Talk:Monoculture

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The "agriculture" section of this article seems to be lacking in neutrality. It essentially reads that monoculture is awesome, has "great yields," and is a "success." I am pretty sure there are some negatives associated with monoculture agriculture, such as nutrient depletion, but I am not sure. --User:Mlhwitz 19:12, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Did you read the article? it does say there is greater drain on soil nutrients and that there can be problems with pathogens....it could use some more info on both of those topics though, so go ahead and add any info you can. Hardyplants 00:36, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

It is just that I have always heard the term used in a negative context. So I was surprised to see 95% positive and only 5% bad. I did some looking today on the specifics of soil nutrient depletion, and it seems like it deserves more than a sentence. I need a little more time though (not my area). mlhwitz 01:51, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


Anthere,

Thank you for your excellent edits to this page.

However, I did note that your removed the statement that the term "monoculture" is pejorative. I believe that it is, based on the fact that I have not encountered any nonpejorative use of it either in literature or in spoken English. Those who use growing techniques involving a single-species crop do not use the term.

Kat 17:28 13 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Interesting. You probably are right more than me. That is interesting because it is a very commonly used word in french, and not pejorative in the least. Curious.

OK :-) Ant

Officially, we use "monoculture" for one species culture, "polyculture" or "multiculture" for several species but no animals, and "polyculture-élevage" for a farm dealing with crops and cattle/pigs/sheeps...official terminology, used by farmers as well as govt agencies or corporations.

Which words do you use then ? In particular, which word do you use to describe monoculture if monoculture is not the one used ?

User:Anthere

The term continuous corn is used where corn (maize) is planted more than one year in a row in the same location. Permanent pasture is used for pasture areas that are not plowed down and planted to grain crops periodically.

would continuous crop be right for a general terminology then ?

These are the only two land uses that are common in my area that do not involve periodic rotation (except perhaps timber production, orchards, and other woody agriculture).

A farm that raises only grain (no animals) is usually called either a "cash grain farm", "cash crop farm", or sometimes just "crop farm" or "grain farm". Grain farms that raise only corn are rare, since the practice is usually accompanied by dairy cattle.

oki

There is no special term in common use for farms that have both livestock and grain.

this explain why I never found it :-) It is very curious. We use that way to differenciate farming system a lot. In particular for economical studies.

There are some examples of the terminology in the farm business management page at http://www.mgt.org or at http://www.nass.usda.gov

In my area, Corn-soybean rotations are the most common, followed by corn-soybeans-oats-alfalfa, where the alfalfa is underseeded with the oats and harvested for several years following the seeding year. Some operators leave out the beans and rotate corn-oats-alflafa. There is some continuous corn, mainly by dairy operators that need the silage, and there are a few corn-soybeans-oats rotations used for erosion control on sensitive sites. There is some permanent pasture and some more or less permanent grass hay, and a little bit of rotational grazing on alfalfa that is in rotation with corn and soybeans. There is some sweet corn, green peas, and edible green beans that are grown for commercial canning and freezing, that is fit into the rotation wherever it works.

Areas with less rainfall are more wheat-oriented, and there are a variety of three year and four year rotations used for that.

Kat 18:17 13 Jun 2003 (UTC)

We don't grow much soybeans here. Not the good soil/climate. My country main crops are wheat, corn, barley and rape. Wheat everywhere, with some hard wheat for italian pasta in the south. Silage corn in the north and east, grain corn in the center and south. Barley and rape everywhere except south. We also grow continuous rice (with bulls for corrida) in the south west. Potatoes and beets in the north. Sun flower in the south. Leguminous everywhere I guess. A lot of intensive dairy cattle about everywhere except in the center and north, where a lot of continuous cropping is practiced (wheat/wheat or corn/corn). Pigs and poultry in the west (very intensive, hence all the rivers around are polluted by nitrogen). Meat cattle in the east and center.
Around here, we have the 4 classical crops in the plain. Wheat mostly as winter crop. Barley as winter or spring crop, for cattle and beer, Rape either for grain (cattle feed, oil and green diesel) or for winter cover to limit nitrogen runoff (a major issue in the whole country), and silage/grain corn (irrigated).

we also grow chestnuts, apples, lentils, garlic and vine (?) though in truth the wine is not very good :-)
As you climb the mountains, the corn disappears and you find many permanent pastures and forests. The main production of the area is very extensive livestock on grass, for meat and cheese mostly, not milk. You may find cattle races named Aubrac [1], Charolaise [2], Limousine [3] et Salers [4], sheep and goats. Ref your comment about animal feed, these are outside in the pasture most of the year. Very rustic races. The farmers in the mountain buy the silage and the rape of the farmers in the plain. We are not self sufficient for protein though, hence we buy your soybeans :-). Very little monoculture around, but this is maybe one of the last place in the ecoregion. Your picts are good. The landscape around the jeep suits me :-)

defend the nexus![edit]

destroy the monoculture! mnemonic 05:19, 2004 Jun 20 (UTC)

Forests[edit]

This seemed somewhat out of place and debatable (forests are very diverse compared to monocultures):

  • Some native areas, such as climax forests, show remarkably little species biodiversity. These areas are the exception rather than the rule, however.

