Saturday, October 31, 2009

The corruption of research in Agriculture.

This week Cubbie Station was placed in voluntary administration. The news story blamed drought, but I say it's simply too much debt.

Below is a thread that developed in the comments.

30 Oct 2009 9:42:26am
Yes, I think the governments of the eastern states, south Australia, and federal government should combine financial resources and buy the property, then set in motion a plan to dismantle the disgusting symbol of damn you Jack, I'm alright.

Cubbie is described as an icon of farming, it is nothing more than an icon of gluttony and greed.

Irrigators, not only at the top end of the Murray Darling system, but further south in areas linked to and a part of the Liverpool Plains are continuing with the old farmers attitude of "what is yours is mine, and what is mine is my own", to the detriment of Australias long term welfare. The disadvantage of long term destruction of our river systems can never be outweighed by short term profits and serf type employment for unskilled locals.

Australia needs to adopt a cultural revolution, with regard to its long term farming practices, and the attitudes of the delusionary agrarian socialists benefitting from the rape of our country.

30 Oct 2009 10:32:46am
So are you saying all water should be reserved to the cities and none to the land (& people) on which the rain actually falls.

There is a sensible mild ground here some where. I suggest you read the Queensland water reg and see if the sound reasonable for farmers. I've read & done the calculations for one property. As they stand they are still draconian (but less draconian the the last version).

At one stage the law assumed droughts only lasted one year. One failed summer monsoon meant new dams were dry for February to November of the second year of a drought!

It needs to be remembered that Cubbie is one of a kind (in Queensland). These cowboys found a loop hole is the old laws. The law was immediately replaced and after 20 years still hasn't found a workable middle ground.

30 Oct 2009 11:04:57am
Not by a long shot Gnoll, the city dwellers need to realise water harvesting is an advantage too.

Cubbie as an example of gross misuse, for short term financial gain, should be utilised as an education tool on not what to do, with regard to farming practices in the fragile inland.

Organisations around my locality are advertising regularly of schools for farmers and irrigators to attend educational courses on land care, to become long term carers of their holdings, not rapacious floggers of the land, as has been past practice. The very fact these government sponsored advertisements solicit the farming community to attend indicates the failure of their past practices.

Like everything, it, our land and natural water resource, will evolve, revolve or dissolve. The attitude and past practices will only hasten our fertile fragile inland resources to the point of decimation.

I think Cubbie itself is a bad thing. Too much water taken out in one place.

But I will take exception to the general outlook about farmer as backward & the latest science is the answer. Sounds a little like Moa's re-education camps.

For starter you have just got to look at past advice to farmers to know that at least some of it is wrong. Some advice just plan contradicts other or past advice. As the Scientific American once said “today's scientific truth is tomorrow's earlier scientific dogma". Often research get applied way outside situations that the research is relevant to.

A problem with agricultural science in Australia is that it's become captive to vested interests.

General publicly funded bodies have had their funding largely diverted to global warming research. A good cause, but shouldn't it be additional research funding that doesn't steal from other environment and industry specific efforts.

In grower funded research, vested interest appear to have gained a controlling 'influence' on research budgets. Research that isn't in their interests doesn't get done. It appears that fertiliser companies are blocking research in non chemical approaches to maintaining and improving soils, for example.

Basically, at least some of the research that farmers want done, isn't getting done!

At the state level, governments have pulling resources out of real research and are selling asset like research station land & intellectual property rights as they can.

Farmers have to live with the real results of changes in technology and practice. It's an evolution process. There are many changes/mutations that could take place. Farmer have to select the ones to go with. Make a poor selection and the environment kills you, natural selection at work. People get cautious when real or economic death is involved. To openly accept advice from players who don't have skin in the game is to increase risk. Research needs to build a track record before it will be widely accepted.

I want to sight this ABC story about interference in scientific publishing as a example of vested interest (political or business) influence and the impact it can have on the quality of govt advice.