Questions tagged [agriculture]

The science and/or practice of soil cultivation and farming

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
57
votes
5answers
11k views

Do beef farmed pastures net remove carbon emissions?

This viral image claims that an example beef farm with 130 cattle removes many tons of Carbon from the atmosphere every year. However it does not provide any sources. This image has been shared many ...
11
votes
1answer
535 views

Are a third of the proteins we consume dependent on synthetic fertilizer?

In July 1997, Vaclav Smil wrote an article in Scientific American on humankind's use of the Nitrogen Cycle (emphasis added): Synthetic fertilizers provide about 40 percent of all the nitrogen taken ...
13
votes
1answer
807 views

Does the USDA burn food every week?

In this recent Big Think video, The colossal problem with universal basic income, the presenter, Douglas Rushkoff, made a claim, at about the 40 second mark, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture ...
7
votes
1answer
877 views

Are hogs scalded alive in slaughterhouses?

I read that hogs are at times scalded alive during butchering in the United States: The killing line moves so quickly that some of the pigs are still conscious when they are dumped into the ...
6
votes
1answer
499 views

Is the majority of milk in industrialized countries obtained from pregnant cows?

There is conflicting information out there. On the one hand we often find simple claims like The majority of milk in industrialized countries is obtained from pregnant cows, which contains ...
5
votes
0answers
305 views

Was beer more important than food in the development of organised civilisation?

The conventional story of the origin of modern civilisation places the discovery of agriculture as a major turning point. And this, it is usually claimed, was because organised cities can't grow ...
14
votes
1answer
903 views

Does the Earth only have 60 years of harvests before the top soil is lost?

According to this 2014 Scientific American article by Chris Arsenault Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world's top ...
6
votes
0answers
192 views

Does commercially-produced cotton cloth contain unhealthy chemicals that cause fertility problems?

The article Czy Twoje ubrania Cię trują? "Wchłaniamy chemię przez skórę. Stąd np. problemy z płodnością" (Do your clothes poison you? "We absorb chemicals through the skin, hence, for example, ...
11
votes
1answer
729 views

Did the Neolithic Revolution increase infant mortality rates?

I was reading this article, and it's honestly better cited than a lot of things I read, but one of the claims it includes contradicts my expectations. Specifically, this claim: In the best-selling ...
7
votes
1answer
920 views

Were modern wheat varieties specifically selected because it was less nutritious?

I don't know if posting Twitter threads counts as a source, but this morning I saw this one on modern agriculture: https://twitter.com/wrathofgnon/status/955647499120726016 During the thread, it ...
5
votes
1answer
894 views

Does organic cotton use less water than conventional cotton?

In The Guardian's article Cotton production linked to images of the dried up Aral Sea basin, it's claimed that organic cotton uses less water than conventional cotton. “Conventional cotton (as ...
3
votes
1answer
449 views

Is whitewashing trees a good practice?

In some countries it's a common practice to whitewash the trunks of fruit trees in the spring and autumn. They say it protects them from sunburns and that the calx (CaO) acts as a disinfectant. But ...
3
votes
1answer
518 views

Is animal agriculture the leading cause of species extinction?

The cause of species extinction interests me. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a documentary that attacks the environmental damage caused by animal agriculture. Their facts page states (with ...
1
vote
0answers
332 views

The “10 bn people could be fed if everybody were vegan” claim [closed]

You hear it a lot. PETA claims it. Others claim it. The basic claim is that if everybody went vegan, we could feed 10 billion people. However this only takes into account that we are currently ...
3
votes
0answers
259 views

Can 3D ocean farms provide food and biofuel far more sustainably than other sources?

This article in The Nation contains an excerpt from “Ecological Redemption: Ocean Farming in the Era of Climate Change,” a lecture by Bren Smith given at the Thirty-Fifth Annual E. F. Schumacher ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Do yaks get shaved?

Many programmers have heard of the phrase yak shaving. In real life, do yaks literally get shaved? This answer to a question about shaving dogs has someone claiming that yaks do get shaved: ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Is animal agriculture responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation?

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all transportation combined. By http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/ from Fao.org. Spotlight: Livestock impacts on ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Do US farmers apply Roundup to non-GMO wheat crops 7-10 days before harvest?

