- Author: Brad Hooker
Over the last three millennia, the practice of growing rice has evolved and spread throughout much of the globe. From China, through India, to Greece and parts of the Mediterranean and from Europe to the Americas, rice has demonstrated its versatility in desert regions and wetland deltas alike. Abundant in carbohydrates, it is today one of the world’s most widely eaten foods.
While University of California researchers develop rice varieties more tolerant to the modern challenges of climate change — flooding, heat stress, drought — California rice farmers each year discover more new threats in the form of non-native and herbicide-resistant weeds. So well adapted are these weeds that if left unmanaged, they...
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
- Author: Morgan Doran
In touring the back roads of California’s great Central Valley during wintertime, you may be surprised to come upon hundreds of sheep grazing alfalfa fields. The sheep are penned in by electric fences and graze the fields to near bare soil. Look closely and you may also see some Great Pyrenees dogs, used to guard the livestock from coyotes and other predators. The dogs blend in well with the sheep and it’s often fun to try to spot them in the mob.
You may wonder about this practice of ‘sheeping off’ or grazing alfalfa fields, as sheep are most associated with rangelands in the coastal foothills or the Sierras. Basque sheepherders have historically managed sheep grazing in the Sierra Nevada mountains,...
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Poets have romantically suggested that a “weed is no more than a flower in disguise.” But when burning nettle, pigweed and purslane rob water, sunlight and nutrients from vegetables you are growing to make a living, weeds are a despised nemesis.
For conventional growers, chemical herbicides have taken the drudgery out of weed control. For organic farmers, weeds continue to be a perennial headache.
Many large-scale organic growers have turned to mechanical cultivators to dislodge weeds. However, standard cultivation systems leave an untouched band of soil around the seedlings that must be cleared by hand. This hand labor often represents a large part of total production expenses.
- Author: Rebecca Miller-Cripps
- Contributor: Wendy West
Many funding sources for weed eradication have been reduced or completely eliminated. According to the California Assembly Budget Committee’s annual Preliminary Review of the Governor’s Proposed 2012-13 State Budget, the California Department of Food and Agriculture will absorb a permanent budget reduction of $12 million in program cuts, in addition to a $19 million budget reduction in 2011-12. Funding for weed management areas (WMAs) has been reduced to the point that many WMAs have become inactive or are being managed voluntarily as an adjunct to other duties.
At the California Invasive.../span>
- Author: Rebecca Miller-Cripps
Weeds, weeds, weeds! Have you noticed? This has been a banner year for weeds. Puncturevine where I’ve never seen it before. Garden soil covered with common purslane (at least it’s good in salads). And solid stands of yellow starthistle everywhere!
Our cool late spring and repeated late rains created multiple germination periods; weed seeds in the soil had many opportunities to sprout. And sprout they did! With the heat of summer, weeds flowered and became noticeable. Now, weeds have set seed and...