Herbicides and Insecticides are bad…the sad thing is nobody really cares. The average American has never even heard of Monsanto. Just about every retail store has bug spray and weed killer at every checkout lane. Personally, I never use the legal poison. Funny how smoking was banned because of second hand smoke, but they can't see the similarity in nuking their yards or spraying bug spray near you.
The use of round up is just part of the changes in agriculture that have changed over the years. The use of alfalfa over clover as a hay source and the mowing of corn stocks have all contributed to the problem. The new farm bill has a provision that requires a farmer to have some conservation practices on his farm if he gets crop insurance. This is part of the senate version but not the house version. Hopefully it stays in the final bill. I wouldn't pick on Monsanto as they also produce GMO seeds which replace the need for insecticide by genetic changes to the plant. Changing farming methods doesn't look like it's in the cards anytime soon. Adding conservation practices like CRP, CREP, WHIP and stream borders that provide space for wildlife and pollinating areas is the key for now I believe.
I recently read an article that said roundup causes plants to block mineral absorption so that the nutrient quality of crops grown using roundup is lowered.
The lack of cover crops in fields where roundup and GMO crops are used also cause a depletion in soil fertility and promote late winter soil runoff.
It seems that the gov. and producers are missing the big picture. They are producing larger quantities of less nutritious, less healthful product in a way that has widespread negative impacts on the environment and wildlife, especially in regard to plant pollinating insects which ultimately are a key element for the production of almost all plant life. When the crap really starts to hit the fan I DO think we'll see and end to the use of modern heavy industrial methods of agriculture and many of the old methods used for hundreds of years will again become prominent. It's already starting to happen See; http://www.brownsranch.us
Farmers and Timber companies are in the business to produce crops. Using herbicides helps them produce more and protect the environment. Plowing and bulldozing brush creates erosion, not to mention kills anything that can't get out of the way fast enough. Clean farming and forestry is not good for quail or pheasants. Herbicides do alter the vegetation that may not be good for the habitat. I don't believe the toxicity of herbicides is to blame. There are tons of data and studies to show otherwise.
A 60 year wildlife study on herbicides and right of ways is right in central PA. Its called the Bramble and Burns study. It shows the selective use of herbicides to control vegetation can create habitat for many species of animals.
We have some wild quail around here and they live in the brushy areas next to farmed fields that are sprayed.
His dates don't seem to make sense
"In the mid ‘70s and early 1980s it was not unusual to find 10 or more coveys in one day. It was a good time to be a quail hunter."
Then he says
"By the mid ‘60s about the most one could expect was to find one or two coveys in a full day’s hunt."
I think its all about good habitat. Quail are pretty sensitive to habitat. There just isn't enough to sustain good healthy populations.