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August 9, 2000


Organics, megafarm units and more


If we are to rely on organic certification (at least in the UK) as an
indication that there is no E.coli in the manure spread on farms, consider
that The Soil Association, Britain's organic certifying agency, was
recently cited by the Advertising Standards Authority for making
unsubstantiated claims.
Specifically the ASA found that since the Soil Association did not
undertake any tests which showed their allegations about the healthiness,
etc., of organic food were true, the Soil Association should refrain from
making such claims.

Date: Aug 09 2000 17:06:56 EDT
Subject: Biotechnology and Impact on the Structure of Agriculture --
Megafarm units

As a comment and answer to Dennis Keeney message , I think there is an
impact of herbicide resistant soybean varieties on agricultural structures
at least in developped agriculture like USA. The use of glyphosate
resistant varieties allows no tillage practices ( or low tillage) and a
simplification of labour ( pre emergence spray, sowing, eventual post
emergence spray, harvest ). Labour resource is a limiting factor, as well
as time window with acceptable weather for sowing.

With transgenic ( herbicide resistance varieties ), one single farmer is
able to manage an acreage lets say 25% to 30% wider than classical
varieties. Harvest length remains a bottleneck, although with time conflict
with harvest of other crops ( corn); however increase of size of harvester
is a reponse to that problem. I remember interviewing several farmers in
Illinois , indiana who confirmed me thos assertions.

As far as Bt corn is concerned , the better standability of corn at
harvest time may suggest a faster harvest ( the harvest velocity can vary
from one to two depending of the standability of the plants at maturity),
therefore a single person is able to improve productivity of his labour
measured in harvester acres per hour when other factors unchanged ( size
of the harvester for instance).

Jean Bernard Bonastre

Date: Aug 09 2000 19:30:18 EDT
From: Bill Hanson
Subject: biotech in developing countries

Dear Members,

I am interested in finding out information about research facilities on
the west coast of the U.S. that are involved in projects focused on
improving agriculture for developing nations (disease resistance,
increased nutritional value, etc.). I am currently working for a
commercial concern in the area of plant molecular/cell biology but would
prefer to work for an institute focused on applying biotech to the third
world. I would appreciate any information. Thanks.

Bill Hanson

Subj: Re: AGBIOVIEW: GM foods put French agro into `nostalgia'
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000 4:27:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Paul Geiger"

Dear All:

It's interesting that the French should hate America and scientists for
the bomb. They use something like 80% of their power from nuclear
generators -- evidently no fear there!

Paul Geiger
Assoc. Prof. Emer.
USC Sch. of Med.

Subj: BBC polling current status
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 8:19:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Dr R.H.Phipps"

Dear All

Current status OF bbc Online poll, total support for growing and eating
biotech crops is 53.0 % with 34.7% opposed. The remainder support
continued research.

Richard H Phipps
The University of Reading, UK