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California Agriculture, Vol. 45, No.3

Ground water: antidote to drought
Cover:  At dawn, drill crew extends the drill pipe to complete a 440-foot deep irrigation well near Davis. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark
May-June 1991
Volume 45, Number 3

Peer-reviewed research and review articles

When water is scarce: Ground water is key to easing impact of drought
by Richard E. Howitt
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
A UC model projects a 70% increase in ground water pumping this year, cushioning the effects of drought. Even so, farm losses will be $647 million, and consumers will pay $220 million more at the farm gate.
In contrast to projections that drought-related farm losses could climb to several billion dollars this year, a UC model predicts actual losses will be $647 million - largely due to the cushioning effect of a projected 70% increase in ground water pumping. The most significant economic impact will be felt in the South San Joaquin Valley, and along the Coast. Consumers will pay $220 million more for produce at the farm gate-an amount that may be magnified two or three times at the retail market. On page 6, the author and a colleague outline a scenario for ground water banking. They propose incentives to encourage ground water “savings” during wet and normal years — deposits to a “water bank account” which can be withdrawn in droughts
Well set aside proposal: A scenario for ground water banking
by Richard E. Howitt, Marangu M'Marete
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Economic incentives built into the power rate structure could encourage growers to pump more ground water in dry years and less in normal and wet years, “banking” water to be withdrawn in droughts.
Experience with the last major drought in 1976-1977 shows that increased ground water pumping was the critical factor in avoideing economic hardship to farmers and consumers. However, the increse in pumping came with an equally large increase in ground water overdrafts. Such flexibility in water use in the future can only be maintained if ground water is recharged in normal years.
Keeping the valley green: A public policy challenge
by Editors
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
With population projected to grow from 4.5 to 7.5 million inhabitants by 2005, the central Valley's natural resources are under increasing stress and its prime farmland threatened by urbanization
In California's Central Valley, population expansion and economic development threaten one of the world's most productive agricultural systems. In 1989 and 1990, the UC Agricultural Issues Center undertook the first comprehensive analysis of the demographic and resource problems that result, as well as the “government gridlock that is one obstacle to their solution. The multi-disciplinary project involved more than 60 university researchers on five UC campuses, as well as other experts from various public and private agencies. The following report draws heavily on that analysis, “California's Central Valley - Confluence of Change.”
Environmental horticulture: “Growth” industry in California
by Dennis R. Pittenger, Victor A. Gibeault, Steve T. Cockerham
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
This growing industry conducts business exceeding $7.2 billion a year.
California's environmental horticulture industry has economic activity in excess of $7.2 billion annually, but its numerous segments are not unified. University research and extension activities could significantly assist in defining industry problems and extending practical solutions based on applied and basic research.
Fall almond pruning has practical advantages, no adverse effects
by Wilbur O. Reil, Warren C. Micke, James Yeager, Charles Langston
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Almond trees are traditionally pruned in winter, but labor has become increasingly scarce. Now research suggests an alternative.
Labor for pruning during the winter is becoming increasingly scarce. To help retain a permanent labor force, more farmers would like to keep employees working in the fall. This study shows that almond trees can be pruned in the fall without adversely affecting yield, growth or nutrition.
Imported wasp helps control southern green stink bug
by Michael P. Hoffmann, Nita A. Davidson, Lloyd T. Wilson, Lester E. Ehler, Walker A. Jones, Frank G. Zalom
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Parasitic wasps from France, Italy, and Spain have become established and should help control several stink bug species.
Scientists have introduced a European wasp which parasitizes eggs of the destructive southern green stink bug, a pest recently discovered in California. The beneficial wasp appears to be established and effective against not only the southern green stink bug but some species of native stink bugs as well.
Specific gravity: A better test of first-milk quality
by Don A. Toenjes, Suzanne Strasser, Don L. Bath
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Specific gravity of the first milk is a better test of immunoglobulin density than conventional observation.
Density of immunoglobulins that pass from the dairy cow to the calf in the first milk (colostrum) is important in the calf's development of high levels of passive immunity. This study shows that specific gravity of the first milk is a better gauge of immunoglobulin density than conventional observation. Better use of colostrum may reduce the incidence of early calfhood disease and the need for antibiotics or other antimicrobials.
Plastic mulch increases cotton yield, reduces need for preseason irrigation
by Elias Fereres, David A. Goldhamer
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Plastic mulch applied to cotton at early planting dates conserved soil moisture and raised soil temerature, leading to higher yields.
Preseason irrigation of cotton has been identified as the single largest contributor to the drainage problem in the central San Joaquin Valley. By applying plastic mulch at earlier than normal planting dates, we conserved soil moisture that would have normally been lost to the atmosphere. The mulch also raised soil temperatures, resulting in rapid germination and early plant growth. Yields of Pima S-6 and Acala SJ-2 were 39% and 8% higher than nonmulched plots, respectively. Net profit increased by about $450 per acre for Pima because it attracted a higher price.
Fertilizers produce more range forage in drought than normal years
by William J. van Riet, Robert Bailey
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Nitrogen fertilizer produced greater forage gains during drought years than in normal rainfall years.
Nitrogenous fertilizers produced greater yield increases in drought years than in more abundant rainfall years. None the less, ranchers will need to carefully compare the costs of this added production with other alternatives, and also consider the odds of receiving less than 11 inches of rainfall.
Evaporation pan scheduling: How to reduce water use and maximize yields in greenhouse roses
by Steve A. Tjosvold, Kurt F. Schulbach
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
A simple irrigation scheduling system allows growers to conserve water, reduce leaching of nitrates and maximize yields.
Evaporation pan scheduling can accurately predict the irrigation requirements of greenhouse roses. This simple system can be used by growers to minimize overirrigation while guarding against water stress that reduces yields.
Imposed drought stress has no long-term effect on established alfalfa
by Carol A. Frate, Bruce A. Roberts, Vern L. Marble
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Scientists evaluated several options for farming alfalfa with limited irrigation water, obtaining yield response data useful in management decisions.
Reducing or terminating irrigation on established alfalfa during summer months for two consecutive years reduced crop yields but had no long-term effects on the productive capability of the stand in the third year. Hay quality was negatively affected only when alfalfa was severely water-stressed.
New index measures returns to risk in crop production
by Steven C. Blank
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Stock portfolio methods are applied to some traditional crop rotations to illustrate how growers can manage risk.
Now crop producers have an index that predicts returns from risk in agriculture. Adapted from stock portfolio strategies, the index is one of the first to be applied to farming. Crop diversification will be described as a risk management strategy and evaluated using the index with data from three sample counties.
Pressures to urbanize reach the Central Valley
by Editors
Full text HTML  | PDF  

