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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mono-cropping, mono-thinking, mono-brow.

Plantain. It's a beautiful plant and has an important place in any diverse pastoral system. It's valuable to livestock and young calves especially will seek it out and devour it enthusiastically. Organic farmers encourage the inclusion of plantain in a mixed 'herbal-ley' pasture and rightly so, it's sound agricultural practice. Most dairy farmers grow a monocultural ryegrass pasture for their cows. perhaps with a clover addition, but essentially, ryegrass. That's unwise, according to organic/biological farmers. A multitude of species in pasture ensures animal health. Monocultures lead to disease and pest outbreaks, as well as nutrient deficiencies in stock.
North Island farmers have taken note of the organic farmers interest in plantain and have planted plantain. But they've planted it alone, as a monoculture. Fields of plantain.
What could go wrong?
Well, there's this moth. It's a native moth. It lays its eggs on...plantain. Now, North Island farmers are facing a plague of Expyaxa roseria, the plantain-loving native moth, and are throwing their hands up in the air in disbelief! What happened???
Quite a puzzle isn't it?
Somethings amiss but we can't quite put our fingers on it...

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