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...
- 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...