News and opinion

Water scarcity: The changing California water scene
by Kenneth R. Farrell
Full text HTML  | PDF  
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California Agriculture, Vol. 45, No.3

Ground water: antidote to drought
Cover:  At dawn, drill crew extends the drill pipe to complete a 440-foot deep irrigation well near Davis. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark
May-June 1991
Volume 45, Number 3

Peer-reviewed research and review articles

When water is scarce: Ground water is key to easing impact of drought
by Richard E. Howitt
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
A UC model projects a 70% increase in ground water pumping this year, cushioning the effects of drought. Even so, farm losses will be $647 million, and consumers will pay $220 million more at the farm gate.
In contrast to projections that drought-related farm losses could climb to several billion dollars this year, a UC model predicts actual losses will be $647 million - largely due to the cushioning effect of a projected 70% increase in ground water pumping. The most significant economic impact will be felt in the South San Joaquin Valley, and along the Coast. Consumers will pay $220 million more for produce at the farm gate-an amount that may be magnified two or three times at the retail market. On page 6, the author and a colleague outline a scenario for ground water banking. They propose incentives to encourage ground water “savings” during wet and normal years — deposits to a “water bank account” which can be withdrawn in droughts
Well set aside proposal: A scenario for ground water banking
by Richard E. Howitt, Marangu M'Marete
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Economic incentives built into the power rate structure could encourage growers to pump more ground water in dry years and less in normal and wet years, “banking” water to be withdrawn in droughts.
Experience with the last major drought in 1976-1977 shows that increased ground water pumping was the critical factor in avoideing economic hardship to farmers and consumers. However, the increse in pumping came with an equally large increase in ground water overdrafts. Such flexibility in water use in the future can only be maintained if ground water is recharged in normal years.
Keeping the valley green: A public policy challenge
by Editors
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
With population projected to grow from 4.5 to 7.5 million inhabitants by 2005, the central Valley's natural resources are under increasing stress and its prime farmland threatened by urbanization
In California's Central Valley, population expansion and economic development threaten one of the world's most productive agricultural systems. In 1989 and 1990, the UC Agricultural Issues Center undertook the first comprehensive analysis of the demographic and resource problems that result, as well as the “government gridlock that is one obstacle to their solution. The multi-disciplinary project involved more than 60 university researchers on five UC campuses, as well as other experts from various public and private agencies. The following report draws heavily on that analysis, “California's Central Valley - Confluence of Change.”
Environmental horticulture: “Growth” industry in California
by Dennis R. Pittenger, Victor A. Gibeault, Steve T. Cockerham
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
This growing industry conducts business exceeding $7.2 billion a year.
California's environmental horticulture industry has economic activity in excess of $7.2 billion annually, but its numerous segments are not unified. University research and extension activities could significantly assist in defining industry problems and extending practical solutions based on applied and basic research.
Fall almond pruning has practical advantages, no adverse effects
by Wilbur O. Reil, Warren C. Micke, James Yeager, Charles Langston
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Almond trees are traditionally pruned in winter, but labor has become increasingly scarce. Now research suggests an alternative.
Labor for pruning during the winter is becoming increasingly scarce. To help retain a permanent labor force, more farmers would like to keep employees working in the fall. This study shows that almond trees can be pruned in the fall without adversely affecting yield, growth or nutrition.
Imported wasp helps control southern green stink bug
by Michael P. Hoffmann, Nita A. Davidson, Lloyd T. Wilson, Lester E. Ehler, Walker A. Jones, Frank G. Zalom
