Food & Farm News
October 22, 2014
Tomato harvest will be plentiful
Responding to strong demand for tomato products, California farmers say they appear on track to meet preseason estimates for a record crop of processing tomatoes. Many Central Valley farmers idled land that would have been planted with other crops, in order to save their water for use on tomato fields. With tomato harvest nearly finished, farmers say dry, warm autumn weather also helped their crops.
Researchers seek drought-tolerant beans
Hoping to breed drought-tolerant varieties of beans, researchers have planted hundreds of beans from varied climates, all in a test field at the University of California, Davis. Some of the beans are able to survive in Mexico’s driest deserts, whereas others thrive in the wettest parts of Guatemala. Plant breeders say they are focusing on wild bean types, to see which might best be able to survive with limited water.
Biosensor checks olive oil quality
People in the olive oil business want a quick, accurate, inexpensive way to check the quality of oil—and a group of UC Davis students has designed a device to do just that. The students demonstrated their palm-sized “biosensor” Tuesday and will enter it in an international engineering competition next week. The device could help producers, distributors and others determine if olive oil marketed as “extra virgin” truly qualifies for that distinction.
‘Sniffer dogs’ may help fight plant disease
Dogs with trained noses may soon help California authorities check for the presence of a citrus disease. The California Citrus Research Board says it has contracted for two dogs that can sniff out the plant disease known as HLB. The dogs are being trained in Florida, where HLB has killed citrus trees. Meanwhile, authorities have expanded a plant quarantine in Kern County, due to new finds of an insect that can carry the citrus disease.