Food & Farm News
January 22, 2014
Animal feed suffers from drought
The California drought will have “serious impacts” to production of animal feed, according to University of California specialists. They describe oat hay as “a disaster” due to lack of rain, and predict diminished supplies of alfalfa hay, as well. At the same time, livestock owners need to buy more hay, because drought has parched rangeland on which animals would normally feed. That will lead to short supplies and high prices for animal feed this year.
Water situation could affect orchard plantings
With demand for almonds, walnuts and pistachios remaining strong, farmers continue to plant new orchards. But nurseries that supply young trees say the ongoing drought could reduce interest in new orchard plantings. The nurseries say they continue to take orders for trees, but have heard from some farmers who are waiting to commit until they see how much water they will have available. At this time of year, nurseries begin delivering bare-root trees to farmers for planting.
That’s one spicy genetic sequence
Worldwide production of hot peppers has grown more than 40-fold in the last two decades, and scientists at UC Davis say a new study of the pepper plant could lead to further production improvements. The university announced that its scientists have helped map the pepper genome. The project showed how the plant’s genetic makeup influences the spiciness of hot peppers. Researchers say the pepper contains a number of genetic traits in common with its closest relative, the tomato.
Survey shows improved eating patterns
American adults are eating healthier, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In a survey designed to represent national trends, USDA said adults reduced their caloric intake by 78 calories a day between 2005 and 2010. The survey also showed reductions in calories from total fat and saturated fat. USDA said Americans appear to be paying greater attention to nutrition in general.