Food & Farm News
Audio ActualitySaving fuel through use of conservation tillage
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» November 7, 2007 «
Record prices for diesel fuel encourage farmers to look for ways to become even more efficient. Some have adopted a method known as conservation tillage, to reduce fuel use and achieve other benefits. Under conservation tillage, farmers grow crops with minimal soil cultivation. One Fresno County farmer who has adopted the technique says he used to drive his tractor as many as six times across a field to prepare and plant it, and now uses just one or two trips.
With hay and corn prices high and pastures dried out, dairy farmers have been scouting alternative feed for their animals. Farm advisors say harvest leftovers in rice and corn fields have become attractive alternatives. Some farmers bale and sell rice straw for cattle feed. And, as corn planting increases in California, dairy farmers now have access to an alternative feed known as corn stover: the stalks, leaves and husks left over after corn harvest.
Nutritionists often encourage people to eat foods rich in antioxidants, compounds that appear to fight cancer and other diseases. Now, government researchers have released a database that measures the antioxidant capacities of nearly 300 foods. The U.S. Agriculture Department says the information will help scientists chart foods' potential health benefits. The antioxidant-rich foods include apples, dried plums, red wine, artichokes and dark chocolate.
Work at a University of California campus aims to improve food security in Africa. Scientists at UC Riverside will study ways to improve production of the cowpea. That legume forms a crucial protein source in African diets. The Riverside research will focus on improved cowpea varieties that can better tolerate drought and withstand attacks from crop pests and diseases.Top