The best Non-Pesticide Cannabis Pest Solutions

Eliminating pests doesn’t have to start with hazardous chemicals

Pests and farming go hand in hand – you can’t grow a crop of anything without a few headaches. Unfortunately, over generations, many of our farmers have chosen to rely on pesticides and other environmentally harmful substances to manage their crops. That’s not our only option, though.

WORK WITHIN NATURE FOR BETTER PEST CONTROL

Bioengineering feels in between industrialization and magic. Yet science is at a place today where BioPhero offers yeast-derived pheromones capable of disrupting insects’ mating patterns. The process of using insect pheromones to reduce mating effectiveness is a familiar idea in agriculture. However, BioPhero’s method allows them to offer products in the same price range as insecticides. 

Why shouldn’t we rely on insecticides? Well, there are many issues we’re all familiar with, from runoff to the decimation of native bee populations. Using pheromones instead of insecticides reduces all of these issues, but the mechanism is also superior. When you attempt to kill off bug populations with chemicals, many develop resistance to said substances. Thus, an arms race necessarily follows. This process is very similar to the creation of superbugs via over prescription of antibiotics.

Mating disruption does nothing of the sort, instead of relying on trickery rather than extermination. The way that insects breed is that the females release pheromones which the males trace back to them. Then, once together, they mate. However, by spraying a field with female insect pheromones, this entire process can be disrupted by reducing the ability of the insects to find one another. 

Each species requires specific pheromones, from the Rice Stem Borers to the Cotton Bollworm, but the mechanism remains the same. Spray and make the insects lose their way, so their population drops due to failure to mate adequately.

(Image Courtesy BioPhero.com)

STERILIZATION CAN ALSO REDUCE NUMBERS

Separately from spraying pheromones to disrupt the pattern, another option is to release large numbers of sterilized males. Doing so means that the infertile males will mate with the available females, thus outcompeting at least a portion of the viable males. At the end of this process, much of the pest population dies out before having a successful mating cycle. So the population thins. 

While similar to using female pheromones to trick males, this process is more demanding. Instead of buying pheromones in bulk, one would need to source large quantities of sterilized males of specific insect populations. The theory and the technology are valid but likely more applicable to cull mosquito populations than manage cannabis farms at the moment. 

IPM AND WORKING WITH INSECTS

A charming idea, tending towards holistic attitudes, is IPM, or integrated pest management. This philosophy can contain any combination of various methods, from disrupting mating to crop rotation or introducing different insects to change the balance of the economy. For example, farmers could manage their fields to attract desired insects by planting foods that those insects like to eat along with their crops. Additionally, they could alter their soil content to mimic the desired habitat of certain insects. 

After managing their farm in such a way, they could engage in IPM by working with Parabug Solutions. Their company offers the release of beneficial insects by drone, perhaps the only way to do so in a truly efficient manner on larger farms. Human labor for the same task is simply too expensive for most operations, especially if the process has to be done more than once. Parabug offers a solution that can provide a 50% reduction in application costs through using their system. 

Additionally, if the farm were prepared so that the insects thrived in the environment, it would be less likely that their population would collapse or leave. Thus, through IPM, farmers could save money by nurturing their insects rather than reintroducing insect populations continuously, reinforcing their numbers rather than replacing them. 

THERE’S NO REASON TO SKIMP

Profits aren’t profits if we’re all dead. Insecticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals used on mono-crop farms have ravaged the American landscape for decades and caused many deaths. While the farmers using them might have seen some profits, their runoff has created ecological disasters in many of our natural water resources.

If we’re making money from cannabis and hemp, then we must use the planet. There are several alternative options, from using beneficial insects to disrupting mating and even simply balancing the nutrients in your soil correctly, that might save your harvest. Before we turn to more extreme options, it’s paramount to see what we can achieve through holistic means.


KARHLYLE FLETCHER

Detroiter Karhlyle Fletcher is the host of High Lit, a cannabis research and classic literature podcast featuring leading voices and independent music. In addition to years in written and video cannabis journalism, he is also a traditional author


This is the first post looking at various technologies used in agriculture. Why starting it with canabis? Probably because it has some great properties that are not widely known. I hope you will come to the same conclusion after reading this and many following articles. Thank you for your support in advance.

US a big winner of China-Australia trade war

American exporters are emerging as winners from the China-Australian trade war. US goods filling market openings caused by Beijing’s punitive tariffs on Australian goods

Statistics from the Chinese Commerce Ministry, General Administration of Customs of China and trade associations in Australia all show deep dives in the value of Australian exports to China in recent months. 

Australian exporters have been ensnared in a wider geopolitical feud over everything from Huawei’s reputed security risks to the pandemic to alleged foreign interference in local politics. Beijing has taken particular umbrage to Australia’s call for an independent investigation into Covid-19’s origins.

