One of the best-known and most-popular episodes of the original “Star Trek” series deals with tribbles, a small, furry creature that breeds and multiplies dangerously fast.
In the episode, their numbers have grown so much that they’re overrunning the Enterprise. The exasperated Capt. Kirk orders them removed from his ship. Series regular Lt. Uhura protests, saying, in effect, that tribbles provide love. Kirk shakes his head wearily and says, “Too much of anything, even love, isn’t necessarily a good thing.”
I thought of tribbles when working on the Nov. 16 Agweek cover article. It looks at research that makes the case for crop diversity, for mixing in a few other crops to the basic corn-soybean rotation. Doing so helps fight weeds, insects and crop disease, and can enhance soil enhance.
Yeah, corn and soybeans are great crops, America’s most important and prominent crops. But too much of anything, even corn and soybeans, isn’t necessarily a good thing.
The key question, of course, is how much is too much? The answer varies from area to area — what’s best in, say, Iowa, won’t be best in northern North Dakota — and even from farm to farm. Good farmers, and just about everybody who’s left in farming is good at it, will study the research and make the right decision for their individual operation. As one corn and soybean producer told me, farmers adopt — but it doesn’t happen overnight.
Drop me a line if you have any thoughts about crop diversity. And let me know if “The Trouble with Tribbles” is your favorite Star Trek episode.