............................Herders water camels at one of the few remaining watering holes near Bandarero, Kenya. Photo: Rita Maingi/ OCHA.
Shelter belts for water control as well as dry and wind years have a role to play.However, it’s apparent that former Ag. minister, Gerry Ritz, born in 1951, never had to deal with the dry and wind years of the 1930’s, and has scuttled the shelter belt program, once available at Indian Head,Sask. Too bad.Back in the early years and in the 40's and 50's, farmers simply avoided sloughs, bluffs and natures pot holes by working around them. Now, in this day, with large modern equipment, such areas have become a nuisance to farmers and operators, so they are uprooted, drained and utilized for crop planting. That is the core of the problem with flooding. Furthermore, Minister Ritz has proclaimed that shelter belts and pastures are not the way of the future, in that stubble fields and continuous cropping is the new salvation.Guess he’s been in touch with Nature at the highest level, and been assured that drought years and wind storms are a past memory,and will never dare to return to the modern farmers of to-day.His crystal ball is due for a cleaning and complete overhaul.
I'm no expert. But I do know not all trees are created "equally," at least for shelter belt purposes. For example, green ash have deep tap roots. They go way down to draw their moisture...the kind you need so as not to deprive neighbouring food crops. Poplars, on the other hand, have shallow roots which tend to take up that moisture from surface soil (and nearby fields).
I wonder how thoroughly modern farmers are researching this - to make sure the kind of trees planed will not detract from their crops? Not enough, likely!
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