At the same time, American exports ranging from wine, beef, cotton, timber to coal have seen their market share in China grow since last year. US producers are filling the void left by the China-Australia trade row. Beijing has also pledged to buy more from the US as part of its first-stage deal to ease trade tensions with the US. 

Winemakers in Australia who compete with American producers worldwide for market share are particularly being hung out to dry. They exported wines worth a paltry A$12 million (US$9.1 million) to China between December 2020 and this March, representing just 4% of the amount shipped in the same period a year ago.

Chinese tariffs as high as 218.4% on Australian wines have slowed shipments to its usual largest overseas market to a trickle, according to the Australian government’s Wine Australia portal. 

Dramatic changes in the past 12 months

Australian wines used to enjoy zero-duty treatment under a free trade pact between Beijing and Canberra ratified in 2015. Canberra is now seeking redress from the World Trade Organization as it contests Beijing’s sanctions against its wines and other exports.  

Meanwhile, Australian barley and other agricultural products face tariffs of up to 80.5%, after Beijing concluded in May 2020 that China’s annual import of A$2 billion worth of such cereal grain from Australia as animal fodder and beer and beverage ingredient put Chinese farmers at a disadvantage due to Canberra’s supposed “rampant trade subsidies.”

China Customs data also show the nation’s meat imports from Australia dropped 8.5% in the first four months of this while Xinhua said China had stopped importing live lobsters since October as a precaution against “food safety risks.”

Recent price surges of iron ore, which represents the bulk of Australia’s exports to China, have helped to offset slumps across other categories and pushed the total value of exports to China in May up 55.4% to US$13.6 billion. 

American barley has become the new favorite of Chinese brewers and fodder producers after Beijing opened the door for more US agricultural products in May 2020. In March, the US Department of Agriculture also hailed a new monthly high in beef exports to China, hitting 14,552 tons.

The final quarter of 2020 was also a blowout season for American coal exporters when Chinese power plants were told to boycott Australian mined coal and tap other nations’ supplies.

Not just agriculture is hit

A power shortage at the time caused China’s imports of American coking and thermal coal to soar more than sevenfold over the previous quarter. The momentum lasted well into the first quarter of this year, with monthly average imports hovering at around 280,000 tons, according to Xinhua which cited data from China Customs. 

Altogether China imported US$73.59 billion worth of goods from the US in the first five months of 2021, up a whopping 59.8%. Australia’s corresponding total stood at US$62.37 billion, up 33.3%, the latest data from the General Administration of Customs show. 

Xinhua and state broadcaster China Central Television have suggested in recent op-eds and current affairs programs that Beijing should leverage its purchasing power to drive a wedge between Canberra and Washington as Australian businesses and politicians complain about US exporters exploiting their woes and undercutting their markets in China. 

Russia squeezing US out as agricultural superpower

The US is being pushed out of the grain market as Russia’s bumper wheat harvest has dragged down prices to record lows. Russian agricultural exports are booming thanks to a weaker national currency and massive investment.

“We are pushing America aside in some markets, and we are satisfied with this,” said Russia’s Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkachev.

This year Russian farmers are expected to harvest the biggest crop in over a century. Russia will produce at least 83 million tons of wheat in the current growing season, according to estimates by The Wall Street Journal.

Lower prices and close proximity to large markets gives Russia an advantage, according to the General Director of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies Dmitry Rylko.

“A relatively weak ruble is good for the Russian wheat market. We see either gradual or rapid growth for our exports,” the expert told RT.

However, the figure announced by the Russian government earlier this year is much more impressive. The Moscow-based grain consultant ProZerno estimates a harvest of over 130 million tons. It is 2.6 percent more than the previous record set in 1978 before the Soviet-Afghan War.

“Today our task is to set reasonable prices across the country. The grain crop of 130 million tons, there is more to come. It may reach up to 200 million tons. The main thing is to find new sales markets,” said Tkachev.

The US agricultural sector has faced lousy weather this season, meaning fewer acres of wheat were sowed in 2017 than ever before. US wheat output is expected to decline by a quarter compared to the previous season.

Unfavorable conditions along with Russia’s resurgence pushed wheat prices at the Chicago Board of Trade down almost 25 percent to $4.19 a bushel (about 27 kilograms) compared to July, when Russia began a record wheat harvest. The US Wheat Associates trade group announced the shutdown of its office in Egypt, the world’s biggest wheat importer.

“We literally can’t compete on the price of wheat in those markets compared to Russia,” said the trade group’s spokesman Steve Mercer, as quoted by the WSJ.

According to the US Agriculture Department, American wheat will make up just 15 percent of global exports in 2017, down from half four decades ago. The plunge was also caused by more grain grown in Europe and India. The US will produce half as much as Russia, according to the department.

