Science Questions

Do environmental models consider handling?

Sun, 21st Mar 2010

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Troy McLuhan, Second Life asked:

Peas are actually really heavy and hard to handle. They're Very dusty and the weight means that they need a specially reinforced grain bin to hold them.


Does this get factored into the environmental argument?


We put this to Claire Domoney from the John Innes Centre and Brian Thomas from Warwick University:

Claire -   I can say this isn't something weíve come across in the lab, so this is news to me, but yes.  It certainly sounds like an industrial problem that needs to be tackled.  This is just one of the markets, of course, because the vining and canning peas are harvested at the immature stage so we don't have that problem with those, but the combining peas for animal feed and for marrow fats, these are the edible export markets.  I guess thatís the problem thatís being refered to.  But as I said, itís not one I've come across.

Chris -   And Brian [Thomas], does this sort of thing get taken into account in models like yours? Obviously, itís easy to keep adding things but have we thought about how we get the crops in and how that may change in a warmer world?

Brian -   Not particularly in the work that weíve been doing.  But I guess there is a lot of work, looking at total carbon footprinting of production systems going on at the moment.  This would be one of the factors along with where you produce them and how you transport them around, and the logistics of that.  So this whole "total energy balance" of how we produce crops is a live issue at the moment.


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