Food & Farm News
June 18, 2014
Research continues for drought-tolerant crops
The California drought has focused interest in crop varieties that can withstand longer periods of water deprivation. Researchers have developed corn varieties that survive water-limiting conditions and continue to look for ways to develop other drought-tolerant crops. Scientists are also working to reduce the risk of losing a crop in dry conditions and to cut the amount of yield lost. Development of drought-tolerant crops may take many decades, with no guarantee of success.
New technology saves water
Farmers have a new online tool to help with water-use efficiency. A UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Monterey County developed the CropManage program, to aid decision-making for water and fertilizer use. The tool gathers information such as rooting depth, water application rate, salinity and weather, and does the necessary calculations to achieve efficiency. The tool is currently available for a variety of vegetable crops.
Partnerships benefit bee health
Access to natural sources of pollen and nectar is key to maintaining bee health ... and dry conditions can make that even more challenging. With National Pollinator Week this week, conversations continue between beekeepers and land managers about the need for increased access to bee forage. Allowing beekeepers to place bee colonies on more public and private land can help land managers produce more wildflowers on a nature preserve while providing native forage.
U.S. beef market in Hong Kong expands
A new agreement between the United States and Hong Kong is expected to help expand export opportunities of U.S. beef and beef products. The new agreement lifts all trade restrictions. Hong Kong is already the fourth-largest market for U.S. beef exports. California beef and beef product exports are worth more than $300 million a year.