Archive: Jun 2013

Environmental factors that affect agriculture

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Our planet is a well-timed and well-run ecosystem that relies on so many factors, plants, animals and insects to keep it humming in harmony.  One of the areas that are out of tune has been the serious decline of the honeybee population in the United States.  Recently, scientists at Purdue University identified one of the largest factors that are causing the disappearance of these bees.

Bees are necessary for the pollination of our fruits and vegetables.  Without their work buzzing from tomato flower to blackberry blossom, we won’t get large crops of tomatoes, blackberries, water melons, apples, pears, and on and on.

The Purdue scientists found that the dead bees around the fields and hives over a two year period showed the presence of neonicotinoid insecticides.  These are commonly used to coat corn and soybean seeds prior to planting. The researchers found that high concentrations of these insecticides were found in the waste talc that is exhausted from farm machinery during the spring planting.  Christian Krupke an associate professor of entomology and co-author of the study in an interview said, “We know that these insecticides are highly toxic to bees; we found them in each sample of dead and dying bees.”

blm agricul blog

The seeds for most crops are coated with this insecticide to protect them after they are planted.  All corn and half of all soybean seeds are treated in this manner.  The coated seeds are sticky and because they clog up the vacuum systems that are used for planting, they are mixed with talc.  This talc gets released into the local environment during the planting process.  This contaminated talc is blown into the air and bees encounter the toxic substance when they land on anything that has a talc coating.

There are other methods of protecting crops that can eliminate or reduce this toxic talc that the bees are encountering.  Spraying after the crops have been planted is one method, rather than coating the seeds.  BLM is proud to have our clutches in various agricultural applications from sprayers, to wood chippers, to crop conveyors.

In fact, our distinctive blue clutches have always been quite green.  Which we feel is a big way that we can help to contribute to a sustainable planet.

An electric motor with a centrifugal clutch starts under no load and does not engage and drive the load until it reaches near rated speed.  Once it is up to speed, the motor will have more torque to start and accelerate the load.  This then consumes less current than if a motor were to start under a full load.

The environmental benefits include:

  1.  More improved power that runs efficiently
  2. Reduction in electrical power consumption
  3. Increased motor life, which provides continuous savings on energy consumption

Everything that we can do to make changes that protect and enhance our ecosystem is important.  Whether it is the way that we protect our agricultural crops in order to protect the honeybees that are integral to their growth or by using clutches that are more energy efficient but still provide the power needed to get the job done.