Kevin Bronson and Kelly Thorp of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Maricop, Ariz. are in the third year of field tests to determine if the there is a better way to irrigate cotton in the Grand Canyon State other than traditionally flooding fields.
Two separate field studies at the Maricopa Agricultural Center are testing two methods: an overhead sprinkler system guided by precision agriculture tools to place water only where needed and only how much is really needed in the field; and buried drip - a.k.a. subsurface drip irrigation.
Water for agricultural irrigation is the most precious natural resource in western agriculture. Due to ever tightening water supplies, more attention is being focused on shifting from flood-irrigated cotton to more efficient systems which could include sprinkler and buried drip systems.
This could happen sooner rather than later....More
On May 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designated Yuma County, Ariz. as a primary natural disaster area, due to damages and losses caused by drought.
“Our hearts go out to those Arizona farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Farmers and ranchers in Arizona’s Maricopa and Pima counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance since the counties are contiguous with Yuma....More
The California rice industry is pleased as punch with the rainfall this past fall, winter, and the ‘Miracle March’ in the Sacramento Valley where the majority of the state’s crop is grown.
The rice industry is glowing over the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s decision this spring to provide a 100 percent surface water allocation for agriculture to the area....More
A hearty applause for California urban dwellers who almost met Gov. Edmund Brown Jr.’s 25 percent water conservation mandate for the nine months since mandatory urban conservation began.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) reports that statewide cumulative water savings from June 2015 to February 2016 were 23.9 percent, compared to the same months in 2013....More
The opposition to the Dam Train Initiative once again exposed California agriculture’s political underbelly, disunity. Many agricultural interests opposed it, even though its backers claimed to have agricultural backing....More
El Niño-related rain and snow falls last fall, winter, and early this spring have been on the sporadic side. Yet we should be (and are) thankful for the fallen moisture from the heavens. The Pacific Ocean-based warmer water phenomenon tossed more than a couple of buckets of rain and snow at California and Arizona – both facing severe drought....More
California’s agricultural diversity is the envy of the world. It’s also its Achilles Heel. Getting all of the state’s agricultural groups to agree on anything is like herding cats. This has been the state’s No. 1 industry’s major weakness in accomplishing much politically.
Agreements have been few and far between. The greatest occurred 40 years ago when agriculture united to defeat Proposition 14, which would have given the United Farm Workers open access to every farm in the state....More
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