The statewide snowpack – source of much of the California’s water supply – is only 83 percent of the March 1 average, the result of moderate precipitation since last October and relatively warm temperatures, according to the Department of Water Resources (DWR).
“Mother Nature is not living up to predictions by some that a ‘Godzilla’ El Niño would produce much more precipitation than usual this winter,” says DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We need conservation as much as ever.”...More
El Niño storms could blanket central and northern California this week following a mostly February dry spell, according to meteorologist Terry Snow of the Weather Advisory Service.
“El Niño rain has a good chance to return and not be the dud it has been for the month of February,” Snow says in his Feb. 27 report.
The return to wet weather could start Thursday, March 3 with a dose of light rain in central and northern California.
This should be followed by a series of wet storms expected to start Sunday, March 6. ...More
The phrase “Don’t Mess with Texas” suggests leaving the good things associated with the Lone Star State alone.
The same could be said in the low desert farming regions in Arizona and California where Colorado River surface water irrigated in vegetable fields allows growers to produce about 95 percent of the nation’s supply of winter veggies.
Like their Texas counterparts, desert vegetable growers have a good thing going with senior water rights on the Colorado River. They know it and aim to protect it....More
Dateline – Captain Hook, Big Island, Hawaii: With his seat belt and shoulder harness snug across his waist and shoulder, Larry Nixon shifted the Chevrolet truck into four-wheel drive for the steep uphill climb up the hill of lava rock to check on his hard-working field crew in the macadamia tree orchard picking up nuts off the ground.
Nixon complimented the workers on their work while checking on the harvest progress on the 4,000-acre MacFarms of Hawaii, located in the Kona district on the southeast side of the Big Island.
Shopping in Orchard Supply Hardware recently, I could only shake my head when I spotted a new display. Where the store prominently features seasonal specials, there was a line of barrels…not planter barrels, but water barrels for collecting rainwater and runoff from rooftops.
Checked my calendar to reassure myself it was not 1886. It’s 2016. Californians collected water in barrels 130 years ago....More
Although most farmers prefer farming to politics, they know that the political process affects them directly so they try to keep an eye on it. What they are detecting currently is a noticeable drift, particularly in California.
The current legislature has saddled farmers-employers with stringent new requirements in the way they treat and pay their employees which has made it more difficult, even perilous, to operate some farm enterprises. Record keeping and awareness, along with compliance deadlines, require constant attention....More
U.S. cotton farmers will increase their acres in 2016 despite the less-than-rosy forecast for cotton future prices, according to the National Cotton Council’s Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.
The survey, released at the NCC’s annual meeting in Dallas, said producers intend to plant 9.1 million acres of cotton, up 6.2 percent from 2015’s 8.58 million acres. The latter were the lowest plantings since 1983....More
As yet another El Niño-spawned rain storm pelted the area where they were meeting, California grape growers received good and bad news as they gathered for a San Joaquin Valley Grape Symposium held in Easton.
First the good news - this El Niño is the real deal, “currently a strong El Niño,” said Jerald Meadows, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford....More
Grain sorghum is a multi-purpose crop which, perhaps similar to the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, has never received the respect and deserved accolades in California until now.
Sorghum is gaining more attention in the Golden State as a multi-purpose, low-input forage crop option for growers. Its primary use is for livestock feed, primarily in dairy cow rations, but also for beef, poultry, and the pet food market....More
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced $3 million in grants to three universities to advance the use of co-robots in production agriculture....More
The Yuma agricultural community continues to look for opportunities to engage and educate stakeholders on the importance of staying up-to-date on water issues and the impact that management decisions can have on the farming industry.
The Yuma Agriculture Water Conference, slated for Jan. 13 in Yuma, Ariz., will bring together experts and leaders on the current issues regarding water rights and supply....More
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted the winter’s first media-oriented manual snow survey on Dec. 30 and found higher-than-average water content for the statewide snowpack.
Officials said snowfall during the remainder of the winter will largely determine whether California’s drought will linger into a fifth year....More