Poor Darla, poor Elsie

By Thomas Macauley on

“It now costs twice as much (about $45 per ton) to truck alfalfa from a Southern California farm to a dairy in California’s Central Valley as it does to ship it from Long Beach to Beijing”.
– WSJ editorial Peter Culp & Robert Glennon

Chinese dairy cows eat American hay. Trending to 380,000 metric tons for 2012, up from 177,433 metric tons in 2011 and 2,321 in 2007.

This is supposed to be equivalent in 2012 of exporting American water that could have supplied “annual needs of roughly 500,000 families”

Very interesting OpEd but I do not like having numbers thrown around that really cannot be used in debate.

Annual family vs percentage of water right
OTR truck vs Containership

Still, some arguments are valid:
– current water rights law encourages consumption not optimal allocation or preservation
– it would be more value to the US to export milk than exporting dairy cow food

My thoughts:
– It is not so easy to grow legal cattle in this country. Alfalfa is much less risky and less regulated.
– China is offering unfair competition for dairy producerrs and their subsidies will ulrumately crash. They will end up with too much alfalfa and too many cows much like they are ending up with stockpiles of other imported raw materials and empty infrastructures. China is creating, feeding, and buying Solyndras not Apples.


I wonder about the guar crop this year and wish I were a farmer who could exploit the need for guar in fracking

One comment

  1. By the way, comparing over the road trucking to ocean transit is not fair. Ocean transit has been very efficient for centuries. See the exploration of the Indies and Americas and canals and straights and naval power…

    Yes, though: the backhaul to China is less expensive than the export direction. I have heard since the ’80’s about the search for cargo to load in empty ships going from the US to China. Cortez came to the US with cannons, guns, and ammo and backhauled gold.

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