A lot of North Dakotans — including me — have been wondering about the multitude of white butterflies flying around, often near ditches and canola fields.
Janet Knodel, North Dakota State University Extension Service entomologist, says she’s received many calls and emails about the butterflies and whether they’re an insect pest.
Not to worry, she says in the latest edition of the NDSU Crop and Pest Report.
The butterflies belong to the insect family Pieridae and to the group called Sulphurs and Whites, which are usually white or yellow in color. At least 14 species of the group occur in North Dakota, she says.
The cabbage butterfly can be an occasional garden pest. but is typically not an inspect pest of canola, she says.
North Dakota leads the nation in canola production.
“Enjoy the beautiful butterflies.”
I have many bad memories involving barley. No, no, not for the reason you might be thinking. Being extremely allergic to barley and growing up a family farm that raised it isn’t exactly a good combination.
Even so, it’s given me no pleasure to watch barley, once one of North Dakota’s most common crops, lose acres in the state for years. Other crops are just more profitable for many farmers to grow.
My cover story in the Aug. 22 issue of Agweek takes a look at barley’s changing role.
Here’s something to consider now that the area’s barley harvest is under way:
A North Dakota farmer who grows barley mentioned to me recently that one bushel of barley provides enough of the crop for 570 cans of light beer. At current malt barley prices, barley accounts for about a penny of the cost of a can of light beer, he says.
His larger point, of course, is that farmers typically receive only a fraction of what consumers pay for most food products.
Here are two basic truths about agriculture in this part of the country:
– No two growing seasons are ever quite the same.
– Even the smartest farmer can’t be sure of how much a field will yield until he’s actually harvesting it.
Those two truths are particularly relevant this crazy summer. Some fields look very good. But late plantings, drown-out, hail, heavy rains, high winds and crop disease hurt the outlook overlook.
Every early August brings uncertainty. But in all the years I’ve been involved with area agriculture, I can’t remember another August with so much of it.