non-GMO corn in his area without cross
>>> pollination) is one of my decreasing havens of enjoying something
>>> good. I had not thought much about GMO coffee until I googled it  
>>> last
>>> night. I guess there are already several to accomplish different
>>> purposes. Saw one that makes the coffee more soluble and of course
>>> some with toxins to deal with various pests. I assume there are many
>>> others to deal with weather conditions, production yields,  
>>> uniformity
>>> etc. etc. Since these are all patented and can cross pollinate,  
>>> small
>>> farmers using the varietals we enjoy and doing traditional on farm
>>> selective breeding could lose that ability!  Same as has happened in
>>> this country with those trying to grow traditional varietals and  
>>> seed
>>> save in areas where GMO crops are also grown. I saw that Hawaii has
>>> tried to keep GMO coffee away for a number of years now but not sure
>>> if that's still the case? From now on when I'm asked about one of my
>>> coffees I will add that the beans are non-gmo
>>>
>>> --
>>> Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
>>> Amherst MA.
>>> http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> -- 
>> Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
>> Amherst MA.
>> http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/
>>
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JanoMac
janomac at gmail.com







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