USA - California farms face $3 billion loss from historic drought

28.11.2022 145 views

California’s worst drought has left growers in the top US agricultural state facing losses of $3 billion, just as producers brace for more widespread cuts to water supplies.

The state’s driest three-year period on record resulted in the crop revenue losses after growers left a total of 1.3 million acres unplanted over 2021 and 2022 as compared with 2019, according to a study commissioned by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. That’s the most idled acreage in recent memory, with effects cascading down the food industry.

California’s Central Valley -- which grows about a quarter of all US food, including 40% of fruits and nuts -- is bearing the brunt of the losses so far. Things could still get worse, with the state’s southern farming areas reliant on water from a shrinking Colorado River likely to see more fallowing in 2023, said Josue Medellin-Azuara, a University of California Merced professor who led the analysis.

“Strategic short term land idling was the most common cropping decision adaptation in this drought,” researchers said in the report. “Some crops such as rice, and other field and grain crops showed extensive idling,” while beef and milk productions were “lower than they would have been.”

The estimated 752,000 acres of fallowed fields in 2022 alone represent nearly 10% of California’s irrigated land examined by researchers. Growers also faced extra energy costs due to the need to pump water. The study is based on “water” years that run from October through September. 

California’s so-called senior water rights over other states have helped shield farmers who depend on the Colorado River from severe water cuts. 

But with the basin that provides water for 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles contending with a megadrought, states are being tasked by the US government to figure out a plan to conserve water. Federal officials also are considering action that would allow them to mandate restrictions. 

“The pressure is on for cutbacks,” Medellin-Azuara said in a telephone interview. Looming water restrictions for farming in Southern California and Arizona are especially of concern because those regions grow lettuce and other vegetables heavily relied by the rest of the country during winter months.

At least 70% of irrigated land in the Colorado River Basin is used to grow feed for livestock, and the drought already is boosting prices for such crops, according to the study.

The report’s findings weren’t all grim. Statewide economic impacts on farm income were “softened considerably” by measures such as increased groundwater pumping, switching crops, water trading and insurance payments. 

Source - https://www.ajot.com

31.01.2023

India - Climate change endangers crops in the Himalayas

In three of the past four years, growers in the Kashmir Valley — which produces 75% of India’s apples — have witnessed major early snowfalls. In the late autumns of 2018, 2019 and 2021, early snows destroyed orchards across the valley.

31.01.2023

USA - Long-term impact of California rains on strawberries unknown

The excessive rainfall and atmospheric rivers seem to have stopped in California, at least for the moment. They started in early December 2022 and continued until January 27, 2023.

31.01.2023

India - Cotton farmers face huge losses

The cotton farmers across Palamuru region are in a lurch as they are not able to get the minimum support price for their produce as the market prices are dwindling downwards leading to heavy losses to the farmers as they are not able to get back their investment on the crop.

31.01.2023

Warm spell leaves European winter crops exposed

Unseasonl warm weather across large swathes of Europe in late December and through most of January has reduced snow cover and roused European grain crops from their winter dormancy, leaving them highly susceptible to any sudden and extreme drop in temperatures.

31.01.2023

India - Compensation, insurance benefits sought for withered crops

Carrying withered crop in their hands, a group of farmers from Perilovanpatti submitted petition during the weekly grievances redressal meet held at the Collectorate on Monday.

31.01.2023

Gallagher Re report unveils $100 billion nat cat loss price tag

2022 marks the fifth year since 2017 that the insurance industry had to disburse over $100 billion to cover the costs of annual natural catastrophe losses, new data reveals - highlighting the worldwide need to speed up and scale climate resilience efforts.

31.01.2023

USA - Pathogen threats to global wheat crop increasing and more R&D needed

The threat posed by pathogens to global wheat crops is increasing as a result of the effects of climate change, researchers at the GEMS Informatics Centre (GEMS) of the University of Minnesota and non-profit organisation 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have jointly warned in a new study (published in “Frontiers in Plant Sciences”).

31.01.2023

India - Raj assures farmers compensation for crop damage

In the wake of the inclement weather affecting Rabi crop in the state, the Rajasthan government on Monday assured the Legislative Assembly a special ‘Girdawari’ (crop assessment) to assess the damage caused due to hailstorm, frost and cold wave.