CAFA often gets calls or e-mails from growers, non-growers and students looking for information on alfalfa and other forage crops. There are several Web sites that can be visited to get answers to most if not all questions. But more often than not the answers to the subject matter in question are available at, http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu. It’s the UC Alfalfa Workgroup’s Web site and there’s a wide of information, including current and prior research projects.

We frequently refer to the site when someone asks about a particular subject, especially growers or industry members who are looking for production information. And, occasionally college students contact CAFA for sources of information to complete their projects.

In particular, the complete listing of all proceedings for the California Alfalfa & Forage Symposiums is a valuable resource that can be accessed at http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu. The proceedings for the 35th Alfalfa & Forage Symposium, held last December, is available online. Like other proceedings that can be accessed, the 2005 proceedings offer a wide range of information for the alfalfa and forage and the dairy industries.

If you don’t find the subject matter you’re looking for in the latest proceedings, it’s easy to search the UC Alfalfa Workgroup’s Web site to access prior proceedings. Search options include, author, title, keyword or year, so you’re likely to find one or more topics of interest.

Keeping updated

A major challenge for ag associations is keeping up to date on new or pending regulations and issues. At the February CAFA board meeting, board members were updated by Rick Roush, director of the UC Statewide IPM Program. Before the meeting, he e-mailed a position paper entitled, “Clearing the Air: Agrichemicals Facing Regulation To Reduce Ozone.”

He noted that, “it is critical” to contact grower groups to see whether demands can be met with “minimal impact on production.”

Roush reported that the Department of Pesticide Regulation is planning to require changes in many liquid formulations of ag chemicals to meet regulatory demands for air quality. Emulsifiable concentrates are a major target in an effort to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. VOC emissions and nitrogen oxides react with sunlight to create ozone. The Clean Air Act requires California to reduce VOC emissions in areas that do not meet ozone standards. A key area is the San Joaquin Valley, over which DPR has been sued by a “public interest” coalition.

To bring the SJV into compliance, the DPR plans to work with manufacturers over the next several years to lower VOC content of liquid EC formulations. This includes products used anywhere in California, not just the San Joaquin Valley. Several insecticides and herbicides used in alfalfa are on the list of products under scrutiny.

Other issues CAFA is researching include regulations for hauling hay, and how the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 will impact commercial hay growers as the deadline for compliance draws near. Who knows what’s coming next, but is there an industry that’s more regulated than agriculture?