So – what’s the problem with monoculture farming?
The easiest way to grow something is not always the best way to grow something. On the surface, it seems that growing a single crop in blocks makes sense. You can fertilize everything the same way, develop automated cultivation and harvesting methods, spray with ease, irrigate simply, etc.
It’s easy to take care of a straight block of corn… or blueberries… or apples. So – what’s the problem with monoculture farming? The problem is that over time you end up with unexpected problems – and that’s what we’re seeing right now in the Florida citrus industry.
This state has overflowed with oranges for a century. We’ve got a great climate through the southern half of the state that allows citrus to produce richly colored sweet bounty that’s just perfect for shipping up north to your sad, pale, scurvy-ridden Yankee relations.
However, our entire industry is now in deep trouble. Though you wouldn’t know it by driving past thick, green groves, there’s a major battle going on. Florida citrus survived being battered by canker… but now faces the threat of extinction thanks to “greening.”
When anything is planted in large blocks, close together, across vast swaths of acreage, it become a target.
Think European cities during the Black Death. Lots of folks packed together under less-than-ideal conditions suffered and died from a horrible disease. Many of those who lived in the country were spared.
There’s a reason God designed forests the way He did. There are lots of layers, lots of distractions for pests, and lots of attracting and repelling interactions that take place in a way we barely understand. It’s rare to see a large block of anything in nature (when you do, it’s usually a sign of poor soil or particularly harsh conditions).
Scientists are working on new, genetically engineered oranges that aren’t susceptible to greening. Creepy, but there may not be another solution other than burning everything down and starting over.
There’s no easy way out of this one.
Avoid packing like things together, however, and you will avoid the problems with monoculture farming.