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Barley Blight

Barf-Less Brews

Genetic engineering could help keep harmful toxins out of barley and beer, but will consumers with a thirst for craft malts and brews buy into it?

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles. ... post104663

This is a story just about every home brewer should be aware of. If you belong to more than one Brewing Forum then pass it on.

An age old problem… for farmers. They bare the burden of making sure their crops are free from these fungi. The maltsters simply reject any loads that test too high. Of course maltsters standards have become quite stringent.

For the farmer it’s either spray with fungicide, which can only be done at a certain stage of growth for both plant and food safety, or buy into the GMO crop. Fungicide also negates any “organic” claims.

GMO crops aren’t necessary IMO because the supply of good fungus free malting barley hasn’t dwindled, in fact there’s too much malting barley on the market.

I don’t buy into the whole GMO thing. It makes companies (Monsanto) rich and keeps farmers poor (more bucks for the seed).

There is little demand for more barley on the world markets (or any grains for that matter).

If/when mother nature decimates crops by the ten’s of thousands of acres with out of control fungus, then yes bring on GMO.

We don’t need world markets saturated with GMO barley as they are with GMO corn driving prices down the tube and making the GMO company rich.

I don’t know much about GMO crops so I can’t say too much. But if you haven’t seen the documentary Food Inc you should. Really gives you a good idea how Monsanto strong arms farmers into using their products and ruins them with civil suit after civil suit if they don’t. Rather disturbing.

jd14t, that’s a rather flawed philosophy on GMO’s. You can’t wait until a catastrophe happens before going in the direction of GMO’s. It’s too late by that time. And companies will not invest in research unless they can sell the fruits of their labor. Like anything else we need to take the good with the bad (if there is indeed a bad). If we want to ensure the future of food production by engineering crops that can thrive under extreme conditions we will need to accept that as technology advances we will be the consumers of the product. Yes, Monsanto gets rich. But farmers also benefit by easier and more productive farming methods. Monsanto did not develop GMO’s for fun and they did not force them on the farmers. Monsanto, like any other company, developed a product because there was a customer base demanding it. And if Monsanto keeps researching they may be able to develop strains of grain that can thrive in drought conditions like we are starting to see in the USA. Do people want to eat these GMO products. Well, maybe not today. But when the day comes that drought has decimated crops and people are starting to starve then I suspect that the starving people will be happy to have the GMO foods. Yes, Monsanto is evil, but evil is a matter of perspective. One mans outlaw is another mans freedom fighter.

The problem is that farmers never benefit from productivity increases. Markets flooded with grain don’t bring high prices.

How do GMO crops make for “easier and more productive farming methods”?

Name some farming methods that are easier and more productive due to GMO?

The time to develop GMO is now, the time to use GMO is when it becomes necessary. That time hasn’t arrived yet.

The problem is that farmers never benefit from productivity increases. Markets flooded with grain don’t bring high prices.

How do GMO crops make for “easier and more productive farming methods”?

Name some farming methods that are easier and more productive due to GMO?

The time to develop GMO is now, the time to use GMO is when it becomes necessary. That time hasn’t arrived yet.[/quote]

As controversial as it is one major farming method that becomes easier is weed control. Monsanto makes GMO seeds that grow what they call Roundup Ready plants. These are plants that are not impacted by the chemical Roundup that is often used by homeowners to kill weeds. Farmers can plant this special seed and then they can simply fly a crop duster plane over the field and spray roundup. It kills all weeds and unwanted vegetation and leaves the crops unharmed.

As far as developing GMO’s now but not using them, that is not a valid business model. No company would invest millions into research for a product that they have no intention of selling unless there is a dire need. Monsanto is in business to make money and if they develop a product they will do their best to market and sell it. If they developed products and did not sell them they would not be in business very long.

Farmers do not have to buy Monsanto seed. The legal action you referred to earlier is strictly to stop farmers from buying Monsanto seed and then harvesting a portion of their crop for the seed to replant. This would give the farmers the benefit of buying once and then never again. So part of the sales agreement is that the farmer does not do that. All farmers are free to go and buy non GMO seed from companies other than Monsanto. But then they lose the benefit of the the GMO. So clearly, the farmers like the results of the GMO’s enough so that they are not willing to stop buying the seed. That would indicate that they are indeed making additional profit using the Monsanto products otherwise they would just go back to using non GMO seed.

No-till, strip cropping and crop rotations are farming methods.

Weed control is… well weed control. Whether the seed is GMO Roundup Ready or not doesn’t stop the farmer from applying herbicides and pesticides at the appropriate times.

Roundup ready seed isn’t necessary to produce a bountiful crop.

Good farming practices do produce a bountiful crop and don’t promote weed growth.

Obviously it’s not a valid business model but that’s not the point. The point is that even without GMO seed, grain commodity markets would still be flooded due to modern farming practice.

I’m just not convinced that a plant doused with glyphosate (actual active ingredient of roundup) is going to have no ill effects on me if I consume it over the long haul. I’ve read of studies that link glyphosate and cancer.

Just the fact that a plant is genetically modified has never been shown to be a danger to humans (although the testing is still very young). I just don’t want to drink roundup in my beer(but if it will help head retention, I might reconsider!haha)

Cheers,

Ron

I’m not defending Monsanto or advocating the way they do their business. I personally am an organic gardener and like my natural foods without chemicals. But there has to be benefit to what Monsanto does, otherwise they would not be selling their products and making billions.

Obviously Round Up ready seeds are a benefit to farmers or they would not go in that direction. I agree that I don’t think that eating food soaked in Round Up could have no ill effects. Unfortunately it is getting harder and harder to eat these days without all the chemicals. And to eat “organic foods” will cost you a lot more than the chemical laden stuff.

I don’t see why GMO plants would necessarily be bad, but science has had a track record of declaring things “safe” only to be proven wrong down the road. Lead in paint, Trans-fat, DDT, Thalidamide…

They declare it “safe” because they have no evidence of danger. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

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