- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
California ag faces a decade of challenges
(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Jan. 31
…“We're getting close to a point where field work in agriculture is similar to or higher than the wages in other sectors,” said Dan Sumner, director of the University of California's Agricultural Issues Center in Davis. “But the problem is the hours of work.”
Much of agricultural work is seasonal, making the 40-hour work week impractical in many circumstances, Sumner and others say.
…When they mechanize, growers encounter more regulations. For instance, Steve Fennemore, a UC plant sciences specialist in Salinas, has been helping a company develop an autonomous weeder...
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Five of the past six years have been the warmest in Bakersfield's recorded history
(Bakersfield Californian) Steven Mayer, Jan. 15
… Daniel Sumner, an ag economist at UC Davis, said researchers across the state are busy studying the changing patterns of California's Mediterranean climate.
"We don't look at the average annual temperature," he said. "It's not that interesting."
When it comes to the effect climate change could have on the Central Valley — California's fruit basket — Sumner said researchers aren't seeing changes in summertime high temperatures. Instead, they're seeing increases in wintertime lows.
The warmer nights are a "big deal," he...
An airborne fungus from Europe, ganoderma adspersum, has been killing almond trees in the San Jaoquin Valley since it was discovered in the area five years ago, reported John Cox in the Bakersfield Californian.
The fungus rots wood from the inside out, usually weakening the trunk a ground level.
Three kinds of ganoderma fungus infections were identified recently in California almond orchards; University of California researchers say 94 percent of the cases were of the adspersum variety.
"We are seeing those trees collapsing at 11, 12, 15 years...
The National Park Service has contracted with Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue to humanely remove 2,500 to 4,000 burros in Death Valley National Park, a particularly challenging effort because the Bureau of Land Management, which manages adjoining land, does not consider the non-native equines a problem, reported Miranda Willson in the Las Vegas Sun.
The rescue organization rounds up the burros and puts them up for adoption.
Experts say the burros damage vegetation near the park's desert springs, which support rare and endemic fish, plants, invertebrates...
UC Master Gardeners in Stanislaus County presented an all-natural, sustainable solution to disposing garden and food waste during a session for the community on worm composting, reported John Holland in the Modesto Bee.
All it takes is an 18-inch deep bin, equipped for drainage, and a supply of red worms. Provide the worms a substrate that contains a mix of high carbon materials - like shredded paper, dry leaves or sawdust - and kitchen scraps - such as fruit and vegetable cores and peels, leftover grains and coffee grounds. A few months later, the worms will have transformed the contents into a rich organic fertilizer ready to be applied to garden...