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Why MMGW doesn't matter or the next fad crisis

cprcpr Posts: 9,309 Admiral
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/have-we-reached-peak-food-shortages-loom-as-global-production-rates-slow-10009185.html

The world has entered an era of “peak food” production with an array of staples from corn and rice to wheat and chicken slowing in growth – with potentially disastrous consequences for feeding the planet.

New research finds that the supply of 21 staples, such as eggs, meat, vegetables and soybeans is already beginning to run out of momentum, while the global population continues to soar.

Peak chicken was in 2006, while milk and wheat both peaked in 2004 and rice peaked way back in 1988, according to new research from Yale University, Michigan State University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany.

What makes the report particularly alarming is that so many crucial sources of food have peaked in a relatively short period of history, the researchers said.

“People often talk of substitution. If we run out of one substance we just substitute another. But if multiple resources are running out, we’ve got a problem. Mankind needs to accept that renewable raw materials are reaching their yield limits worldwide,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, of Michigan State University.

Food peak production
1 of 12
Maize: reached its peak-rate in 1985
Next
Maize: reached its peak-rate in 1985Rice: reached its peak-rate in 1988Fish (caught): reached its peak-rate in 1988Dairy: reached its peak-rate in 1989Eggs: reached its peak-rate in 1993Meat: reached its peak-rate in 1996Vegetables: reached its peak-rate in 2000Wheat: reached its peak-rate in 2004 Milk: reached its peak-rate in 2004Poultry: reached its peak-rate in 2006Sugacane: reached its peak-rate in 2007Soybeans: reached its peak-rate in 2009
“This is a strong reason for integration ... rather than searching for a one-for-one substitution to offset shortages,” he added.

Peak production refers to the point at which the growth in a crop, animal or other food source begins to slow down, rather than the point at which production actually declines. However, it is regarded as a key signal that the momentum is being lost and it is typically only a matter of time before production plateaus and, in some cases, begins to fall – although it is unclear how long the process could take.

“Just nine or 10 plants species feed the world. But we found there’s a peak for all these resources. Even renewable resources won’t last forever,” said Ralf Seppelt, of the Helmholtz Centre.

The research, published in the journal Ecology and Society, finds that 16 of the 21 foods examined reached peak production between 1988 and 2008.

This synchronisation of peak years is all the more worrying because it suggests the whole food system is becoming overwhelmed, making it extremely difficult to resurrect the fortunes of any one foodstuff, let alone all of them, the report suggested.


The simultaneous peaking of the world’s basic foodstuffs is largely down to the competing demands of a mushrooming population, which is putting ever-greater strain on the land for housing, agriculture, business and infrastructure. At the same time, producing more of any one staple requires the use of extra land and water, which increases their scarcity and makes it harder to increase food production in the future.

Finally, increases in production tend to push up pollution, which exacerbates shortages of resources and slows the growth in output.

The simultaneous peaking of crops and livestock comes against a backdrop of a growing population, which is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, requiring the world to produce twice as much food by then as it does now, according to a separate study by the California Academy of Sciences. The problems caused by the growing population have been compounded by the growth of wealthy middle-class populations in countries such as China and India which are demanding a meatier diet. This is problematic because meat and dairy use up a lot more resources than if a comparable level of nutrition were provided by crops, grown direct for human consumption.

“That trajectory [of needing to double food production] is not a given but more of a warning. It means we have to change how we eat and use food,” said Jonathan Foley, the director of the California Academy of Sciences.

While the peak production study suggests a doubling of food output could well be impossible, Dr Foley points out that, since 30 to 40 per cent of the food grown globally for human consumption never gets eaten, eliminating waste would go a long way to feeding the growing population.

Among the basic foodstuffs examined, only the relatively undeveloped farmed fish – or aquaculture – industry has yet to reach peak production.

I think we are close to the tipping point of something bad happening, I always figured it would be a pandemic. Who knows :shrug
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr

Replies

  • phlatsphilphlatsphil Posts: 14,632 AG
    I'm no farmer or rancher, but but ... how can we, i.e. this planet, have reached peak food production when there are a bazillion acres of unused land?

    Just last week a wreck on the B-line forced me to drive SR520 over to SR50 and I wondered then why there were miles of open range with not a cow or food plant in sight. And that's a smidgeon of unused land in this country alone. There must be a million times more around the globe that could be used to produce food.

    Now, fish in the sea is another story. I've seen reports lately that the oceans could collapse in our lifetime, meaning fish populations will be reduced to the point that it could cause massive starvation in many parts of the world.
    p.s. this is an interesting subject, I hope it doesn't digress to be about Obama or republicans or democrats.
  • mustang190mustang190 Posts: 10,104 AG
    Yet we continue to burn corn. i.e.. ethanol.
  • FibberMckeeFibberMckee Posts: 12,837 AG
    So deniers no longer claim MMGW is a vast international hoax designed to destroy America?
    cpr wrote: »
    Why MMGW doesn't matter or the next fad crisis

    It's been demoted to being merely another "fad"?

    Food has always been a renewable resource.

    The classic thought from Food Aid is still true; Now that we can feed everyone, we must feed everyone.
  • rickcrickc Posts: 9,172 Admiral
    too many **** people

    need to thin them out

    nature is very good at it

    and very cruel too
  • fins4mefins4me Posts: 14,487 AG
    There is no such thing as "Peak Food" production today. Production is determined by profit margin and little else. Pay the farmer enough and there will be all you and everyone would ever care to eat.

