- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Labor costs drive mechanized pruning technology
(Farm Press) Todd Fitchette, Feb. 14
… As labor costs in California escalate, growers are becoming more interested in cost-saving technology. The Sunpreme variety of raisin grapes, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and released in about 2014, lends itself to more efficient pruning and harvesting.
The variety naturally dries on the vine, according to George Zhuang, a Cooperative Extension farm advisor who specializes in grapes in the Central Valley. Combined with an ability to mechanically box hedge the vines during the dormant season, Zhuang says this will be the first year the variety will experience fully mechanized management...
A 16-year-old high school student and sixth generation Santa Ynez Valley rancher Lily Masopust traveled to Denver for the Society for Range Management's annual High School Youth Forum Feb. 16-20, reported the Santa Ynez Valley News.
The youth forum was founded in 1966 to introduce young people to rangeland conservation. Masopust was awarded the opportunity to participate when she attended
Faced with growing global food demand, one solution to increasing productivity is cutting air pollution, reported Ohio's Country Journal.
MIT Sloan School of Management visiting professor Konstantinos Metaxoglou and UC Davis ag economics professor Aaron Smith quantified crop yield increases attributed to recent reduction in the emissions of NOx from power plants in the U.S. They found that the average corn yield increased by 2.5% and soybeen yield by 1.6% from 2003 to 2011.
The increased yield led to an increase in the two crops' total annual surplus.
“While farmers are worse off and consumers are...
National Public Radio highlighted a growing concern for San Joaquin Valley tree fruit and nut farmers - diminishing winter chill in an age of climate change. "Warm winters mess with nut trees' sex lives," reported Lauren Summer on Morning Edition.
For example, adequate winter chill allows female and male pistachio trees to wake up simultaneously, which is ideal for pollen to be available for wind to carry it to blooms on female trees.
Fresno State agriculture professor Gurreet Brar, a former UC Cooperative Extension advisor, is testing whether horticultural spray application at different...
- 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...