Need to grow your own manure?

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Well, while we wait for Shelly to pry his foot out of his mouth, a new concern has arisen for organic farmers.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=vegetables-contain-antib iotics
News- January 6, 2009 Worried about Antibiotics in Your Beef? Vegetables May Be No Better New studies show vegetables like lettuce and potatoes--even organic ones--may carry antibiotics ByMatthew Cimitile
For half a century, meat producers have fed antibiotics to farm animals to increase their growth and stave off infections. Now scientists have discovered that those drugs are sprouting up in unexpected places: Vegetables such as corn, potatoes and lettuce absorb antibiotics when grown in soil fertilized with livestock manure, according to tests conducted at the University of Minnesota. Today, close to 70 percent of all antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States are routinely fed to cattle, pigs and poultry, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Although this practice sustains a growing demand for meat, it also generates public health fears associated with the expanding presence of antibiotics in the food chain. People have long been exposed to antibiotics in meat and milk. Now, the new research shows that they also may be ingesting them from vegetables, perhaps even ones grown on organic farms. The Minnesota researchers planted corn, green onion and cabbage in manure-treated soil in 2005 to evaluate the environmental impacts of feeding antibiotics to livestock. Six weeks later, the crops were analyzed and found to absorb chlortetracycline, a drug widely used to treat diseases in livestock. In another study two years later, corn, lettuce and potato were planted in soil treated with liquid hog manure. They, too, accumulated concentrations of an antibiotic, named Sulfamethazine, also commonly used in livestock. As the amount of antibiotics in the soil increased, so too did the levels taken up by the corn, potatoes and other plants. "Around 90 percent of these drugs that are administered to animals end up being excreted either as urine or manure," said Holly Dolliver, a member of the Minnesota research team and now a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. "A vast majority of that manure is then used as an important input for 9.2 million hectares of (U.S.) agricultural land." Manure, widely used as a substitute for chemical fertilizer, adds nutrients that help plants grow. It is often used in organic farming. The scientists found that although their crops were only propagated in greenhouses for six weeks--far less than a normal growing season--antibiotics were absorbed readily into their leaves. If grown for a full season, drugs most likely would find their way into parts of plants that humans eat, said Dolliver. Less than 0.1 percent of antibiotics applied to soil were absorbed into the corn, lettuce and other plants. Though a tiny amount, health implications for people consuming such small, cumulative doses are largely unknown. "The antibiotic accumulation in plants is just another negative consequence of our animal agriculture industry and not surprising given the quantity fed to livestock," said Steve Roach, public health program director for the non-profit Food Animal Concerns Trust. For highly processed plants such as corn, the drugs would most likely be removed, added Dolliver. But many food crops such as spinach and lettuce are not processed, only washed, allowing antibiotics to remain. "Nobody particularly eats corn or soybean directly," said Satish Gupta, a University of Minnesota professor of soil science and study leader. "But there are crops I am much more worried about, like cabbage and lettuce, because these are leaves we eat directly and consume raw." One finding that particularly worries food scientists is the accumulation of antibiotics within potato tubers. Tubers are an enlarged, underground stem that uptake and store nutrients from the soil. In crops like potatoes, carrots and radishes, it is the part humans eat. "Since these tubers and root crops are in direct contact with the soil they may show a greater propensity for [antibiotic] uptake," said Gupta. Health officials fear that eating vegetables and meat laced with drugs meant to treat infections can promote resistant strains of bacteria in food and the environment. Roach said "the clearest public health implication" from treating livestock with antibiotics is the development of resistant bacteria that reduces the effectiveness of human medicine. Past studies have shown overuse of antibiotics reduces their ability to cure infections. Over time, certain antibiotics are rendered ineffective. Scientists believe antibiotics also may have contributed to the explosive rise in asthma and allergies in children over the last 20 years. Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, following 448 children from birth for seven years, reported that children who received antibiotics within their first six months had a higher risk of developing allergies and asthma. Such health concerns led the European Union in 2006 to ban antibiotic use as feed additives for promoting livestock growth. But in the United States, nearly 25 million pounds of antibiotics per year, up from 16 million in the mid 1980s, are given to healthy animals for agriculture purposes, according to a 2000 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Livestock producers contend that the spread of resistant strains of bacteria stems from the overuse of all medicines to treat infectious diseases in both humans and animals. Removal of antibiotics, they say, would only lead to increased disease in animals and reduction in food safety. Tainted manure can impact more than just the soil. Once applied to the land, antibiotics can infiltrate water supplies as it seeps through the soil into aquifers or spills into surface water due to runoff, explained Dolliver. "The other thing to remember is that the field is not a sterile environment. Mice, rabbit and foxes traverse farmland while other animals graze, all with the potential to become vectors for the resistant bacteria organisms and spread it throughout different animal populations," said Pat Millner, a U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist based in Maryland. The presence of antibiotics within the food chain is likely to increase as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has permitted greater use of controversial drugs on farm animals. For example, this past October, the FDA dropped plans to halt use of cefquinome, a potent antibiotic, after it said in July it would push against its use in animals. Even if a product has the USDA organic label, it still can harbor traces of antibiotics, Gupta said. While there are restrictions on use of raw manure in U.S. organic farming because of concern over bacteria, no such rules are in place regarding antibiotics or hormones. Not all organic growers use manure with antibiotics, but many do, said Gupta. High-temperature composting of manure, designed to kill pathogens, is required for crops certified under the USDA label. That could eliminate some antibiotics. But growers are not required to check for the drugs. "We urgently need to find some way to put guidelines in place on organic food regarding these chemicals," Gupta said. Gupta said all growers should be told that composting can help. Composting decays piles of food or manure as microbes decompose organic matter using oxygen to survive, grow and reproduce. Heating up the material creates conditions conducive for bacteria to break down antibiotics and pathogens. A pilot study by USDA scientists in Maryland added straw to a beef cattle manure pile, heating up the dense material while allowing spaces for air to penetrate. The higher temperatures sped up the decaying process of harmful substances. "The process happens very rapidly, in this study it took about 10 days," said Millner. "This is not too surprising since antibiotics are not a thermally stable chemical compound." In another study, the same researchers who discovered the uptake of antibiotics by plants tested four of these drugs to determine how effective composting would be in reducing harmful chemicals in turkey manure. After 25 days using a combination of natural heat generated by microbial activity, three of the four antibiotics broke down under the high energy conditions created, said Dolliver. Composting reduced concentrations of some antibiotics by up to 99 percent. "These findings suggest manure management can be an important strategy for reducing the overall impact for these compounds making their way into the environment," said Dolliver. Many questions still remain. Currently, projects are underway to grow crops for a full season in antibiotic laced manure, to grow them in fields rather than greenhouses and to analyze the concentrations and locations of the antibiotics within the plants. Researchers also want to determine which antibiotics are more likely to be picked up, which plants are more prone to uptake, what composting methods are most effective in reducing harmful material in manure and what antibiotics may be resistant to composting. There are serious societal implications regarding the discoveries already made and the questions yet to be answered, Gupta concluded. "We are a chemical society and humans are the main user of pharmaceutical products," said Gupta. "We need a better understanding of what takes place when chemicals are applied to sources of food and must be more vigilant about regulating what we use to grow food and what we put in our bodies." This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.
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- Billy
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Billy wrote:

