Bee smart in farming
WITH all the bad news overseas and at home, it can leave one feeling a sense of helplessness and powerless to make change and feel there is some positivity left in the world.
This story came from a conversation I was having with a gentleman. He is looking at purchasing a farm and with that comes a change of lifestyle to become a farmer. He had done all the figures and felt confident to move forward in his new venture.
Here is where the story starts to become interesting. He mentioned the macca (macadamia) farm he wants to buy, and increase the yield that currently the property is experiencing.
The conversation didn't go into fertilizers, machinery or anything but working with bees.
He proceeded to then tell me how bees help pollinate the "macca" flowers to produce the nut. The bees that produce the most nuts are the native bee; yes the native bee (Tetragonula carbonaria).
The producers in the industry are now setting up native bee hives around the property to increase the yield of nuts, and to increase the native bee populations.
Before I go on, a word of caution; just putting some bee hives into a system also can have its pitfalls. The bees need to have a food supply, once the "maccas" have stopped flowering, they need to have water and have protection.
The wonderful thing here is the fact that farmers are seeing the balance of working with a natural system that has been around for millennia, that not only does it help their bottom line, but also works in supporting the decreasing native bee population.
It is a win-win situation. The unfortunate truth though is agriculture is actually "the" main industry that is causing most of the land degradation, desertification and extinctions in Australia and around our glorious planet. It far surpasses mining and urbanisation. It is unfortunate because the human population is growing and the pressure to grow more food and being more productive is becoming a major focus.
However the farm can be a sanctuary, and doesn't have to be a machine. Working with the natural processes is the opportunity to have high yields but also support the native bee that will in turn support the grower.
In my opinion we don't really have a choice as a species to go any other way.
What do you think?