Category Archives: bees

3 Picks: GoSun Oven, Migratory Beekeeping, Kroger Saves

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) GoSun stove reinvents solar cooking: By Lloyd Alter. “The GoSun stove cooks your food in an evacuated tube, retaining almost 90% of the heat energy concentrated on it and reaching 550 degrees F in minutes. It is absolutely brilliant for a number of reasons, and is going to change the way we think about solar cooking…” This is a Kickstarter Project.

2) The Mind-Boggling Math of Migratory Beekeeping: By Ferris Jabr. “Some researchers, beekeepers and journalists have argued that migratory beekeeping is one of the primary reasons that so many bees die each winter as well as an explanation for colony collapse disorder (CCD)—the sudden and mysterious disappearance of an entire hive’s residents, save for the queen and a few stragglers. Bringing so many bees together all at once in Central Valley and other flowering sites guarantees that they will spread viruses, mites and fungi to one another as they collide midair and crawl over each other in the hives. Forcing bees to gather pollen and nectar from vast swaths of a single crop deprives them of the far more diverse and nourishing diet provided by wild habitats. The migration also continually boomerangs honeybees between times of plenty and borderline starvation.”

3) Companies Unplug From the Electric Grid, Delivering a Jolt to Utilities: By Rebecca Smith and Cassandra Sweet. “On a hill overlooking the Susquehanna River, two big wind turbines crank out electricity for Kroger Co.’s Turkey Hill Dairy in rural Lancaster County, Pa., allowing it to save 25% on its power bill for the past two years. Across the country, at a big food-distribution center Kroger also owns in Compton, Calif., a tank system installed this year uses bacteria to convert 150 tons a day of damaged produce, bread and other organic waste into a biogas that is burned on site to produce 20% of the electricity the facility uses. These two projects, plus the electric output of solar panels at four Kroger grocery stores, and some energy-conservation efforts are saving the Cincinnati-based grocery chain $160 million a year on electricity, said Denis George, its energy manager. That is a lot of money that isn’t going into the pockets of utilities….”

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.

3 Picks: Mob Grazing, Wild Bees, Magical Solution

Photo by Free Photo Fun @Flickr CC

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) Mob Grazing as a Tool: By Fae Holin. This is the cover story for the current (online) edition of Hay and Forage Grower magazine. It is an update to the North Dakota farmer’s successful use of multiple cover crops, no-till, and mob grazing which produces healthy soil microbes, soil which retains moisture, and reduces the need for fertilizer while increasing productivity…. “The producers I’ve talked to who I feel are doing it well are the ones saying, ‘I use it as a tool.’” A mob strategy “needs to be very elastic, very responsive to what you are seeing.” (See previous N.D. farmers post on b.p.a.) I was also happy to see this report out of Nebraska about similar studies being done there, funded with state lottery money.

2) How Wild Bees Will Save Our Agricultural System: By Hillary Rosner. This SciAm article will bring you up to speed on the whole bee situation, including the fact that the U.S. Army has become involved because bee health is a national food security issue. We need to focus on habitat for the health of ALL bees, not just one bee, the honeybee…. “M’Gonigle thinks the honeybee crisis could be “a kind of blessing in disguise” because “it forces us to think, ‘What are we going to do to keep our food production going?’ In the long term, it might be that we look back and say, ‘Wow, this was a good thing, a good way of getting us to reprioritize and start thinking about conservation of native species.’” As I watch a mix of honeybees and their wild cousins dart among purple flowers in one of Kremen’s hedgerows, it is easy to see what he means. Our entire modern-day agricultural system has grown up with honeybees, so we have never had to really consider the fact that relying on a single pollinator is probably not sustainable.”

3) Wave goodbye to global warming, GM and pesticides: This article out of Ireland was sent to me by a valued reader. One should never fall for magical solutions … or, first sentences like this one. I’m including this for entertainment purposes only…. “A GROUNDBREAKING new Irish technology which could be the greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough is set to change the face of modern farming forever. The technology – radio wave energised water – massively increases the output of vegetables and fruits by up to 30 per cent…”

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.