--Erauch 01:41, Mar 27, 2005 (UTC)

Agreed, considering that Climax community is, according to its article, "an outdated ecological term," and does not describe any decrease or limitations in diversity. Hyacinth 02:06, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Sociology section[edit]

The sociology section has few issues that should be addressed. The following statement makes claim that should be sourced:

Some argue that the modern ideas of political correctness and enforced multiculturalism will inevitably spawn a global monoculture, pointing as evidence to the fact that in every historical society where two or more cultures have been put together and made to integrate, they invariably form a monoculture.

Since the section defines monoculture as it relates sociology as "wearing, doing, seeing, reading, watching, and thinking the same thing" it would seem that multiculturalism (encouraging interest in many cultures within a society rather than in only a mainstream culture.) wold be anti-monoculture. If we going to leave this in, it should be sourced. Also the claim that "in every historical society where two or more cultures have been put together and made to integrate, they invariably form a monoculture" needs to be sourced. --Cab88 07:48, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Every time I run into this word, it isw used pejoratively, frequently by an "effete snob" who is complaining about fast food, TV, and fashions.


Is the Bible against Polyculture?[edit]

I remember from that West Wing episode that the Bible is against "planting different crops side by side". Does that mean the Bible is against polyculture? I think the relevant chapter and verse is Lev 19:19.--212.139.197.137 12:39, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

First of all, I wouldn't take anything from the West Wing without checking the actual bible for it, and secondly, I doubt that the idea is actually literal anyway. -Kingpin —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.183.176.163 (talk) 02:11, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

The bible is against many things which were thought to be bad at the time of its writing, from eating unclean animals to stoning nonbelievers. It could well be against polyculture but that does not make it any sorth of authority on the subject. 69.134.147.86 (talk) 01:18, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

definition[edit]

When you google "Define: Monoculture" almost every definition shows as either single or one type. Mono means one, yet this article says "describes systems that have very low diversity". KAM 22:50, 18 April 2007 (UTC) I think the point is that only one species is cultured (ie wheat or spruce etc), but the system as a whole is still likely to include other species which are considered weeds and will be targeted for removal if they will harm growth or harvesting of the cultured species. Derek Andrews 16:06, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

grape culture as monoculture[edit]

I'm not sure that Phylloxera is a good example of catastrophic crop failure due to monoculture. Although it was a case where all the grapevines were one species, there were many cultivars involved. Nor was the problem solved by replacement with new cultivars or a more diverse range of cultivars. Rather the susceptible cultivars had to be grafted to new rootstocks that were from the native range of the pest (or hybrids).


Southern corn leaf blight about 1970 is the classic example of large-scale crop failure due to widespread planting of a single cultivar that I can think of, and would be far more suitable than phylloxera as an example. I don't have time to look up the references and add this in at the moment but will try and get around to it if nobody else does in the meantime. Solanum dulcamara 11:30, 23 August 2007 (UTC)


Comment placed in article[edit]

I am moved by this comment that was placed in the article to the talk page:

less waste??? Read Omnivore's Dilemma. I think you'll change your mind. Polyculture is actually A ::LOT less wasteful than monoculture. And it doesn't drain the soil and deposit chemicals into the ::surrounding area and water.

This is not correct, any intensive plant culture will drain the soil of nutrients because you are removing nutrients when you harvest the crop and moving the crop to market for consumption. 01:58, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Monoculture more ecological than polyculture[edit]

Perhaps it can be mentioned that polyculture is more bad to the environment in the way that it requires the soil to be conditionized for all crops. Making the soil more suitable for a single crop (thus not fertilizing with all the types of nutrients and making the pH neutral) keeps weed out as more weeds are capable on growing on too rich and/or basic soils.

Having the soil suitable to 1 crop (eg making the soil very acid still allows and even benefits growing of blueberrry but reduces weed growth) Eventually, the soil can be used intermittently to allow the soil to recover after a few years

Include section and info in article —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.182.175.118 (talk) 15:51, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Disease[edit]

Added section on how monocultured crops are generally more susceptable to a disease when one strikes, as they are all genetically identical so have the same resistance/lack of resistance.Philman132 (talk) 11:15, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually they are a lot less susceptible to disease. What you mean is when a disease strikes it is more damaging. On average disease is far less of a problem than it used to be, in terms of total output, even if you factor in potential complete crop failures. The problems come from issues like: if a farmer loses 33% of his crop every year to disease, he gets a field 50% bigger than he needs, and disease is no problem. If he gets 100% yield for 2 years, and then 0% in the third year (losing exactly the same amount of crop over that time period), he is likely to starve unless he is well prepared for it. This is obviously more true looking at entire countries/continents. Even worse of course, is a number of years of much higher crop yields will tend to allow the population to increase (double or more in many countries). --Sfnhltb (talk) 14:38, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that is what I said in the article. Although usually engineered to resist current diseases, when a new one springs up, or aquires new charicteristics, it can destroy an entire years woth of crops if they are all genetically identical, such as the Wheat rust has been thretening to do.Philman132 (talk) 14:42, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Merger Proposal: Monoculture and monocropping[edit]

Since both terms describe essentially the same thing, why have two articles with divided info?

I suggest the terms are used interchangeably and the articles are merged.Rickproser (talk) 11:42, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I just ran across these two articles (Monoculture and monocropping), and agree that they should probably be merged unless someone has a counterargument. I am unsure of which should be the merge target, but will start with the proposal that monocropping be merged to this article as we already have a polyculture article and it would make sense to keep a similar wording. I'll add a merge tag.Dialectric (talk) 22:13, 7 August 2014 (UTC)