Friday, August 10, 2018
Soybeans are one of Arkansas' top crops. They're having a bad year. And it just got worse.
The poor plant is under attack from multiple fronts. First, tariffs.
Tariffs, and the threat of tariffs, and retaliation for the threat of tariffs, seem to be a never-ending dance in which everyone loses. We're not sure what the ultimate goal is.
And now, introducing something called nematodes. Nematodes are parasitic worms measured in micrometers (that is, they're really small). They've lived in the soil of eastern Arkansas for hundreds of years, and according to Talk Business and Politics, they're especially damaging to high-yield soybean fields.
Talk Business goes on to report there's not much defense against the parasites; soybeans have no resistance to them. There's a chemical called Telone II that helps, but it's expensive because the treatment has to be placed in the soil before the soybeans are planted. And planting season was months ago.
The Arkansas Farm Bureau says soybeans are Arkansas' top agricultural export to the tune of more than $1.5 billion a year (150 million bushels).
We figure tariffs will probably be the easier of the two problems to tackle. After all, nematodes survived the Space Shuttle Columbia crash in 2003. If the worm can survive unprotected re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, it must be a hardy opponent. And it's going to take more than Sevin Dust to shoo it away.
Editorial on 08/10/2018
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