California Agriculture, October-December 2007
Volume 61, Number 4
Confronting a scarcity of clean and abundant water
peer-reviewed research articles
Management reduces E. coli in irrigated pasture runoff
by A. Kate Knox , Kenneth W. Tate , Randy A. Dahlgren , Edward R. Atwill
Microbial pollutants, some of which can cause illnesses in humans, chronically contaminate many California water bodies. Among numerous sources, runoff from irrigated pastures has been identified as an important regulatory target for improving water quality. This study examined the potential to reduce E. coli contamination from cattle in irrigated pastures. During the 14 irrigation events examined, we found that E. coli concentrations were lowest with a combination of three treatments: filtering runoff through a natural wetland, reducing runoff rates, and letting the pasture rest from grazing at least a week prior to irrigation. Integrated pasture and tailwater management are required to significantly reduce E. coli concentrations in runoff.
Juniper removal may not increase overall Klamath River Basin water yields
by Timothy J. Kuhn , Kenneth W. Tate , David Cao , Melvin R. George
Based on published research and watershed assessment techniques, we evaluated the feasibility of augmenting water yields in the Klamath River and its major tributaries by removing western juniper, which has expanded dramatically within the Klamath River Basin over the past 130 years. The results suggest that the conversion of western juniper woodlands to shrublands or grasslands would not substantially increase water yields for the Basin as a whole. However, researchers should further examine the potential for juniper management to increase both summer flow rates in small tributaries and spring flows that support small wetlands across the upper Basin; other possible benefits could include restoring wildlife in sagebrush-rangeland habitat, reducing wildfire risks and increasing the land available for livestock grazing.
Most West Coast agricultural cooperatives are financially competitive
by Shermain D. Hardesty , Vikas D. Salgia
Agricultural producers and lenders have expressed concerns about the highly publicized financial difficulties experienced by some agricultural cooperatives. This study analyzes the comparative financial performance of cooperatives and investor-owned firms in four sectors: fruits and vegetables, dairy, farm supply and grain. Standard financial ratios measuring profitability, liquidity, leverage and asset efficiency were analyzed for 1991 through 2002. The overall financial performance of cooperatives on the West Coast was on par with that of similar investor-owned firms.
California farmers adapt mandated marketing programs to the 21st century
by Hoy Carman
Mandated marketing programs are an important component of California agriculture. The state's 63 marketing programs cover commodities that accounted for two-thirds of the total value of California agricultural output in 2004. California farmers have recently paid annual assessments totaling more than $226 million to support advertising, promotion, research and inspection programs. Marketing programs have evolved from emphasizing supply controls in the 1930s and 1940s to the current focus on generic advertising and promotion, food safety inspection, health and nutrition research, and market information.
editorial, news, letters & science briefs
Sustainable food systems link growers to new consumer markets in California
by Tom Tomich , Gail Feenstra
Science briefs: October-December 2007
Breaking new ground: UC Santa Cruz celebrates sustainable innovation in farming, food systems
by Hazel White
UC students eating local, organic produce
by Hazel White
Regulators and researchers seek innovative water-quality solutions
by Robin Meadows