Sunday, 7 July 2013

Day 20 Staying Local

This morning I headed down to Kendrick, the local town to have a look around at some of the shops and business that are present.  Rhonda Blair, Roberts wife drove and let me loose around the town!  There were lots of activity for a small town, population just over 300, with a public pool, a couple of bars, a hair salon, antique shops, fire station and a grocery shop.  I got chatting to the butcher in the grocery store who was telling me about the lack of good quality lamb available and how people here go hunting and butcher their own White Tailed Deer and Elk.  The wildlife here belongs to the people so as long as you have permission to go on the landowners property, and the game is in season it's fine to go hunting.
I stopped off at the local garage, which is for sale, to look at the vary array of slowly rusting vehicles, spare parts and the old bits of farm machinery.  The scene could have very easily been set in the 1970's.  
Later in the day I headed out with Robert, Dillon and Logan to the Dworshak Dam which was constructed over 4 years around 1973.  The dam produces hydro electric power and helps reduce winter snow melt causing flooding and is the biggest one in the western hemisphere that is flat.   6,600,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in the making of the dam, with crushers crushing 2,000T/hr.  It was a serious project.
After visiting the tourist attraction and learning about the Potlatch Log drive, which started in 1928 and finished with the construction if the dam, we headed back to the farm to have a look around the crops.  We found some lady bugs hard at work in spring wheat, searching for aphids.  There is a chance that some extra fertiliser will be applied using an aeroplane so an insecticide might be included for aphid control, depending on threshold numbers being reached.  The wheat was looking really well, with very little disease.  We looked at some of the variety trials that Robert has planted and looked in on some Garbanzo (Chickpeas) beans, a crop I know little about.
The sunshine and temperatures have been perfiect for grain filling here and with moisture 10 days ago, things look very nicely set up for a good harvest on the spring crops this year.  Time will tell and let's hope the hail storms keep away so that these crops can reach their full potential.


SusiB348 said...

Guess what. Ladybirds are insects too. How about not killing them? The aphids will feed a whole range of predators if not poisoned. Any beetle banks over there?

Jake Freestone said...

Hi SusiB348, I was very interested in your immediate attack on farmers on my blog with no provocation what so ever. I think that you are very misinformed and narrow minded in your views on agriculture, food production and the way we farm. The ladybird or lady bug IS the friend of the farmer, helping to control aphid populations within the crop, very often replacing the need to apply an insecticide at all, if the populations are low enough. When an insecticide is required there are those that are called 'selective insecticides' i.e. select the pest and not the natural predators. Perhaps you might consider support for biotech crops that are resistant to aphids or repel them, avoiding the need for insecticides at all. There are no specific beetle banks that you mention here but there is so much other 'un-farmed' space, wet patched, scab patches and canyon sides/gorges that they are not really required. I hope that helps clarify
a few points that you make and that you will pass this information on to your friends and colleagues in the bee world. Thanks for the comment.

SusiB348 said...

Fair enough. Your blog is fascinating, and I look forward to seeing your report.
Thank you for your considered reply, to my impulsive, and apparently badly received, comment about the proposed use of 'insecticide'. We farm a few acres, including spring wheat, and used sprays in the past on appropriate crops, but stopped using any insecticides 14 years ago to try and allow natural balances of prey and predators thereof to re-establish. At times, this has involved collecting breeding beetles from our lower fields and bringing them up the hill.
Sorry, but I don't have confidence in the 'selective' claims of the agrochemical companies - too many of their products have been found to have unexpected impacts elsewhere, especially on soil dwelling life. (Examples being neonics currently and bees - in Oregon and Ontario, and the impact of ivermectin on coprophilous organisms.) A thriving soil biology will assist the cropped plants repel pests and diseases without recourse to modification of DNA. Even if just the aphids are taken out of the local foodchain, the predators will then struggle. Insect eating birds are having enough of a battle here with the adverse weather - our summer visiting swallows (SW UK)on the farm have all lost their early broods and seemingly about half of the adults this year, due to cold and windy weather stopping the insects breeding. Current sunshine may help the survivors try again.
If you ever get the chance, please read 'Teaming with Microbes'. You are broad minded enough to find much of interest in it.