Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityFarmer's comments about preparations he takes to protect his crop from freezing temperatures
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» December 18, 2008 «
Citrus growers have been battling freezing temperatures much of this week. The coldest temperatures were expected Wednesday night moderating some tonight (Thursday) and then milder for the rest of the week. Growers know from experience that there will be cold temperatures each year and take preparations to shield their crop. As the forecast is for brief periods of cold, only minor damage is expected. California's citrus crop generates more than a billion dollars each year.
Demand for organic hay exceeds supplies. As more dairy farmers switch to organic milk production, the need for organic feed increases. Most of the organically grown hay is in the intermountain region, where insect pest pressures are less. Cold winters eliminate many pests. Few farmers are turning to organic hay production, as during the three-year transition from conventional to organic, they still receive conventional prices while their yields decrease.
California farmers used fewer pesticides last year, the second consecutive year of reductions. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation said production agriculture used 11-million pounds less than in 2006. Pesticide use reports are mandatory for farm and ranch users, while most home, industrial and institutional uses are exempt. California has the most extensive pesticide use reporting system in the United States. Analysts say dry spring weather in 2007 is a factor in the decline in use.
Researchers at UC Davis have received a three-year grant of nearly $7 million from the National Science Foundation to construct a physical map of wheat genomes. The project will speed development of wheat varieties with improved grain quality and nutrition. It could also increase yields and produce a plant resistant to pests and diseases. While it will take years to complete, it is an important first step in developing better wheat varieties.Top