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What the other media write about agri

The consumer (mass) media often write about agriculture and food production. I always enjoy reading these type of articles and have therefore selected a few remarkable ones to share with the All About Feed readers.

EXPERT

Technologist turned restaurateur, Kimbal Musk (yes, brother of Elon Musk) shares his insights on some of the future food trends in an Washington Post article. The journalist Steven Overly wrote about Musks speech he gave at the World Future Society’s annual summit. Musk is a strong proponent of vertical farming, by which crops are grown in tall stacks under LED lights inside massive indoor facilities. He said: “When future generations eventually inhabit the moon, vertical farming may be how people eat fruits and veggies there.” The article also quotes Musk as saying that he is much more enthusiastic about plant-based meat products, as he is questioning whether the lab-grown variety is something consumers will ever trust.

In 2013, researchers from the Netherlands unveiled a burger made entirely from lab-grown stem cells. Musk questions whether such products will be accepted by consumers. Photo: PopSci.com
In 2013, researchers from the Netherlands unveiled a burger made entirely from lab-grown stem cells. Musk questions whether such products will be accepted by consumers. Photo: PopSci.com

The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reports on the introduction of the ‘pasture coach’ for dairy farmers. Apparently this is needed for some farmers, who have used an indoor system for years and now have decided to go back to outdoor grazing again. Dutch website Foodlog further states: Dairy farmers, who have decided to go for outdoor grazing (due to consumer sentiment, environmental impact and the subsidies involved) note that their modern, high producing cows don’t like to be sent outdoors when it rains (and it does rain a lot in the Netherlands), when it is too hot, when there are too many flies or when the grass is not tasty enough or doesn’t have the right length. In addition, the cows need to get used to picking up grass with their tongue. A skill they seem to forget when housed indoors. This is where the coaches come in. They assist the farmers with pasture management plans for example.

A typical Dutch scene of cows grazing outdoors. In 2014, 69% of the Dutch cows were grazed outdoors (this is 1.1 million animals). Photo:  Wick Natzijl
A typical Dutch scene of cows grazing outdoors. In 2014, 69% of the Dutch cows were grazed outdoors (this is 1.1 million animals). Photo: Wick Natzijl

I went to see the movie BFG the other day, as Roald Dahl has been my favourite writer throughout my whole childhood. Then I saw that the BBC reported that a farmer has created the "biggest ever" image of the BFG in his maize field. How nice! Farmer Edward Gowler from Cambridgeshire in the UK has cut 1.8 miles (3km) of pathways in a 12 acre (4.85 hectare) field of maize to make the artwork. “2016 marks 100 years since Roald Dahl’s birth and I wanted to pay my tribute to the centenary celebrations that are taking,” he said. I guess this is also a tribute to maize!

The newspaper China Daily gives a nice overview of the ‘curiosities in agriculture’. One item in the list is quite interesting and useful I believe. The biotech firm Taiwan Advance Bio-Pharmaceutical in Taipei has developed a range of low-cost test kits that can detect antibiotics in milk and ractopamine in pork. Designed for personal use, the kit hopes to help consumers keep fear at bay amid food safety scandals and relaxed restrictions for meat imports. The firm is now developing an app that lets users share test results for businesses. Data can be uploaded to the cloud and shared to create a map of “safe” restaurants.

A mobile app under development, which allows users to share and search for the ractopamine test results of local businesses. Photo: Shutterstock
A mobile app under development, which allows users to share and search for the ractopamine test results of local businesses. Photo: Shutterstock

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