Food & Farm News
October 29, 2014
Weather problems affect nut crops
As nut growers near the end of their harvests, many say their crops may not reach preseason estimates. Almond and pistachio growers say a combination of drought and warm winter weather conspired to reduce harvests in many orchards. Some trees were removed or abandoned due to water shortages. Farmers and marketers say harvests of almonds, pistachios and walnuts will still be large, as nut producers work to fulfill increasing worldwide demand.
U.S. may produce more pork than beef
It hasn’t happened since the 1950s, but pork production may surpass beef production in the United States next year. Drought across many cattle-producing regions has forced ranchers to reduce herds, and it may take several years after rain resumes for herds to be rebuilt. An American Farm Bureau analyst says competition from increased pork and chicken production could help moderate retail beef prices.
New lettuce variety contains added nutrients
Its creator says a new variety of red leaf lettuce could be considered a “superfood” because of its high levels of antioxidants, which can protect against a number of diseases. A plant breeder at Rutgers University in New Jersey bred the lettuce to have a higher level of antioxidants than blueberries. A Salinas-based produce shipper began marketing the red lettuce this month under an exclusive contract with the university.
Research aims to head off rose disease
So far, California has avoided a severe plant disease that attacks rosebushes, and plant scientists want to keep it that way. “Rose rosette disease” causes bushes to decline and die within two to three years, and has hit in many other parts of the nation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a research initiative to help control and eradicate the disease. Plant breeders in California will be among those participating.