Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Researchers hone drone use on farms
As they learn more about how unmanned aircraft can be used on farms, researchers also work to make drones more practical for gathering and analyzing agricultural data. A University of California farm advisor says, for example, drones can help farmers tell if trees suffer from water stress, but software needs to be perfected to make data easier to interpret. Several California universities are working on agricultural drone projects.
Flood damage in California orchards still being tallied
The extent of flood damage to Northern California orchards may not be known for months–perhaps years. Farm advisors are still finding signs of waterlogging in orchards affected by levee seepage and a collapsed riverbank. One orchard near Elk Grove, flooded in February, didn’t drain until early May; the farmer lost a third of his walnut trees.
Wet winter contributes to larger bean crop
More garbanzos, limas, and other beans should be coming from California fields this year. Farmers have increased their bean acreage by 10 percent, compared to a year ago. The state’s wet winter receives part of the credit. Beans can be planted later in the spring than other crops, so farmers whose ground was too muddy to plant corn or other crops have substituted beans instead.
Prune crop rallies after lackluster year
Fans of prunes–also known as dried plums–can anticipate plentiful supplies. California farmers grow nearly all the nation’s crop, and a government forecast of 105,000 tons for this year’s harvest is more than double the 51,000 tons produced last year. Farmers report favorable growing conditions, resulting in more, and bigger, fruit.