Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The Pyramids of Kansas
It was about a week too late for photographs of the enormous mounds of the north central Kansas milo harvest by the small town of Glen Elder. This was the last uncovered hill and it only shows a bit of the marvelous striations of colors from the various strains and hybrid seeds. Normally these enormous hills are beautiful mosaics of yellows, golds, reds, browns and beige. Every year when I drive by, I wish for my camera. I remembered to take my camera this time but just missed the best and most beautiful.
At this particular site, there are three huge covered buildings, and there were three enormous outdoor mounds already covered with the heavy plastic tarps. I failed to get a good picture of the entire complex. There are millions of bushels of milo there.
According to KSSorghum.com, in 2011 Jewell County led the state in highest sorghum production with 5.95 million bushels followed by Smith County with 4.97 million bushels. Mitchell, Rooks and Osborne County rounded out the top five. Marshall County saw the highest yields in 2011 with 112.5 bushels per acre. Glen Elder is in Mitchell County. Kansas typically produces between 40 and 50% of the nation's sorghum crop.
My "warm and fuzzy" feelings about milo was dealt a blow when I read that the Kansas Grain Sorghum Producers Association "continues to play a key role in advocating and protecting crop protection choices for Kansas sorghum farmers. KGSPA is one of the founding leaders of the Triazine Network, a national coalition of agriculture groups who continue to work to keep the atrazine and other triazine herbicides available to growers." KGSPA is the only organization with a registered lobbyist representing sorghum growers in the Kansas Legislature.
After reading that, I went to the Environmental Protection Agency web site. The EPA is concerned with the widespread contamination of drinking water. "Atrazine is currently one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States, with estimated production of 76 to 85 million pounds annually."
All I can say is that I am thankful for the EPA's monitoring of this herbicide. I hope they know what they are doing.