Since the onset of spring, one kind of game-changing news after another has reached Iowa farmers. These announcements will affect the third of the state’s farmers who are struggling to control superweeds by using glyphosates and other herbicides.
New research revelations, government policy changes and farmers’ own dissatisfactions could radically alter both weed and pollinator management in the Midwest.
In 1996, World Wildlife Fund Mexico counted almost a billion monarch butterflies overwintering in the mountain forests of that country. By 2014 the number had plummeted to just 57 million, a decline of almost 94 percent.
The numbers were even lower the year before when only 34 million monarchs migrated to Mexico.
The monarch butterfly refuge in Mexico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is winter home to tens of millions of migrating monarchs, should be declared “in danger” because the remarkable transcontinental migration it was established to protect “is at risk of disappearing,” a group of Mexican, American and Canadian civil society and conservation organizations said in a petition today.
Monarch butterflies are — quite literally — a force of nature. They strike out each year by the thousands on a four-generation, 3,000-mile-long journey of pure instinct and faith.
They use both inherent and imprinted knowledge. They use subterfuge, placing their eggs on a plant that feeds their young caterpillars, but makes them poisonous and distasteful to predators. They use natural GPS.
U.S. regulators will put new restrictions on the world’s most widely used herbicide to help address the rapid expansion of weeds resistant to the chemical, Reuters has learned.
The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed it will require a weed resistance management plan for glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s immensely popular Roundup weed-killer.
Nancy Hayden filled many roles during the Northeast Organic Farming As¬sociation of Vermont’s (NOFA-VT) Winter Conference, on Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 14-16. Hayden has attended NOFA-VT’s annual gathering for 22 of its 33 years — as a farmer, workshop leader and artist.
This year, she was there as an exhibitor, for the first time. She prefers farming and painting over marketing.
As I listened to Marla Spivak discuss the plight and prospects of our honeybees on Monday evening, it occurred to me that I was watching a masterful application of Albert Einstein’s principle that complex matters should be made as simple as possible – but not simpler.
Most of us have grasped by now that honeybees are under pressure from multiple sources, with certain insecticides, habitat loss, parasites and disease in the leading roles.
North America forms the core of the monarch’s distribution but the overall range extends through Central America and the Caribbean to South America. Monarchs also occur in Hawaii, Australia, and several Pacific islands, as well as parts of Asia, Africa, and southern Europe (Zhan et al. 2014).
Several populations outside of the Americas appear to be nonnative, originating from introductions that are thought to have occurred in the 1800s (Vane-Wright 1993), but Zhan et al. (2014) suggests that introductions may have occurred much earlier.