I wonder about these things. Did not notice mention of quantities but with today's analytical chemistry instrumentation you can pick up parts per trillion. Personally I'm not scared of anything at that level. OTOH an organic farmer that I used to correspond with pointed out that strong insecticides are often sprayed on manure to keep down flies. That could be something to worry about.
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It's not the possibility that eating antibiotics would cause an incident. It's when antibiotics become so ubiquitous in the environment, that the bugs develop a tolerance to them, and then they become worthless for saving lives.
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Jeeze Louise! More bloody sloppy reporting. Why don't they differntiate between Feedlot animals and grass fed animals!
Or perhaps all beef in the US comes from feedlot animals. Our cattle are only ever given anitbiotics if they have a problem like an infection and then it's usually only one jab that has a 3 day life.
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FarmI wrote:

Aparently the majority does and even 'grass-fed' may mean grass finished.
David
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Yebbet.... there is nothing as good as grassfed beef from the cradle to the abattoir.
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wrote in message

Fran, ya gotta get out more Dear. 24 Feb 2009 http://www.rsca.org.au/media-centre/curbing-the-use-of-antibiotics-on-intensive-farms.html :
"Antibiotic resistance is becoming a big threat to the health of Australians and is increasingly being linked to the food we eat.
In Australia, more than two thirds of antibiotic use involves farm animals and those antibiotics are quite similar to those used to fight infections in people.
Speaking today at the RSPCA's annual Scientific Seminar, Dr Peter Collignon will discuss how the wide use of antibiotics in intensive farming systems, to prevent disease and promote faster growth, impacts human health by aiding the spread of resistance bacteria".
Now, we Americans also have our waste treatment plants hyping the organic feel good benefits of their by-products recycling programs, steriods and antiboitics and many other meds. This already affects the Salmon industry. Often wondered about human waste ferts used in 3rd World. They do not always follow the entire protocol of meds and hence we have Drug Resist. TB and such.
But I do have to ask what does this do to the naturally occuring e.coli and other potentially harmful pathogens in the soil? do they start on the path of drug resistence? we don't have a lot of research on this as yet.
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No, I don't need to get out more but you should pay attention to what I write, not what you think I write.
The article that Billy posted reported only on intensively farmed animals. There are indeed other forms of farming animals that does not involve the use of antibiotics. We do the latter.
24 Feb 2009

http://www.rsca.org.au/media-centre/curbing-the-use-of-antibiotics-on-intensive-farms.html :
This cite too is only about intensive farming. We too have intensive farming however, I was not complaining about the existence of intensive farming but the fact that the artcile made no attempt to mention that there was any form of farming OTHER than that which involved the use of antibiotics. Sloppy reporting because it made no attempt to differentiate.
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In article

