Refractometer analysis of fruit juice

CSI Throne Farm

Attention to detail

The forensic science and quirky storylines of CSI New York give it the rare accolade of being an American TV series that holds the attention of our whole family.

At times it reminds me of the lengths that we take to try and scientifically understand the workings of our farm, but is this really a strong comparison? Where are the criminals to justify a forensic approach and what extent of scientific intervention is relevant to a balanced faming approach?

Ordeal by water was used in the 16th – 17th Century to unjustly condemn women as witches if they floated or to death if they sunk. At times farming can serve similar poor odds but thank goodness a greater sense of justice has prevailed. However you cannot argue that crime prevention is the best option, in spite of the rigorous approach to crime resolution.

Management placebo?

Our modern scientific farm armoury includes Electro conductivity soil mapping, soil, foliar & foliar testing and infrared scanning. Sometimes the only difference is that we don’t wear white lab coats though we do agonise for hours over results to devise fertiliser and spray programmes only to be foiled by our arch enemy, the weather.

I often think that there is an element of management placebo in wanting to test, prove and react to farming challenges, indeed how many times have we regretted an intervention that solves one issue but antagonises a new problem? However it is important that we have a benchmark to give us a starting point for understanding our farm.

Identity parade line up?

So who are the criminals in this conspiracy?, very possibly it is those that encourage the commercialisation of the agricultural industry to further interests in chemical sales and genetic controls? The more they intervene, the more savvy we have to become with our own scientific testing to rectify the changes.

In farming we have to accept the need to tame nature to prevent a return to becoming “hunter gatherers” but we can facilitate more “natural prevention” as opposed to “scientific resolution”.

Testing for all

In the near future, everyone will be able to make their own forensic examination of the food they buy.

If claims about the SCiO scanner are true, not only will it be an invaluable tool in helping us grow nutrient dense food, but consumers will be able to see for themselves what they are buying. We may finally be able to escape from the clutches of the “black art of marketing” and there will be nowhere to hide for energy rich, nutrient poor foods! The only thing is, I don’t think going shopping wearing a White Lab coat is going to take off!