Drought, Harvest, and Indoor Ag
Drought, harvest, and indoor agriculture are all making headlines this week. Here are a couple of updates from throughout the state courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
Along the North Coast, farmers face what one calls a “bleak” situation, with low water levels in the Russian River watershed. With supplies from the river likely to be curtailed, some farmers have tried to diversify by acquiring recycled water from the city of Ukiah. Others will have to fallow land or grow crops without irrigation. Livestock owners must haul water to cattle and sheep after springs and reservoirs dried.
They expect a larger crop, but cherry growers say heat and wind early in their season will likely prevent a near-record harvest. With the harvest now peaking, farmers say the dry, sunny spring allowed cherry trees to set plenty of fruit. Bing cherries remain the top variety grown in California, but farmers have been planting more of a type called Coral Champagne, which matures earlier. Peak cherry harvest will continue through the first week of June.
Small-stature tomato plants being developed by the University of California could benefit indoor urban agriculture, and could perhaps be grown on long-duration space flights. Researchers at UC Riverside have been studying different types of small tomatoes. One type has been engineered for use in urban “vertical farms.” Other, similar tomatoes will ultimately be grown in microgravity on the International Space Station.
(Source: California Farm Bureau Federation)