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
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
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 moist weather pattern in early January which affected Arizona and Yuma County in particular has provided the environmental conditions needed for downy mildew development on winter-grown vegetable crops susceptible to this plant disease.
Rainfall in the vegetable production regions of Yuma County, plus the associated high relative humidity, provided ideal conditions for the rapid development of downy mildew.
Major vegetable crops in Yuma susceptible to downy mildew include lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and onions....More