Beneficial Insects Build Up Plants, Livestock, Rural Communities

It turns out a discussion about insects and soil health isn’t just a discussion about how insects affect soil health.

“Insects are really an indicator of life and all of the different species from microbes to plants to birds.”

Jonathan Lundgren directs the Ecdysis Foundation, and he’s one of our guests on the latest episode of the Soil Health Podcast, supported by the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative.

He and southern Indiana farmer Pat Bittner discuss the effect of beneficial insects on plants, livestock, crops, even ourselves.

“For the last seven years, we’ve not had to use any pesticides or fungicides. I would like to think that that’s because we’ve brought in a lot of beneficials and they’re keeping what’s classified as a pest in check.”

Lundgren says the best way to solve insect problems is with a systems approach.
“You know, if you have a pest problem on your operation, generally, that’s a reflection of something else in the system kind of out of whack. And so, unless you’re fixing that underlying problem, you’re not going to end up solving your insect problems or your insect outbreaks.”

And there’s always something new to see in Bittner’s farm fields.

“I’ve told my dad that I don’t know that I could plant on conventional acres anymore and still stay awake because every round that we’re planting in our high biomass cover crops is a new adventure.”

Lundgren says the Ecdysis Foundation is researching regenerative ag systems, and they’re looking for Indiana participants for the 1,000 Farms Initiative. Check out the foundation’s website to participate or donate to support the research.

Click below to hear the full conversation with Jonathan Lundgren and Pat Bittner on the latest edition of the HAT Soil Health Podcast, supported by the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative.

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