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Old 10-02-2008, 09:32 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jim-frank View Post
Modern farmers are quite aware of the need to rotate crops to avoid depletion of various nutrients.

There are lots of paths to any given end. It's mainly a matter of getting the government regulators cut out of the loop, and letting the farmers and ethanol producers decide for themselves what is the most economical and profitable route to take.
Sadly most farmers aren't that modern. My relatives have been growing soy and corn only for over 25 years (my great uncle for 60yrs), no rotation to anything else. Current "hybrids" are designed to grow on water and nitrogen like a hydroponic. Our government stated that soil was devoid of mineral content in the 40's and warned of huge health effects from heart disease to anurism. Sadly they quit caring shortly after.

What is really needed in many parts of our country is a broad spectrum mineral based "Fertilizer" of some sort, best source would be ocean water if you could take out the sodium salt, though some studies say our soil needs some salt and in many areas there isn't even enough sodium content in the soil for it to be healthy. It would take many years though to start undoing the damage we have already done in our attempts to sterilize the soil.

We should also stop the practise of growing corn, the type of corn we grow is nutritionally devoid and not fit for human consumption without processing. Going to a traditional crop rotation with a variety of food crops would help break our dependance on foreign vegetables and fruits since we no longer grow much in the way of vegetables in mass.

We should also move from Beef to goats, sheep, deer, chickens, turkeys, pigs, etc. As they are all more efficient at converting food into meat and in some cases milk. Not that beef is bad just that it should not be our only real meat choice.

In terms of ethanol we should take the old slow method of malting, natural enzymes/yeast and WAITING. You can usually get away with not heating the mix in the summer months if you are willing to wait. We should not use fossil fuels to heat or distil. Sun dried Algae would make a great "heat" source burnt straight due to its oil content or any other biomass. No one seems much interested though in making a REAL green ethanol solution however as it means slower production or a larger footprint. Also waste foods should be used for ethanol or methane production, not viable food stores.

This all seems like common sense but when a lobby is involved nothing ever makes sense.
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