Cary Blake

Associate Editor,
Western Farm Press

Cary Blake, associate editor with Western Farm Press, has 32 years experience as an agricultural journalist. Blake covered Midwest agriculture for 25 years on a statewide farm radio network and through television stories that blanketed the nation.
Blake travelled West in 2003. Today he reports on production agriculture in Arizona and California. He also covers New Mexico and West Texas agriculture for Southwest Farm Press.
Blake is a native Mississippian, graduate of Mississippi State University, and a former Christmas tree grower.

Alfalfa: High cutworm damage, gains made in TRR control in Arizona

There’s a thief hiding out in some central Arizona alfalfa fields killing healthy plants and leaving frustrated growers with slimmer wallets. In some cases, an entire crop cutting is stolen.

The unexpected thief is two types of cutworm: granulate cutworm (Feltia subterranean), formerly known as Agrotis subterranean; and variegated cutworm (Peridroma saucia).  

Wuertz honored as subsurface drip irrigation pioneer

Howard Wuertz, a central Arizona crop farmer at the family’s Sundance Farms operation at Coolidge and considered by many as the father of subsurface irrigation, has received Netafim USA’s 2016 Award of Advancement in Microirrigation.

Wuertz’s selection is based on his pioneering efforts and contributions to the adaptation of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI).

“It is a great honor to be recognized by Netafim and industry peers for the steps we have made at Sundance Farms to achieve greater efficiency and productivity,” Wuertz says.

World’s largest crop robot revolutionizing crop breeding 1

Captain Kirk of Star Trek movie fame would feel right at home operating the controls of Planet Earth’s largest agricultural robot, currently located in an energy sorghum varietal trial in Maricopa, Ariz.

The crop analytic robot, similar in appearance to a gantry crane, features a Volkswagen-sized field scanner loaded with the latest precision agriculture tools to precisely measure crop growth with unprecedented resolution.

Photos: NCC cotton grower tour of Idaho agriculture

About a dozen cotton growers from across the 

Cotton growers discover Idaho grows more than 'taters'

Idaho agriculture is perhaps best known for its ‘spud-ilicious’ potatoes yet the Gem State’s almost $8 billion farming industry is a diverse combination of about 185 commodities ranging from livestock to barley, alfalfa, trout, dry edible beans, and wheat.

In mid-June, a dozen U.S. cotton and rice farmers toured farms and processing facilities in southeastern Idaho as part of the National Cotton Council of America’s (NCC) 10th annual Multi-Commodity Exchange Program (MCEP), sponsored by John Deere.

Mundschenk is new Arizona state veterinarian

Peter Mundschenk has been promoted to Arizona’s state veterinarian by Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) Director Mark Killian.

Mundschenk previously served as the acting state veterinarian, replacing Perry Durham who left ADA last year.

As the state vet, Mundschenk is responsible for the prevention and tracking of animal diseases; many of which are a threat to public health through the food system and spreading through other close contact or vectors including mosquitoes and flies. 

UC releases orchardgrass hay cost study for Intermountain region

The University of California (UC) Agricultural Issues Center (AIC) has compiled the costs and returns of establishing an orchardgrass stand and producing the hay crop in the Intermountain Region of the Golden State, including Shasta, Lassen, and Siskiyou counties.

UA alumna Maria Andrade is World Food Prize laureate

One of the four recipients of the 2016 World Food Prize is plant scientist Maria Andrade, a University of Arizona (UA) alumna whose research led to the introduction of nine drought-tolerant varieties of sweet potato for farmers in Mozambique.

At the UA, Andrade studied agronomy and plant genetics, and graduated with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She began breeding research with the orange-fleshed sweet potato in 1997 in drought-prone areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

California farm leader Mark Watte loses bout with cancer 1

Mark Christopher Watte, a proud and dedicated California farmer, plus state and national farm leader who stood tall for the industry on drought and other issues, passed away June 17, 2016 after a bout with cancer.

Watte operated his family farm called George Watte & Sons (George was Mark’s father). Mark grew cotton, alfalfa, triticale and corn for silage, black-eyed peas, pistachios, plus operated a 1,000 Jersey-cow dairy at Tulare.

Gallery: Macadamia nut farming at Island Harvest Inc.

The Trump family, including Jim and Debbie and their sons Chris and Nathan, farm macadamia nuts near Kapaau on the northernmost coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. This year, the Trumps are celebrating their 25th year in the macadamia business.

Western Farm Press visited the Trumps and their island farm. You can read all about their operation, the challenges, and the opportunities ahead by clicking on this link -

Enjoy these photos of the Trump's 700 acre operation.

Moving macadamia nut production to the next level 1

Crashing ocean waves are quickly stilled as they hit the majestic tall rock cliffs protruding like a mountain fortress on the coastline near the community of Kapaau at the northernmost tip of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Just a few miles down the coast line is an amazing 700-acre farm which many decades ago was a sugarcane plantation. In the 1980s, the cane yielded way to plantings of macadamia trees for nuts. Farming the macadamia operation today is the Jim Trump family and their Island Harvest Inc. farm which started in 1991.   

Gallery: Who's Who at the Desert Ag Conference

The Annual Desert Ag Conference is a homecoming of sorts for Arizona pest control advisors, crop consultants, growers, and many others involved in desert agriculture in the Grand Canyon State.

About 230 folks gathered for this year's event which covered a wide array of topics, including the slow and expensive route to bring a pesticide to market, discussed by research scientist Jesse Richardson of Dow AgroSciences.


‘Discovery to launch’ – the slow road to bring pesticides to market 2

Farmers often wonder why pesticides are expensive and why it takes so long to bring crop protection products to market.

The answer largely lies in the high costs associated with the discovery of a new pesticide active ingredient and the lengthy process to bring it to market. Also, chemical companies spend huge amounts of time and money to produce mountains of data to meet federal and state government requirements to achieve pesticide registration.

Jason Auxier tapped as SLHWA ‘Volunteer of the Year’

Jason Auxier, marketing coordinator with Morgan Winery, has been honored with the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award from the Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans (SLHWA).

The award was recently presented to Auxier at the 2016 SLH Gala celebration. The SLHWA is an alliance of the appellation’s winegrowers and wineries.

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