Follow-up
This point was made in the Letters to the Editor in the June, '09 Scientific American. The author, Nathan Fiala, responded that in 2000, then president of the U.S. National Farmers Union, Leland Swenson, in testimony given to the House Judiciary Committee, claimed that 4 companies produce 81% of the beef grown in this country. Fiala claims that companies of this size must of necessity be using CAFO. Americans, on average, eat about 100 lbs of beef/year/person.
Secondly, he states, "that to meet the increased consumption worldwide, CAFO are the fastest-growing production method in developing countries, and they most likely are the future of beef production for everyone around the globe."
The problem seems to be that the entire world aspires to the American life style, that was based on being the only major industrial country not in ruins after WWII. For a short time, we had the stay at home mom, whose family could live well on the husbands wages. That time is long gone, and real income for most Americans has remained flat for the last 30 years, while the upper 20% of earners have seen their incomes soar. With another 3 BILLION people due to join the world's population in the next 40 years, the likelihood is that instead of emerging countries eating like the industrialized countries, the industrialized countries will need to learn to eat like third world countries. Then, of course, there is the problem that a 1/3 of the worlds population, through no fault of their own, lives on $2/day, or less.
It gives small satisfaction, that in the future, as now, the best food you can get, is what you grow yourself. Faced with factory food, clean, fresh produce will only become more valuable, and if Monsanto has their way, more expensive to grow.
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- Billy

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In article

May be useful
<http://tinyurl.com/mmczq6
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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Maybe, maybe not.
Processed carbohydrates seem to be starving us of needed nutrients. Whole grain carbohydrates are better but far from perfect. Like da man said,"Eat more plants, mostly leafy ones, and a little meat."
http://www.environnement.ens.fr/perso/claessen/agriculture/mistake_jared_ diamond.pdf
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- Billy

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In article

While looking about for info on Chinese salads found
<http://chineseculture.about.com/library/symbol/
Salad yielded
<http://chineseculture.about.com/library/symbol/np/nc_salad.htm
Can't recall ever seeing A salad offering in local Chinese places but Japanese offer a variety. Suno Muno SP Cucumber Salad nice and fresh in area .
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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Wonder how the US will survive the current crisis given that China now owns nearly all American debt. The next few years could be interesting.
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wrote in message

i know you're in OZ, but do you know if it's difficult for Americans to emigrate to NZ (or OZ, as well)? lee <eyeing 709 hectacres in NZ)
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Yeah, but if they turn our money into trash, they turn their $TRILLION investment into trash. Not that we may not use hyper-inflation, like the Germans after WWI, to reduce the debt to insignificance.

Good luck Lee, but there is a reason why they call them multinationals. The "paid for" politicians, and the nations are expendable. You'll find them anywhere a buck is to be made.
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- Billy

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t.au:

oh, i know, but somehow 709 hectacres seems a bit more private than my current 62 acres... and i bet i could really see the stars out there, just different ones. lee
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Outside and inside not one not two. Wherever we are some old chinese guys might suggest working with what we have not trying force change just not resisting it. Sort of like letting a field go dormant for a year or two before I try to manipulate it. The stars are always out but floating in a black lake in Rhode Island after a sauna 11.00 PM it is easier to see. Some call that holiday .
Bill waxing as my kids have been about and my Dad will be here twice today. Not too bad.
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Almost 3 sq. miles for 62 acres? Oh, to be young again. Hell, I'd settle for another 20 years ;O) And you can do this in Oz or Kiwiland?
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Dunno about NZ - Pete Heubner would probably know something about that given that he migrated to NZ from Europe.
As for Oz, the only things I know are either anecdotal or what I read in the paper. In some ways we're like the US in that we have 'guest workers' from poorer countries but at the top end of the scale (either in terms of unique skills or large fortunes) we will take people. I'm guessing you might be in the middle of these two ends. Here's the place to start: http://www.immi.gov.au /
Anecdotal info is from two friends who have moved here - one a Canadian of 40 with a teenaged son and the other is a British woman who is retired and I guess could be described as being of "independent means".
The Canadian woman has enough money to put down a hefty deposit on a house but will need to work till retirement. She is having some problems but it looks like she'll be able to stay.
The British woman is here permanently as I think this might be because she will never be living off the government - ie she won't be asking for an Old Age Pension.
One thing that I know cold cause a problem for Oz immigration and probably NZ as well would be Boo's Autism. All migrants are subject to health checks and the possibility that children of the primary migrants may end up needing health care some time in the future after the parents shuffle off their mortal coil seems to be a problem.
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enigma wrote:

Dunno about EnZed. In Oz you are in if you bring either lots of $$$ or a vocational skill in demand. You are out if you are in poor health (we have approximately universal health care) or otherwise likely to be a drag on the public purse. Unless you are a refugee: do you come from a war zone or are you about to be garroted by a masked squad in the night?
As for 700 hectares it's available in many places. You can get it for a reasonable price if you don't mind that it is mostly bush or the rainfall is rather low or a long way from anywhere, or all of the above. If you want good soil and water you will pay big bickies. If you want good soil and water near civilisation you will pay very big bickies.
David
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