One of TAE's brother-in-laws (brother's-in-law?) is an advocate against genetically modified organisms, or GMO's.
This weekend I heard a sterling historical example of why GMO isn't always bad.
Back in the 50's, when my grandfather was inspecting crops, the standard practice was to till the land as deeply as it could be tilled, which in those days, with small tractors and 6 blade discs, was on the order of 6-8 inches deep. As the tractors drove over the land and bladed up the topsoil, they'd loosen the top layer, while hard-packing the deeper dirt.
As the roots of the plants grew, they'd drop down and stop at the hard pack, and be unable to penetrate further. Summer would arrive, and the heat and dryness of the Plains would dry out the topsoil, and the plants would wither. Then the windstorms would blow away much of the dry topsoil, or rains would wash it away as there were no plants to hold it in place. This was before the widespread use of terracing.
There really wasn't a whole heckuva lot of great ideas to combat this problem until Roundup Ready crops emerged from laboratories. The seed could be drilled directly into last years field, with the previous years dead plants helpfully mulching the ground. By not discing the top layer of soil, the soil maintained a constant hardness, and plant roots could penetrate deeper, preventing both their demise during dry spells and the erosion of soil during wet spells. Further, the tractors used to plant could be lighter than those used to pull a disc, and less hard pack occurred. Plus, weeds and other plants growing in the field that were normally contained via tillage were handily sprayed to death with herbicide by a lightweight sprayer.
The reason I mention this is that my generation has absolutely no concept of the Dust Bowl years or of widespread erosion, or of a ten year drought. I don't know that Kansas, Missouri, or even Oklahoma has seen major duststorms in my lifetime. But we have seen the scourge that is Frankenplant, emerging from the likes of Pioneer and Monsanto. And as my generation moans that it is unnatural, I have to wonder:
Doesn't it beat the alternative?
The problem I see here is that we are rapidly losing the wit and wisdom of a generation who have a lot more wisdom than we do. Left to our own devices, we rapidly forget why a thing like Roundup Ready crops were devised, and in doing so risk repeating our mistakes from the past.
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