This year’s plague: Grasshoppers!!!!!


The comment I get often when saying that I farm organically (we are transitioning to certified organic) goes something like this, “it’s amazing they can charge so much more for putting less into it.” Sometimes I try to correct this misconception sometimes I just shrug and walk away. What most people don’t see is the hours of work and love that go into wanting to do something the healthiest way possible. We are connected to our land, and our animals and unfortunately the animals that find us. We know that we can’t dissect the natural world and take some parts out to make our life easier though sometimes we really wish we could.

This year our plague has been grasshoppers. Allow me to set the scene. We have 21 tillable acres. Before we purchased our farm they were in corn and soybeans. Wanting to build up soil quality and not contribute to erosion we planted the majority of our field in a clover and grass mix leaving just 3 acres for vegetable and fruit production.

Last year we never harvested these grasses mostly because we didn’t have the equipment to do it ourselves or the funds to pay someone. But after having to buy hay for our goats we decided we needed to try. So we arranged with a local farmer to harvest for us and we would split the hay. So we will get enough hay for our goats and our field will be maintained. What we were not counting on is the countless number of grasshoppers living in our hay field that have now moved to our vegetables.

When Proeun was telling me about the problem and asking me to write about it I said I would try to get some pictures. I thought they would be elusive. Obviously they are not, and they are not afraid of me either even when I point a big camera at them. So we are weeding like mad, trying to keep the excessive vegetation down so hopefully they will move on, we do have woods you could have boys.

Proeun showing me some of the damage. Not only do they eat the plant but the stress causes them to grow slower. Our kale is struggling and after only giving it once will need a break to recover.

Our chard trying to recover. We haven’t even been able to use it once.

Oh well I guess they have to eat to. I just wish it wasn’t at our place. Laura Ingall’s writes in her books about great clouds of them that devour everything in their path, at least it is not that bad.