This article makes the claim that: Standard wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Have farmers been sued because Monsanto seeds are blowing into their fields?

This article argues that small farmers are being hurt because Monsanto are allowed to sue farmers whose fields are found to contain crops grown from Monsanto seeds when royalties were not paid. Many ...
14
votes
0answers
13k views

Is rice water a good fertilizer?

When rice is washed, the wash water becomes whitish due to the starchy powder in the skin of unwashed rice. I've often heard or read, usually in water-saving, money-saving, or gardening tips, that the ...
26
votes
1answer
5k views

Would humans starve if spiders disappeared?

In this Washington Post article, Norman Platnick of the American Museum of Natural History is quoted as saying the following: If spiders disappeared, we would face famine. Spiders are primary ...
24
votes
3answers
970 views

Are people dying of starvation because we cannot produce enough food?

I have been watching a BBC documentary Botany: A Blooming History - Episode 3 Hidden World In it, (at ~51m35s) Timothy Walker, the presenter, says: ...Certainly there may be risks attached to ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Are green potatoes unhealthy to eat?

I have been told that green (unripe) potatoes are poisonous and that this is "common knowledge". I doubt there are any chemical properties in these potatoes that could cause any harm. AFAIK, potatoes ...
10
votes
1answer
745 views

Is buying organic vs. conventional products better for the environment?

From http://www.goldengatexpress.org/2013/04/07/true-organic-food-benefits-environment-sustainability/: Another reason to choose organic products is that the environmental footprint attached to ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Does human survival depend on bees?

I see several websites claiming that without bees, mankind will be extinct in four years. Does human survival depend on bees? Citing Albert Einstein's saying to the effect that mankind would ...
5
votes
1answer
805 views

Was Roscoe Filburn ordered to destroy his crops?

The Wikipedia article on Wickard v. Filburn claims that: Filburn was ordered to destroy his crops... Numerous other sources also claim this, including two that I would normally consider reliable. ...
29
votes
3answers
13k views

Does United States throw wheat in the ocean to keep the prices high?

In Iran, there is a wide-spread belief that the USA throws extra wheat it produces into the ocean to keep the prices high. The official website for Iranian presidential office [Persian] quotes ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Can Tifton 85 grass produce cyanide gas?

Today I read something quite unexpected: Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle. [...] ...
8
votes
2answers
788 views

Are farmers' lunar almanacs effective?

Lunar farmers' almanacs are calendars which give advice on agriculture based on the phase of the moon. One such example is this site: The Farmers Almanac Gardening by the Moon Calendar is ...
15
votes
1answer
5k views

Are there more mushrooms during full moon?

A couple of autumns back, I frequently went wild mushroom forraging, initially with my Basque father-in-law, who I think had been mushrooming pretty much all his life. He explained and showed how ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Does organic food have less heavy metal contamination than non-organic food?

Watching CBS morning news on December 6, 2011, it was claimed a way to reduce heavy metal consumption (especially inorganic arsenic) was to buy organic food. the CBS website has the clip here, the ...
29
votes
1answer
917 views

Do scarecrows scare crows?

I often see the scarecrows in private fields and gardens, with crows sitting on them. Are they just a tribute to tradition or they really work in some way?
35
votes
2answers
13k views

Does planting during different lunar phases affect growth?

I have recently had some potatoes that were said to benefit from being planted at an advantageous time because of the lunar cycle. I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently "it is quite ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Has selective breeding increased the sugar level of fruits?

It has been claimed that selective breeding has resulted in fruit that is high in sugar and just as bad as eating candy. Examples: They have selectively bred fruit trees to much higher (...
12
votes
1answer
198 views

Is demand for biofuels causing degredation of the environment in third world countries?

Is there any evidence that demand for ethanol and other biofuels in the west is causing lasting environmental damage to third world countries. Furthermore is this demand also taking away valuable ...
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Are crop circles man-made?

Every summer in England crop circles make the news for a few days. But journalists never really attempt to "solve" the question of who is responsible. source Are crop circles man-made? How?
35
votes
4answers
6k views

Can we grow enough crops to feed all people on Earth?

Vegetarianism is heavily promoted. But let's say all people on Earth stop eating animal products. Can we grow enough crops so all people on the Earth are provided with enough healthy, nutritious food? ...