Water and Weather Updates
Weather and water are on the top of everyone’s mind in California agriculture. Here are a few updates from around the state brought to you by the California Farm Bureau Federation.
Farmers in water-short parts of the Central Valley say they will leave land idle and take other steps to try to keep their operations going this year. With federal and state water projects expected to deliver little or no water, farmers are finalizing decisions on what crops to plant, and how much. The lack of water from surface reservoirs means farmers may depend more on groundwater, while recognizing the limits on that resource.
Availability of water remains a key factor in the value of California farmland. Speakers at an annual conference said farmland with access to surface water generally commands higher prices than land served entirely by wells. Experts say California farmland values remained relatively stable during the past year, despite the impacts of dry weather, the COVID-19 pandemic and frequently lower crop prices.
In search of plants that can withstand expected warmer temperatures, University of California scientists say they have identified a gene that helps plants sense heat. UC Riverside researchers report locating the gene, calling it an early step in being able to influence plants’ temperature responses. The university said warmer temperatures can encourage plants to flower early and produce fewer seeds, reducing crop yields.
(Source: California Farm Bureau Federation)