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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

Nothing against organic, but if we all relied on organic production how long would it take to starve the country?

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Jameshh1964
Senior Contributor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

Shaggy,
I think all farming was organic not too long ago. Modern chemicals allowed farms to get bigger because of time savings perhaps.
As in conventional agriculture, I see organic farms getting bigger and bigger as the good farmers figure out what they are doing. There is now a wide array of farm implement specific to mechanical weed control in different situations. The biggest difference I see with successful organic farmers versus their struggling counterparts is their ability and willingness to listen, learn and follow through with new ideas. An example is weed seed bank reduction prior to planting. I have guys who know precisely when the pigweed will germinate and how deep the seed needs to be to deter germination. With this information, multiple weed flushes are encouraged and then harrowed with very specific depth settings. Others work their ground, wait for or irrigate up the first weed flush , tine weed with hooked tines which throws out the weed sprout on too of the ground to desiccate, wait a few days to allow next flush to begin germinating under ground, plant the crop, wait until next flush is visible, then propane burn the newly emerged weeds. A few days later your crop comes up in a nearly weed free environment.
We have challenged growers too of course. Most of their problem is thinking they can address issues when they see them like the chemical farmers often do, rather than thinking way ahead.
As far as yields go, you are right that with most crops conventional out yields organic. This is not the case with my growers with a couple of crop exceptions. One needs to compare a good organic farmer to a good conventional farmer like yourself in order for the data to be meaningful. I suspect most poor conventional farmers have already gone out of business.
The biggest challenge to organic agricultural productin is access to Nigrogen. There is only just so much chickenmanure available.
I'll touch on our thoughts on that subject at a later time.
FYI about 40% of Washington State dairies are now certified organic.
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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

A 14 billion bu. corn crop if I figure it right gives each of the 320 million US citizens 43 bushel of corn  -  10 bushel of soybeans at 4.3 billion -and 3 bushel of wheat - these are general figures and we can proceed from here --- 

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Canuck_2
Senior Contributor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China


@Jameshh1964 wrote:
SW,
I'd love to have a sit down with you about Organic production, certification and labeling. It is actually quite clear for products labeled Certified Organic. The terms "Organic, natural, wholesome or similar terms are essentially worthless and are not regulated by any 3rd party.
Organic isn't for everyone, but it is now 4% of total food consumed in the USA and was worth about $38 billion last year.
I sure wish there were more USA soybeans that were organic. The tofu makers buy truck after truck from Canada.....
Take care.

Not sure there are that many truckloads of 'organic' beans produced in Canada.

the big market is for IP beans many of which are non GMO.

Lots for premiums of $50/tonne or more.

 

That is significant when prices are low.

2014 spot price is less than $400/t right now.

 

I do not know what the premium for 'organic' might be but am sure yield from an organic field will be less.

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Jameshh1964
Senior Contributor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

Better take a look at this article Canuck, even though its a couple years out of date.
http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/grains__oilseeds/soy/organic-soy-profile/
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Jameshh1964
Senior Contributor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

Canuck,
I'm not in the soybean business so I don't track Organic soy prices like I do wheat and barley. However, there is a tofu and tempeh manufacturer a couple blocks from our warehouse who were paying $0.45/lb for cleaned food grade soybeans in 2010. They were bought 44,0000 lb at a time and had Canada written all over the paper bags. That works out to $27.00/bushel. They paid freight on top of that. Not sure exactly what it costs to clean soybeans, but I currently pay $0.06/lb to clean black beans and $0.39 for each bag. So if you back out those costs you be getting about $0.37/lb on the farm in 2010. I am very certain the price is higher now. I would encourage you to check it out.
Most of our lentils currently come from Canada, though production will likely move to Montana next year if I have time to get that coordinated. It is difficult to match the quality of Canadian organic lentils. You have some good growers up there.
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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

James we've been using chemicals for a very long time and under my understanding this would not qualify as "Organic".  Yes, years ago we were 100% organic, but years ago we also relied on the Pony Express to deliver messages.  At the present we've got 7.25 billion mouths to feed and is projected to be 8 billion by 2024, a growth rate of 1.14% annually (world figures).  Don't misunderstand me, I've got nothing against "Organic" and do wish it could provide a larger piece of the total production number, but I just don't think it will keep pace with population.  If we get additional revenue for our products but people begin to go hungry, what have we gained?  Seems like it would take some type of outbreak or epidemic to occur for the "Organic" to truly get the boost it needs and possibly deserves.  Unless something changes, this "Organic" production on a grand scheme would be like taking a knife to a gun fight.

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Jameshh1964
Senior Contributor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

Another interesting article and a contact in Illinois for growers interested in Organic corn and soybean production.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/26/283112526/chickens-laying-organic-eggs-eat-imported-food...
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Jameshh1964
Senior Contributor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

FYI average price paid fob farm in the Midwest last week for organic feed corn was $13.89/bu.
Organic feed grade soybeans are at $27.00/bu and food grade soybeans are at $30.00/bu fob farm. Prices are higher than that on the west coast.
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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Organic corn being imported from China

GEO-Political ranglings make unfortantly ciricumstances for starving people in Africa which seem to get little relief whether corn is 3 or 7 or a few years ago when pork prices plummited to less than $ 10 live how much releif was displayed to the US consumer --- we  might examine how much whole sale corn is in corn flakes ---

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