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Audio ActualityFinding a way California farmers might sell carbon credits
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» May 27, 2009 «
Agricultural scientists have found that simple sugars in watermelons can be made into ethanol. This discovery may provide farmers with a new market for the 20 percent of their watermelon crop that is left in fields due to external blemishes. This knowledge broadens sources for ethanol, which is now mainly derived from corn sorghum or sugar cane. Scientists are examining other crops that could furnish raw materials.
While Congress debates a federal law regarding greenhouse gas emissions, California researchers are already working to implement a similar state law passed in 2006. Farm groups are working with researchers to find a way farmers can sell credits for carbon absorbed by their crops. Growers face increased costs for diesel, fertilizer, electricity and other inputs because of new rules. They might be able to break even through the ability to sell credits for the gasses absorbed by their crops.
California wheat farmers are checking their fields for weather damage. Harvest usually begins in June, but growers have found some problems. Freezing temperatures when the wheat was heading caused some blanking—when no grain forms on the stalk. Wind when fields were wet caused some lodging, which is when the stems lean over. That reduces yields and causes harvest problems. Thus far reports of fungal diseases in the grain are minimal. California ranks 18th nationally in wheat production, and it is an important rotational crop for many farmers.
Cotton hydromulch works better at erosion control than other slurries. This new product will help keep erosion from impeding traffic on highways next to steep terrain, found agricultural research scientists. The hydromulch is made from cotton gin byproducts. It performs better at holding the soil and requires significantly less labor to apply. One study showed that cotton-based hydromulch established a good stand of grass compared to others. California ranks fourth in the nation in cotton production.Top