Monday, May 19, 2008

Peak Oil and Potatoes

Potato yield appears to be around 300 cwt/acre. Cwt stands for ‘hundred weight’, which is 100 pounds in America. There are 278 calories in a 299 gram potato. 1 gram equals 0.0022 pounds so 299 grams is two thirds of a pound.

Thus, one acre of potatoes yields:

(300cwt / acre) * (100 pounds / cwt) * (278 calories/.67 pounds)
= 12 million calories

A human eats around 2,000 calories per day; or 730,000 calories per year.

Thus, one acre can feed sixteen people. Which means that I’m cutting it close.


George said...

(Bill: I took a shower break, and now can't remember if I actually sent this comment in. If I did, delete this second one, if I didn't, please publish it, and then note the epiphany I have come to over at Rivrdog).

...and you can make vodka with the rest of them when you get tired of eating them.

As I see it, after Peak Oil, Depression, economic collapse, whatever you want to call it, I prefer the End Times, there will be gold as a monetary system, if any exists at all. The problem is small change. How do you make change for an American Eagle which might be worth $10-100K? I have seen one suggestion that follows current practice in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they're living through a governmental collapse and seem to be faring OK, and that is to exchange your coins for gold chain (now, while you still can), and then you can snip off links and sell them by the gram.

Another suggestion is ammunition, which, in popular calibers, will be useful to everyone, is portable, and divides easily. I imagine one potato will be worth one to three .223 or 7.62X39 cartridges.

Most folk will barter in some way, but if you're trying to run a business, you bartering has to be both accountable and simple to manage.

Just something to think about for the End Times.

Bill said...

Hi George, thanks for the comment.

The answer is simple. Buy Buffalos as they are not alloyed with strengthening metals so you can cut them into pieces.

If one 7.62-39 round buys one .667 pound potato and one potato has 278 calories, I’ve only got three years worth of 7.62-39. I think I’ll buy some more.