Last year, Russia managed to become the world’s leading producer and exporter of grain, after shipping 34 million tons from its 119 million ton harvest. Exports of Russian wheat are expected to increase to 40 million tons this year, according to the agriculture ministry.

“No one is leaving the market. The Americans are rather better at corn and soybean farming, and they are successfully doing that while losing position in wheat,” Rylko told RT.


Russians love Made in Russia

President Vladimir Putin has led the national charge toward self-sufficiency, arguing food generates more export income for Russia than arms. He has even vowed to become the world’s biggest supplier of organic food, ushering in a potential culinary Cold War with the bio-engineered mega-farms of the U.S.

Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev captured the mood in late September when he announced Moscow’s ban on European food was having such a positive effect in bolstering domestic output that he wanted sanctions to last longer. “We are interested in keeping them for another five years,” he told the Rossiya 24 TV channel, backsliding into one of the Kremlin’s more traditional timetables for economic plans. “Russian consumers are now happy to be looking for Russian-made goods in shops,” he added.

Russia hasn’t eradicated foreign products from supermarket shelves, but it has moved toward greater self-sufficiency. The country imported 36 percent of its food in 2013, before the EU’s sanctions and Moscow’s retaliatory embargo. In 2015, that figure dropped to 28 percent. In 2016, according to preliminary data, that fell again to 24 percent in the first quarter and 22 percent in the second.

Where Russia struggles to make up the shortfall — in fruit and dairy, for example — it has scrambled to find new trading partners. Moscow has approved dairy imports from New Zealand and has opened up to Asian dairy investments from Vietnam and Thailand.

What is The Crop Trust?

By editor of The International Reporter

 

The most important bank in the world received a huge deposit of 50,000 last week. Not 50,000 dollars; 50,000 seed samples. The most important bank in the world is, of course, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a repository of the planet’s genetic legacy dug into the permafrost in the side of a sandstone mountain on Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole

The seed vault’s administrator, The Crop Trust, describes the vault as “a fail-safe seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time—and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters,” and boasts that it “represents the world’s largest collection of crop diversity.”

Informally known as the “Doomsday Seed Vault” the idea is that the permafrost of a remote North Atlantic archipelago is a safe place to store copies of the most important seed varieties on the planet, including some of the world’s most important staple crops like potato, rice, wheat, lentil and chickpea.

The latest deposit of 50,000 seed samples come from Benin, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Netherlands, the U.S, Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus and the U.K. and include 15,000 samples that were withdrawn from the bank in 2015 and returned by researchers who had lost access to their own gene bank in Syria during the ongoing terrorist insurgency.

But here’s the real question that you don’t see addressed in any of the fake news coverage of this recent deposit in the establishment press: What “natural or man-made disasters” does The Crop Trust envision wiping out the genetic heritage of the earth, exactly, and who is “The Crop Trust” anyway?

Well, the second part of that question is easy enough to answer.

As researcher William Engdahl noted in his article on the vault a decade ago:

The first notable point is who is sponsoring the doomsday seed vault. Here joining the Norwegians are, as noted, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the US agribusiness giant DuPont/Pioneer Hi-Bred, one of the world’s largest owners of patented genetically-modified (GMO) plant seeds and related agrichemicals; Syngenta, the Swiss-based major GMO seed and agrichemicals company through its Syngenta Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation, the private group who created the “gene revolution” with over $100 million of seed money since the 1970’s; CGIAR, the global network created by the Rockefeller Foundation to promote its ideal of genetic purity through agriculture change.

And as I wrote in these pages in 2015:

So who is the “Global Crop Diversity Trust” which oversees the project? Describing itself as an “established independent organization under international law,” the Trust “was founded in 2004 in Rome, Italy, by the Food and Agriculture Organization and Bioversity International on behalf of the CGIAR international agricultural research consortium. The Crop Trust concluded a Headquarters Agreement with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in December 2012 and transferred its headquarters to its permanent location in Bonn in 2013.” The GCDT was chaired until 2012 by Margaret Catley-Carlson, a former President of (you guessed it) the J.D. Rockefeller III-founded Population Council (aka American Eugenics Society). No matter where you turn in this field, you always end up back at the doorstep of the same elite eugenics-obsessed families and the corporate oligopoly they helped to bring into existence.

Surprise, surprise. And given that it is the very same eugenics-obsessed families and foundations behind the GMO revolution that are behind this seed vault, do we really have to puzzle over why they are so concerned about the possibility of an ecological disaster that could wipe out all of the heirloom, non-GMO seed strains on the planet? The question, framed properly, answers itself.

So the good news is that another 50,000 seed samples will be left for whoever survives the coming biological disaster. The bad news is that the real founders and funders of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault probably aren’t going to be saving any life rafts for you.

Source:

https://theinternationalreporter.org/2017/03/02/the-most-important-bank-in-the-world-gets-another-deposit/