In two recent broadcast media stories, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts were able to provide accurate information about the water use on commodities that have been criticized for water consumption during the drought.
The director of UC ANR's Agricultural Issues Center, Daniel Sumner, was one of three guests on the one-hour talk radio program Your Call, which was broadcast on KALW, Local Public Radio in San Francisco. The topic - How would reducing our intake of meat and dairy affect the drought? - was prompted by off-the-cuff...
The drought is forcing farmers to reexamine the way they water their crops, but converting to drip irrigation in alfalfa is unlikely to be widely implemented, reported David Wagner on KPBS Radio News.
The drip irrigation system conserves water - almost by half, said farmer Jack Cato - but is expensive and requires regular maintenance. After six years, the drip system is yet to pay for itself.
Good news for alfalfa growers is bad news for dairy producers. High demand for alfalfa hay and a small crop in the United States has resulted in a price hike of more than 50 percent, according to the Merced Sun-Star. In Merced, supreme alfalfa hay is pulling in $275 to $285 a ton.
UC Cooperative Extension forage specialist Dan Putnam believes California farmers need to envision and implement biomass-based, highly productive food, fuel and energy production systems to meet the increasing demands of the growing world population.
Putnam's thoughts were written up by reporter Cary Blake and posted yesterday on the Western Farm Press website.
The article noted that one biomass crop showing potential in California is switchgrass, which is grown in other parts of the country for forage. Putnam has four switchgrass trials...
UC scientists are perplexed and concerned about the condition of California alfalfa fields this spring. Alfalfa should be a lush, green carpet, but in many areas, there are patches that appear dead; in some cases, entire fields have been reduced to bare ground, according to UC Davis Cooperative Extension alfalfa specialist Dan Putnum.
Although scientists caution that there may be several factors contributing to this damage, stem nematode symptoms are present and the pest has been observed in lab tests. Alfafa stem nematode is a voracious microscopic pest that is generally present in Valley soils, but rarely becomes such a severe problem.