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California's Napa Valley Vineyards Losing Water

ST. HELENA, Calif., Dec. 21 (UPI) — Slowing the rate of delivery would reduce the amount of water lost in vineyards in California’s Napa Valley, a Stanford researcher said.

Using water efficiently is a priority in the Napa Valley, where summers are hot and dry and grapevines must be irrigated to thrive.

Deep cracks caused by the natural shrinking and swelling of soil means that at least 10 percent of irrigation water bypasses vine roots and is wasted, Stanford researcher Eve Hinckley said.

Growers could reduce water loss by lowering irrigation drip lines to the ground or burying them, she said.

Growers also could slow the rate from drip emitters and irrigate earlier in the day for a longer period of time to allow more water to soak into the roots, rather letting the water bypass them altogether, the university said in a release Friday.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Drought, Drought & Shortages, Farming & Ranching, Land & Soil, Water Efficiency0 Comments

Global Warming Impacts Wine and Corn

STANFORD, Calif., Dec. 16 (UPI) — Stanford University scientists say they’ve determined global warming could significantly negatively impact U.S. wine and corn production.

The researchers, led by Assistant Professor Noah Diffenbaugh, said global warming has made the early arrival of spring commonplace across the planet.

“Our experiment is unprecedented,” he said. “It’s the first time a climate model has been applied at such spatial and temporal detail over such a long period of time.”

The researchers concluded, among other things, global warming could reduce the current U.S. wine grape region by 81 percent by the end of the century — primarily because of a projected sharp increase in the frequency of extremely hot days. They also determined that by the end of the 21st century, warmer growing seasons and milder winters could increase the population and geographic range of the corn earworm, an insect that preys on corn, tomatoes and other cash crops.

“In the case of agricultural pests, many of their ranges are limited by severe cold temperatures,” he said. “In our new simulations, we find that those temperatures could disappear over the next few decades, potentially leading to an expansion of pest pressure.”

The findings were presented this week in San Francisco during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Farming & Ranching, Food Industry, Global Warming & Climate Change, Other0 Comments

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