Thursday, August 28, 2008

STL Rising - Farm Report

The wet spring and summer gave farmers fits for early season planting. Predictions were that we'd see a low crop yield this year, adding to economic woes.

But the spring dried up enough for farmers to get a later start on corn planting, and the 2008 corn crop is looking like a record yield. Things may not be so rosy for the soy bean farmers.

An aquaintance of mine is a farmer in Southern Illinois. I asked him yesterday how things were looking for this year. He farms corn and soy beans.

He described the soy crop as "lots of bushy plants" but "few pods" and for the pods they have there are "few beans". So this doesn't sound like a weather problem. It sounds like a bee problem.

There is concern among scientists that the US is experiencing a serious reduction in the number of pollenating bees. In this busy world of presidential election cycles, global warming, war in the middle east, and a weak economy, maybe we should be thinking more about our friends, the tiny honey bee?


GMichaud said...

Yeah well I just got a notice from the forestry department. The last ten or fifteen feet of my yard I let grow up in experiments. The area is primarily mint, iris and wild onion. (a specimen poke plant, other flowering plants most people call weeds etc)

The bees have flocked to the wild onion (or garlic) in years past. I try to have a number of plants blooming at the same time (wild and cultivated).
I have recently seen some bees as the garlic since it just started blooming. But the point is, I guess the forestry department wants me to mow everything down.
I also use the area as a teaching place for my ten year old daughter also, (here is the poke plant, uses etc.)

So I think you can forget the bees, the Plant Gestapo will make sure of that.

Anonymous said...

"Plant Gestapo". That's pretty good. Don't they make a distinction between unmowed grass and garden/vegetable species? Appeal the case!

LisaS said...

we've noticed the same thing in our garden--lots of flowers, but except for the cherry tomatoes, little fruit. i.e., no cantalopes or zucchini.

michaud, we haven't had problems with the plant gestapo ... do you have picky neighbors??