There has been so much doom and gloom in the farming business lately, it's nice to finally read a story where someone is doing something right.
A story appeared in the Associated Press today about an apple orchard in Clayton Township that is bringing a unique approach to their beetle problem.
Instead of using pesticides, this farmer, Jim Koan, is using hogs to patrol his apple orchards and eat fallen apples that contain the larvae of a very destructive beetle. The article claims that "Left in the orchard for three days, the pigs gobbled down 98 percent of the fallen apples. Tests showed virtually all the larvae were digested." This keeps the larvae from erupting and infesting more apples, which is what makes them fall.
A tree fruit pest-management specialist at Michigan State University, Dave Epstein, claims that "The little guys moved through like a pack of Hoover vacuums."
I love the last quote in the article where the farmer, Jim Koan says "I think if my granddad was alive today and he saw how excited I am about doing this and this information that we're gaining on this, he would just look at me and say, 'Jeez, you're stupid. You didn't know that?'" It's just goes to show you how FAR farms have gotten away from doing things the right way, and how they are slowly but surely coming back to their roots, understanding that the way their grandfathers and great grandfathers did things worked pretty well.
You can find the whole article online.