Legacy of the drought may be fewer permanent crops

Nov 20, 2014

The California drought is expected to change planting patterns for the state's agricultural industry, reported Clint Jasper on Australian Rural Radio. Jasper interviewed Louise Ferguson, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of the UC Fruit and Nut Research and Information Center.

"Whether it's good or bad, in California we've become accustomed to a steady water supply though our catchments, dams and aqueducts that deliver water to the (Central) Valley," Ferguson said. "In the past 3 or 4 years of drought, we've become more dependent on wells, what you're always dependent upon here in Australia."

She predicted that, in the next three to five years, California will see a significant decrease in tree crops as a result.

"In California, up till now, we did not have groundwater use regulations," she said. "The increase in wells very shortly will lead to regulations, both quantity and quality. Meaning how much you can draw out and how much nitrogen you can use in your fertilization program."

Jasper also interviewed Almond Board of California president and chief executive officer Richard Waycott.

"As an industry we've been doing deficit irrigation research, and applying water efficiency research across our industry for many years," Waycott said. "The drought is caused by Mother Nature. All agriculture needs water, and our growers are responsible with the water they use."

By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist