Why There is So Much Tech in Ag Today

sprayer navigation systemThe short answer is some people are too stupid to be farmers. True, nobody wants to hear that, but, it’s a fact none the less. The stupidity progresses all the way up to the EPA and USDA where some people are too stupid to hold jobs. It is sad, but it is true.

You can forget about all of the “fake news” spewed to you about GMOs. That’s just heroin to get the masses high and the masses are addicted to such fake news. Many of these same masses will be booking a trip to China soon to get themselves a genetically modified baby and think nothing of it.

The longer and more complete answer goes back many decades when the Keller MBA mentality was allowed to ooze its way into agriculture while nobody was looking. That’s when the phrases “quick win” and “economies of scale” started winning out over the long term health of the land. The healthy soil movement is only just now starting to creep back into agriculture. A big part of this dumbing down of agriculture came when kids opted to not farm and land started getting managed by people with a quarterly profit mindset.

Allow yourself to drift back to the days when I was a child. Yes, I really was a child at one time. We didn’t have squat for weed control in soybeans. Weed control consisted of a few pickup truck loads of kids with hooks, hoes, or just bare hands taking a few rows at a time walking from one end to the other and back again until all of the weeds in the field were eliminated. Grass we could do nothing about. To help control weeds farmers actually rotated crops. This year a field was soybeans. Next year it was corn. There was none of this corn back on corn for 30+ years like you hear about in Iowa today.

Part of the reason behind crop rotation was weed control, another part insect control, and the final reason was to give the land a break. Soybeans didn’t stress soil like corn. Those underground insects like root worms and such would starve to death when they woke up in the spring without any corn roots to eat. Ever since George Washington Carver came up with crop rotation this was how it was done. Oh sure, the two crops may differ from region to region, but, this was how we did things.

Grass was just something nasty though. It would stay green long after soybeans were ready for harvest and you just couldn’t get a sickle to cut through it without breaking something. If you did manage that feat a big wad of it would plug up the combine and you got to spend hours digging that out then fixing what the wad broke.

Along came a chemical called Dual. It was called Dual because it would control grass on both corn and soybeans.

Yeah, bad idea.

This is where economies of scale first started creeping into farm thinking. It was cheaper if you bought and used more of it. Since that was the cheapest form of grass control (and pretty much the only form for soybeans at the time) farmers flocked to that like flies to shit. Nobody at the EPA bothered to think about the reality.

If you use the same chemical year after year on all of your land the thing it was intended to kill becomes immune to it.

Approving this chemical for use on corn violated the rotation principle. Chemicals you could use on corn couldn’t be used on soybeans previously so the weeds didn’t face the same thing in back to back years.

Fast forward to the Clarence Thomas era. Yeah, big chemical companies with fat checkbooks and lots of lobbyists also help get former employees onto the Supreme Court and decisions magically go their way.

Round-up Ready” soybeans came first around 1996. Honestly they were a Godsend. By that time, unless you happened to have 20 kids of your own, you couldn’t get enough kids to walk soybeans. Hot sun, insect bites and low pay had them all trying for jobs in shopping malls or at McDonald’s. As more and more farm families left the business and fences were pulled, fields were getting bigger too. While 4 people could walk a 20-4 acre field in an afternoon if the weeds weren’t too bad, a 200+ acre field left you with no sense of accomplishment. You would be going back to the same field for days seeing the marker flag move no where near far enough. There was no sense of accomplishment. Trust me. I grew up on a farm and had such a pleasure. Still live on that same farm.

Insatiable greed pushed Monsanto to introduce Round-up Ready corn in 1998. Here is where you either have to believe that bribes and lobbying won the day or, that everyone working at the EPA and USDA involved in the approval process are simply too stupid to have jobs. I mean they can’t even flip burgers at McDonald’s.

Guess what happened?

Economies of scale and Keller MBA level stupidity once again assaulted agriculture. If you paid the premium for Round-up ready soybeans and Round-up ready corn you could get weed control for around $7/acre. It was the cheapest, so that’s what got done. Nobody bothered to think about the looming catastrophe. Certainly not the regulators whose job it is to stop such catastrophe’s.

Before you go shitting on the farmers for not thinking I have to ask one question.

How many of you bought antibacterial hand soap and contributed to the rise of antibiotic resistant super bugs? If you bought and used the soap, you’ve got a share of the blame. Regulator agencies should not have allowed that to be sold to the general public. A day late and billions of dollars short, the FDA finally did its job. The farmers only created weeds you once again had to cut with a hook to kills. You helped create something which can and very well may wipe out humanity.

Guess what? We now have a growing list of Round-up resistant weeds. 24 in North America and 41 world wide according to this chart. Those numbers are sure to change.

Loooong before Monsanto created the Round-up fiasco, they created another catastrophe`. This catastrophe` was called Dicamba. This super weed killer briefly existed in Ag at a time when I was too young to remember it. In my part of the world it didn’t make it two growing seasons. You see, back then farms really were family farms. Your kids went to school with the next farm’s kids and spraying something which would drift to destroy their crops was a thing you just didn’t do. Someone who worked at our local chemical company reminded me of this last summer. They had actually sprayed it for one season and wouldn’t handle it the next. There was no way to control it. Even if you didn’t get sued (people didn’t sue back then) the lost business would put you out of business.

Guess what?

The same stupid farmers who sprayed glysophate non-stop to create these super weeds wanted the chemical companies to give them an economies of scale resolution. Dicamba ready soybeans hit the market. Why? Because why come up with something new when you can dust off a failure for a profit?

Spraying technology has improved dramatically, but, as that link will show, Dicamba is still an uncontrollable failure. Today we have GPS guided spraying systems like the little dash mount thing at the top of this post. Soon, if not already, as part of licensing, those things are going to be required to record the entire spray pattern to removable media or cloud storage using an Internet controlled timestamp. Before spraying you are going to be required to enter what is in the tank and the crop you are spraying and the rate. All of this will be required to be sent to the USDA, EPA or some other agency. Spray systems will be required to be inoperable until they have this information and their Internet link.

Why?

Because Monsanto has a fat checkbook and lots of lobbyists. They are going to keep the Dicamba catastrophe on the market by funding as many elections as necessary. It doesn’t matter that it is the wrong thing to do. That fact doesn’t enter into Keller MBA think.

By seasoned_geek

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the "Zinc It!" book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc. A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome "The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer" which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series was born. Three years later he wrote his first novel "Infinite Exposure" which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of "The Earth That Was" trilogy: Infinite Exposure Lesedi - The Greatest Lie Ever Told John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.