    Now,,, IF agriculturalist are not rewarded then attrition will continue to reduce the number of producers and their accumulated knowledge base (average age of the American Farmer is 56), equipment investment, technology advancement through investment and dedicated acreage will erode to the point that there could actually be a concern in the not to distant future.

    Take this year as an example. I and others predict that corn will be down this year. Living out of the corn belt I have more price risk and depend on a guaranteed price contract (still negotiating with contract buyer for an adequate guaranteed price). I may forgo my for sale crop and only grow my feed requirements as well as enough for some local mixer requirements who buy from me.

    It all comes down to potential profit vs possible risk. There is still untold production potential if the rewards are great enough.
    ALLISON XB 21,, MERCURY 300 Opti Max Pro Series (Slightly Modified) You can't catch me!!!
    "Today is MINE"
  • Mister-JrMister-Jr Posts: 27,750 AG
    I have read a couple of articles regarding the limited supply of phosphate impacting agriculture at some point in the future. Any validity to those stories?
    Vote for the other candidate
  • fins4mefins4me Posts: 14,487 AG
    Mister-Jr wrote: »
    I have read a couple of articles regarding the limited supply of phosphate impacting agriculture at some point in the future. Any validity to those stories?

    I am certainly no expert on the subject. I have however set in on some discussions at a couple of seminars. Most believe it to be akin to the peak oil theory. There are decades (if not more) available from current known sources and still much that is not even discovered yet. Most production comes from Morocco. They discovered a huge reserve a few years back that has not even been touched yet. It is multiple times larger than all of the Phosphorus they have mined to date alone. It is not like oil where fortunes can be made overnight so there just isn't that much emphasis on looking for more. That may change in the decades to come.

    In the US (we are a minor producer) there are lots of untapped areas that are in federal lands. If it were to come down to need I would think sanity would prevail and those areas would be mined.
    ALLISON XB 21,, MERCURY 300 Opti Max Pro Series (Slightly Modified) You can't catch me!!!
    "Today is MINE"
  • FibberMckeeFibberMckee Posts: 12,837 AG
    Probably not, Phosphorous being the 11th most abundant element on Earth, but that's never prevented anyone from turning a buck.

    http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2013/04/01/phosphorus-essential-to-life-are-we-running-out/
  • David BDavid B Posts: 1,907 Captain
    It may be abundant, but convincing folks to let the mining of it happen is an entirely different story. As with many things that we seek in this country, the NIMBY folks are all too often quick to stop things from happening locally. Look at the fight to expand Phosphate mining into Manatee county as an example. Sure there are environmental risks involved in it. I wonder how these folks would act if it were gypsum or any other component needed for the manufacture of drywall for their homes. Maybe the very timber used for framing or the steel needed for products within their homes as well. Many people would flat out starve if not for the commercial agricultural industry in this nation. Maybe it is time to impose some hardships on this country as it is within other countries to see how it is perceived.
    Increasing MMGW or climate change, one twist off at a time.
  • fins4mefins4me Posts: 14,487 AG
    Much like the anti carbon fuel movement, there is an anti phosphate movement. They use similar tactics. The peak oil argument is used to spur research in new tech and the anti phosphate movement does the same.

    Create a boogieman and people will mass to fight it whether it is real or not.
    ALLISON XB 21,, MERCURY 300 Opti Max Pro Series (Slightly Modified) You can't catch me!!!
    "Today is MINE"
  • FibberMckeeFibberMckee Posts: 12,837 AG
    fins seems to suffer the delusion that Phosphorous Eutrophication is only a "boogieman" created by "an anti phosphate movement". But let it slip that he doesn't know "whether it is real or not".
    fins4me wrote: »
    Much like the anti carbon fuel movement, there is an anti phosphate movement. They use similar tactics. The peak oil argument is used to spur research in new tech and the anti phosphate movement does the same.

    Create a boogieman and people will mass to fight it whether it is real or not.

    Readers should be advised that Phosphorous Eutrophication definitely "is real". It's a wide spread problem that should be near & dear to serious anglers b/c it damages so many fisheries.
  • David BDavid B Posts: 1,907 Captain
    Phosphorous Eutrophication
    are we talking about lakes, bodies of water or agricultural practices? Florida has been getting onboard with BMP concerning nutrient loading. Agriculture has been at it for sometime. Duck hunters have led the push concerning residential and golf course community education.
    Increasing MMGW or climate change, one twist off at a time.
  • FibberMckeeFibberMckee Posts: 12,837 AG
    USGS is "certainly (an) expert on the subject"
    fins4me wrote: »
    I am certainly no expert on the subject. Most production comes from Morocco.

    In the US (we are a minor producer) there are lots of untapped areas that are in federal lands. If it were to come down to need I would think sanity would prevail and those areas would be mined.

    Top 5 Phosphate Producers
    (in mln tonnes)
    Country Production Reserves
    1 China 50 4,100
    2 US 30.9 1,200
    3 Morocco,
    West Sahara 28 5,700
    4 Russia 11 200
    5 Tunisia 7.8 100
    Source: U.S. Geological Survey
  • fins4mefins4me Posts: 14,487 AG
    I mis spoke,, most of the phosphorus resource deposits are in Morocco.

    Thank you fibber





    you pompous ***.
    ALLISON XB 21,, MERCURY 300 Opti Max Pro Series (Slightly Modified) You can't catch me!!!
    "Today is MINE"
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