When are seasonal heavy rains welcomed but worrisome? When rains fill reservoirs, but also turn fields into seas of standing water!
Such has been the case in northern California which has seen torrential rains in recent weeks. After 5 years of intensive drought, the 2016-2017 rains are a welcome relief, but pose a danger to many crops including alfalfa.
It seems strange that we're discussing water damage a few months after discussing (lack of) water stress!
Ah, the ups and downs of agriculture!
Flooding in Yolo County Alfalfa Fields, January, 2017
OK, it's January and raining outside. So we can forget about water issues, right?
Farmers know better. Water planners know better. Snow pack is only a fraction of normal as of today, and most of the south state is still under ‘exceptional drought'.
Given the large urban, ag., and environmental demands……we know that demand is likely to exceed supply for many years into the future.
So how does agriculture cope with these realities? University of California scientists and the farming community have been working on methods to cope with periodic agricultural water shortages for the future, and taking a long-term view. See UC Drought Tips at:
- Author: Daniel H Putnam
Alfalfa hay prices were quite painful for alfalfa producers in 2015-16 as low commodity prices and lack of profitability in the dairy sector drove hay prices to the lowest level in many years. While high quality hays still fetched good prices, price for lower quality hays often were $80-$100/ton lower than high quality alfalfa due to high supplies and lack of demand.
This was a year that a lot of hay producers would like to forget.
The hay industry in California was worth between $1.5 billion and nearly $1.8 billion dollars in 2011-2015 (farm value), including both alfalfa and grass hays...
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
UC Cooperative Extension will host the SJC and Delta Field Crops Meeting on Friday, January 6, 2017 from 8:00am to 12:00pm. The meeting location is the Cabral Agricultural Center in Stockton (2101 E. Earhart Ave., Stockton, CA 95206).
The agenda is as follows:
8:00am Doors Open, Sign In, and Welcome
8:10am Sorghum Seeding Rates for Optimum Productivity, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE, San Joaquin/Delta Counties
8:35m New Pest Advisory: Sugarcane Aphid in California Sorghum, Larry Godfrey, UC Davis
9:05am The Do's and Don'ts of Planting Grain and Forage Sorghum – Why Sorghum is not Corn!, Jeff...
- Author: Rachael Long
- Author: Daniel H Putnam
Just as thinning hair is a hazard for humans, a thin alfalfa stand is a common hazard of getting old!
But thin alfalfa stands can occur in young stands as well. So what is the wisdom of overseeding alfalfa into alfalfa to improve the stand life and to correct stand deficiencies?
Figure 1. Thinning alfalfa stands can be a challenge for alfalfa growers – overseed to correct the stand or plow under? This stand was at about 5 plants/ft2, on the margins. Numbers of stems during re-growth may be more important than numbers of plants (see table 1 below).
Can overseeding (planting alfalfa into...