ON THE FARM: Seeking magic crop solutions

Glenn Ells
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Cancelling school two days in a row at the end of March seems a bit unusual, but then it has been an unusual winter. It would be nice if winter went away and didn’t spill over into spring any more.

Farmers are always looking for new crops to grow. We look through rural life magazines (the few that are left) and seed catalogues hoping to find something that pencil out on the plus side. We are not sure that we will find that magic crop, but we keep looking anyway.

Think about this crop. It has been named “leseid” by the plant breeder who developed it. He, and his team of researchers, and the plant they came up with are unusual.

The researchers are unusual because the have ignored the opportunity to patent this discovery and will release seed to the public. The plant is unusual in that it self-fertilized, not a hybrid, and farmers can save seed from one crop to the next, except that it takes two years to get seed, like with turnips. You would have to save some roots and plant them for seed production each year. It seems to be somewhat like a root crop that grows mostly above ground.

Lesied is resistant to most fungus attacks and so far there is no insect problem – that can change as we have seen many times before with new crops.

Planting and harvesting could be accomplished with existing farm equipment. Extracting the liquid from the mature plants after harvest is apt to be labour intensive, but would be worth it. I think something like a cider press would work. Now the good part, the juice is supposed to power a tractor. Think of it!

No taxes, no price change – it would be like the old days when farmers grew oats for horse fuel. Governments would go crazy.

(Leseid is “diesel” spelled backwards. Happy April 1.)

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