According to writer and environmentalist Vandana Shiva, "the crucial characteristic of monocultures is that they do not merely displace alternatives, they destroy their own basis"(1993, p.50). If the self-destruction of a monoculture is really so simple, it seems that continuous cropping agriculture should long have been abandoned for a more suitable method. Unfortunately, the problem is far more complex. This paper will focus on the effects of corn monoculture on soils in general, the development of the monoculture in the United States and the effects this had on soil in this country. Through the exploration of other models, suggestions will then be made on how to modify the continuous cropping system in the United States into a more sustainable one.
The first piece of evidence that the continual cropping system is inefficient, is that it is the least productive growing system. In experiments done in Wooster, Ohio, it was found that a field where crop rotation was used could produce 27.62 bushels of corn per acre, a field with continual cropping produced only 13.33 bushels per acre, and where chemical fertilizer was used on a continuous cropped field, 30.53 bushels per acre were produced (Weir, 1936,p. 502). Though it interesting that these facts are fundamental enough to have been discovered before 1936, it should also be noted that a recent eight year study done at the University of Nebraska, where scientists compared thirteen cropping systems, "the results confirmed the findings of studies done in the first half of the century"(Committee on the Role of Alt. Farm. Methods, 1989, p.229). If continual cropping is the least effective method o...
... middle of paper ...
...ouncil, 1989, Alternative Agriculture: Washington, D.C., National Academy Press.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1980, China: Multiple Cropping and Related Crop Production Technology, report on the fao/undp study tour or the People's Republic of China, 25 June- 22 July 1979: Rome, United Nations Publishing.
Hudson, John C., 1994, Making the Corn Belt: A Geographical History of Middle-western Agriculture: Bloomington, Indiana University Press.
Miracle, Marvin P., 1966, Maize in Tropical Africa: Madison, University of Wisconsin Press.
Shiva, Vandana, 1993, Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology: London, Zed Books Limited.
Weir, Wilbert W., 1936, Soil Science : Its Principles and Practice Including Basic Processes for Managing Soils and Improving their Fertility: Chicago, J.B. Lippencott Company.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The growing demand for enhanced food productivity to meet the needs of the global population has led to use sophisticated agriculture technology in which pesticides play a crucial role. Pesticides are extensively used to increase agricultural products by preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest (John et al., 2001). Pesticides have been widely used througout the world since the middle of the last century. They are mainly used in agriculture and animal production, both including substances with high toxic effects and persistance in the environment (Beyer and Biziuk, 2008).... [tags: Agriculture ]
513 words (1.5 pages)
- Centuries ago, the farming technique was only one: the rotational crops. For each season, people planted new seeds that would grow in the conditions given by the whether. After some time, the soil would rest and prepare for future cropping seasons. However, this is no longer the case, or at least it is no longer the only farming technique. Technology has made possible agriculture to grow, and to develop new techniques and types of crops. The most important new agricultural technique is monoculture, which is the single-species crop.... [tags: agriculture, farming, technology, crops]
1453 words (4.2 pages)
- What is a Sustainable Agriculture. To define the sustainability of agriculture, we must look into the several relationships agriculture has with the basic nature of making something sustainable. In this research literature, we will look at the factual information regarding agricultural practices as they relate to the long-term stability of biodiversity, ecosystems, and Natural resources. We will also compare historical and modern perspectives of economics as they relate to resources and sustainability.... [tags: Environmentalism / Economics / Agriculture]
1327 words (3.8 pages)
- ... What is going to happen to our friends and children if they cannot get the food they need from the store. It was all over the news in 2005 after hurricane Katrina, people were running around stealing and harming each other to find food for themselves and their family. Within hours of knowing that a natural disaster is occurring (if the community is that lucky) the grocery stores and supermarkets are emptied of all food and nutritional sustenance. With an increased understanding of both agricultural and traditional food values children and their parents would better know how to both feed themselves and survive in conditions where they had to grow or find their own food.... [tags: agricultural knowledge for students]
1486 words (4.2 pages)
- Genetic engineering is a way in which specific genes for an animal or plant can be extracted, and reproduced to form a new animal or plant. These new organisms will express the required trait for that gene. This practice is a very controversial topic within the scientific world. It is being implemented in various areas such as agriculture even though there are many alternatives that can be found for genetic engineered crops, such as organic materials and reducing leeching of the soil. The controversy regarding this practice occurs as it is believed to contribute both negative and positive implications and dangers, not only to oneself but the environment as a whole.... [tags: Genetic Engineering ]
1303 words (3.7 pages)
- Agricultural practices throughout the ages have evolved dramatically. Having started off as simple pastoral management and shifting cultivation, these methods have been altered substantially in the name of “progress”, primarily in the US and other industrialized nations. Through this progression the energy inputs and outputs has been drastically altered. The industrialized food system as we know it is much more complex today than the simple agricultural practices used thousands of years ago. Today, the industrialized agricultural system is dependent on extraordinary amounts of fossil fuel inputs in order to maintain its complexity.... [tags: Agriculture]
1601 words (4.6 pages)
- There is great potential for economic growth in the agricultural and agri-industrial sectors In Amapa due to the massive rainforest covering 81 percent of the state (Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, 2013). In total, the entire Amazonian rainforest contributes 8 percent towards Brazilian GDP (Homma, Alves, Franco, Pena & , 2012). “The state has an important forest-based economic sector, extracting both timber and non-timber products (including açai, Brazil nuts, and cipó titica)” (Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, 2013).... [tags: Amapa Rainforest]
1328 words (3.8 pages)
- Views on the Effects of the Advent of Agriculture 4,000 BC: Today, I awoke when the sun was just over the treetops. It was wonderful to be able to sleep in again. Our last hunt was so successful, we've had enough meat to feed the entire tribe for three days, now, and we feel that it will suffice until tomorrow, when we'll go out again. The big game is everywhere, lately. Later on this afternoon, I plan on taking our tribe's oldest son out into the wilderness to help him with his spear-throwing technique.... [tags: Agriculture History Historical Essays]
1218 words (3.5 pages)
- Effects of Agriculture on the Environment Introduction: Agriculture has changed dramatically, especially since the end of World War II. Food and fibre productivity rose due to new technologies, mechanization, increased chemical use, specialization and government policies that favoured maximizing production. These changes allowed fewer farmers with reduced labour demands to produce the majority of the food and fibre. Humans, like all other species, exploit their surroundings for the resources they need to survive.... [tags: Agricultural Environment Nature Essays]
2078 words (5.9 pages)
- The Effects of Genetic Engineering on Agriculture Agribiotechnology is the study of making altered agricultural products. Agribusiness is trying to alter the genes of already existing products to try to enhance the biocompetitiveness and adaptability of crops by enhancing plant resistance to drought, salinity, disease, pests and herbicides. They are going to try to enhance their growth, productivity, nutrient value, and chemical composition. The old way of doing this was through selective breeding, special fertilizer, and hormones.... [tags: Papers]
1415 words (4 pages)