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WORLD ORGANIC NEWS - mrjonmoore - Conservation Farming, Permaculture, organic gardening, organic farming, Climate Change.


Jul 23, 2017

Links

CONTACT:  podcast@worldorganicnews.com

 

Self-fuelling boat starts 6-year world trip using green energy, fuel cells — News

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fK1

Researchers put some of the wild back into domesticated wheat — Scientific Inquirer

      http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fKd

      Episode 65 #worldorganicnews 2017 05 22

http://worldorganicnews.libsyn.com/65-worldorganicnews-2017-05-22

Seaweed shown to reduce 99% methane from cattle

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fKl

Less Mowing, More Pollinators — Bee Branch Farm

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fKT

****

This is the World Organic News for the week ending 17th of July 2017.

Jon Moore reporting!

This week a fuel cell, solar and wind powered boat, ancient wheat genes, seaweed for ruminants and do less to protect more!

From the blog News comes the post: SELF-FUELLING BOAT STARTS 6-YEAR WORLD TRIP USING GREEN ENERGY, FUEL CELLS

This vessel is covered topsides with solar panels and has a couple of vertical axis wind turbines. From the post:

Quote

Energy Observer will use its solar panels, wind turbines and a hydrogen fuel cell system to power its trip. The 5 million-euro (USD 5.25 million) boat heads off from Paris toward the Atlantic today. (July 16 2017)

The futuristic-looking 30.5-meter (100-foot) boat will rely on sun or wind during the day and tap into its hydrogen reservoirs at night. It produces its own hydrogen through electrolysis of seawater.

Originally designed in 1983, the boat enjoyed a successful career in open-sea sailing races before skippers Frederic Dahirel and Victorien Erussard and a French research institute converted it into the Energy Observer project.

End Quote

This vessel should not be necessary. Set up as a demonstration to show the practicalities of mixed source renewable power, it has some value. But surely we are at a point now where we no longer need to “prove” the viability of these technologies? Indeed the idea of solar and wind combinations was bigger back in the 1980s and 1990s. My uncle has an off grid place where he has both and has had for twenty plus years. As he said, usually when its cloudy there will be some wind.

So I applaud the Energy Observer project but let’s get this sorted people. The technologies are extant, the price is dropping and need is urgent!

Our next post is entitled Researchers put some of the wild back into domesticated wheat from the blog Scientific Inquirer. As climate changes, the industrialised, narrow gene pool in domestic cereals has come under some pressures already. Whilst they are good for producing large quantities of food in relatively consistent conditions, they don’t handle change well.

Back in episode 65 on the 22 May this year I discussed the flooding of the Svalbard seed bank in Norway. Link in the show notes. These seed banks hold ancient forms of the modern cereals. Researchers at the University of Kansas studied the genome of an ancient variety of wheat and compared it with modern cultivars.

Quote:

“The relative of wheat is called wild emmer, which is one of the founding crops of human society,” said Eduard Akhunov, professor of plant pathology and wheat genomics at Kansas State University. “Wild emmer was one of the first crops that was domesticated 10,000 years ago, which was a critical step in moving from hunting and gathering to an agricultural society.”

End Quote.

By having this ancient genome and comparing it with modern varieties, traits such as drought and heat tolerance can be spotted. With this knowledge, better breeding programs can adjust modern varieties by backcrossing and so.

Another quote.

“The small segments of the wild emmer chromosomes are being transferred to bread wheat, and these segments can carry some useful genes in there, and they can be used in (K-State) breeding programs,” Akhunov said.

“It is a valuable source for improving end-use quality of wheat, especially grain composition and the mineral content, and protein content,” he added. “There are a number of genes that are known to improve this trait, and they are coming from wild emmer.”

End quote.

This post reinforces the importance of seed banks around the world. I had some seed from an older variety of wheat from Egypt which I used in breadmaking. The differences were apparent. Great depth of flavour, a bit more water was needed in the dough making process and slightly nutty taste. Not dissimilar to Spelt in that respect but much better rising ability whilst proving. So I’m an advocate for this sort of research and that’s why I encourage you all to find your local seed banks and seed swapping groups to maintain as much variety in food crops as possible.

And now to piece from the Irish Times entitled: Seaweed shown to reduce 99% methane from cattle. This is brilliant. I’ve always included seaweed meal in my feed for stock for the mineral content and the iodine deficiencies here in Australia. To find this article was wonderful, especially as it draws upon work done here in Australia and in Canada.

Let’s get to the crux of the matter:

Quote.

Researchers at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, found the addition of less than 2 per cent dried seaweed to a cow’s diet could reduce their methane emissions by as much as 99 per cent.

End Quote

So what’s the big deal about methane? Any number of vegan sites will point you to the vast amounts of methane belched by cattle and other ruminants around the world. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 but it also dissipates from the atmosphere in a matter of years not centuries. So removing methane from the meat supply chain will have a significant effect. If we added to this the removal of stock from Confined Animal Feeding Operations, feedlots in other words, they will no longer be standing in their own faeces but will be returning those faeces to the paddocks where the earthworms and dung beetles can incorporate the manures into the soil. This will raise soil carbon content by pulling it out of the atmosphere and into the soil where it belongs.

So with the addition of a small amount of seaweed to the diets of ruminants around the world and their return to rotational grazing we can pretty much positively affect greenhouse gas concentrations and feed people at the same time!

And finally for this week comes the post: Less Mowing, More Pollinators from Bee Ranch Farm. Not everyone is aware that allowing grassed areas to run to seed is actually pretty good for the grassed areas. It is also wonderful for pollinators. Given the obsession with bowling green lawns in the developed world, it is not surprising this source of food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators has been declining.

Here is something we can do to help these useful creatures by doing less ourselves. To my mind grassland never looks healthy unless it has a decent sward and blend of species. So I’ve never been fan of manicured lawns, sprayed relentlessly to kill off anything that might outcompete the grasses. By returning to more meadow like “lawns” and allowing them to flower we will be saving ourselves time behind a mower and providing food for pollinators. Win/Win!

And on that happy note we will end this week’s episode.

If you’ve liked what you heard, please tell everyone you know any way you can! I’d also really appreciate a review on iTunes. This may or may not help others to find us but it gives this podcaster an enormous thrill! Thanks in advance!

Any suggestions, feedback or criticisms of the podcast or blog are most welcome. email me at podcast@worldorganicnews.com.

Thank you for listening and I'll be back in a week.

****

Links

CONTACT:  podcast@worldorganicnews.com

 

Self-fuelling boat starts 6-year world trip using green energy, fuel cells — News

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fK1

Researchers put some of the wild back into domesticated wheat — Scientific Inquirer

      http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fKd

      Episode 65 #worldorganicnews 2017 05 22

http://worldorganicnews.libsyn.com/65-worldorganicnews-2017-05-22

Seaweed shown to reduce 99% methane from cattle

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fKl

Less Mowing, More Pollinators — Bee Branch Farm

http://wp.me/p5Cqpo-fKT