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Parasitic wasps from France, Italy, and Spain have become established and should help control several stink bug species.
Scientists have introduced a European wasp which parasitizes eggs of the destructive southern green stink bug, a pest recently discovered in California. The beneficial wasp appears to be established and effective against not only the southern green stink bug but some species of native stink bugs as well.
Specific gravity: A better test of first-milk quality
by Don A. Toenjes, Suzanne Strasser, Don L. Bath
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Specific gravity of the first milk is a better test of immunoglobulin density than conventional observation.
Density of immunoglobulins that pass from the dairy cow to the calf in the first milk (colostrum) is important in the calf's development of high levels of passive immunity. This study shows that specific gravity of the first milk is a better gauge of immunoglobulin density than conventional observation. Better use of colostrum may reduce the incidence of early calfhood disease and the need for antibiotics or other antimicrobials.
Plastic mulch increases cotton yield, reduces need for preseason irrigation
by Elias Fereres, David A. Goldhamer
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Plastic mulch applied to cotton at early planting dates conserved soil moisture and raised soil temerature, leading to higher yields.
Preseason irrigation of cotton has been identified as the single largest contributor to the drainage problem in the central San Joaquin Valley. By applying plastic mulch at earlier than normal planting dates, we conserved soil moisture that would have normally been lost to the atmosphere. The mulch also raised soil temperatures, resulting in rapid germination and early plant growth. Yields of Pima S-6 and Acala SJ-2 were 39% and 8% higher than nonmulched plots, respectively. Net profit increased by about $450 per acre for Pima because it attracted a higher price.
Fertilizers produce more range forage in drought than normal years
by William J. van Riet, Robert Bailey
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Nitrogen fertilizer produced greater forage gains during drought years than in normal rainfall years.
Nitrogenous fertilizers produced greater yield increases in drought years than in more abundant rainfall years. None the less, ranchers will need to carefully compare the costs of this added production with other alternatives, and also consider the odds of receiving less than 11 inches of rainfall.
Evaporation pan scheduling: How to reduce water use and maximize yields in greenhouse roses
by Steve A. Tjosvold, Kurt F. Schulbach
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
A simple irrigation scheduling system allows growers to conserve water, reduce leaching of nitrates and maximize yields.
Evaporation pan scheduling can accurately predict the irrigation requirements of greenhouse roses. This simple system can be used by growers to minimize overirrigation while guarding against water stress that reduces yields.
Imposed drought stress has no long-term effect on established alfalfa
by Carol A. Frate, Bruce A. Roberts, Vern L. Marble
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Scientists evaluated several options for farming alfalfa with limited irrigation water, obtaining yield response data useful in management decisions.
Reducing or terminating irrigation on established alfalfa during summer months for two consecutive years reduced crop yields but had no long-term effects on the productive capability of the stand in the third year. Hay quality was negatively affected only when alfalfa was severely water-stressed.
New index measures returns to risk in crop production
by Steven C. Blank
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Stock portfolio methods are applied to some traditional crop rotations to illustrate how growers can manage risk.
Now crop producers have an index that predicts returns from risk in agriculture. Adapted from stock portfolio strategies, the index is one of the first to be applied to farming. Crop diversification will be described as a risk management strategy and evaluated using the index with data from three sample counties.
Pressures to urbanize reach the Central Valley
by Editors
Full text HTML  | PDF  

News and opinion

Water scarcity: The changing California water scene
by Kenneth R. Farrell
Full text HTML  | PDF  

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