Tag: wheat

On the Bright Side: The Interactive Effects of Elevated CO2 and Phosphorus Supply on Three Cereals

Phosphorus (P) is an important macronutrient necessary for plant photosynthesis. When present in sufficient quantities, it has been shown to benefit plants by stimulating the formation of oils, sugars and starches, fostering rapid tissue growth and development, increasing stalk and stem strength, improving resistance to disease, enhancing crop quality, aiding flower and seed production, and benefiting a host of other growth- and development-related factors and processes. Out in the real world, however, P availability is often limited. Consequently, plants have developed multiple adaptive mechanisms (morphological, physiological and molecular) to help them cope with P insufficiency (Pi).

Despite such adaptive mechanisms, there are concerns that Pi will increase in the future as atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise. This hypothesis is based upon the recognition that elevated CO2 stimulates plant photosynthesis and growth. Such stimulation, however, is expected to require additional amounts of P in order for plants to sustain the projected CO2-induced growth enhancements. Otherwise, if P is limiting in the growth medium, or if plant adaptive mechanisms cannot compensate for the increased P demand, the growth benefits of CO2 enrichment may be reduced, and possibly wholly overcome, by Pi.

That’s Quite a Multiplier

Via Cato’s Director of Government Affairs, Brandon Arnold, comes this [$] bold claim by the National Journal’s Congress Daily (although, to be fair, they are just quoting the study):

U.S. wheat promotion programs increase sales more than programs for other grains and agricultural products, according to an analysis of wheat export programs released this week.

The study by Cornell University professor Harry Kaiser showed that for every dollar spent on wheat promotion, U.S. producers get $23 back in increased net revenue, Kaiser told U.S. Wheat Associates, which commissioned the study.

With that sort of return on “investment”, the U.S. government should devote all of its revenue to wheat promotion as an ultra-quick revenue raising measure. Right after they’ve bought the swampland in Florida that the U.S. Wheat Associates has to sell them.

Alternatively, since it is such a great deal, perhaps U.S. Wheat Associates should pick up all of the tab for the program, instead of saddling U.S. taxpayers with half the cost.