Do Cranes Like Peanuts ?

The "Cranes' Project" - growing peanuts preventing damage to the nearby agricultural areas
November 5, 2017
Do Cranes Like Peanuts ? (Enlarge)

Farmers in the Hula Valley allow cranes swooping down on the fields to eat the leavings of the peanut crop, thereby preventing damage to the nearby agricultural areas.

With the threshing of the peanuts grown throughout the Hula Valley by the farmers now almost completed, the Galilee Development Company estimates that this year's peanut yield from an area of about 350 hectares will be 5500 Kg. per hectare yielding a total harvest of approximately 200,000 Kg.

The peanut crop's growing season is especially long, extending from the sowing in early spring until the peanuts' harvesting in the fall, when the winter crop season starts.

Thanks to the "Cranes' Project" growing peanuts has the additional advantage in assisting farmers in the Galilee to combat the problem of cranes devouring agricultural crops.

Ofer Barnea, the project coordinator, pointed out that as part of the "Cranes' Project" farmers delay tilling the soil after the threshing is completed, and thereby drive the cranes away from other crops growing nearby to the peanut plots to eat the crops' leavings and leftovers still in the fields. This operation also defers the opening of the cranes' feeding station. It is only after the cranes have finished eating all the peanut leavings that the farmers cultivate the land for planting the winter crops.   

According to data from the Galilee Development Company more than 500 million migratory birds come every year during this season to Israel.  Israel therefore constitutes the principal passage along the migratory route of the birds, which include storks, pelicans and especially cranes.  Approximately 100,000 cranes descend every fall on the Hula Valley and even though the feeding project at a cost of about 3 million NIS facilitates nutrition for the birds, the cranes nevertheless damage the agricultural crops.

Moreover, work is currently under way in the Galilee and Golan to prepare the fields for planting carrots and additional winter crops, where the planning places the emphasis on crops requiring little if any irrigation to overcome the effects of the planned cuts in the water allocated to agriculture and the consequent price increases following the Water Amendment Regulation 27.

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