Drought, Hot Temperatures Could Halt UC Davis Agriculture Research

ARBUCKLE (CBS13) — The hot temperatures are making the drought harder to handle and manage, especially for a group of scientists working to study water usage.

The dry weather could put the brakes on tests studying the best growing techniques for farmers.

It isn’t an ordinary orchard near Arbuckle that brings almonds or walnuts to your kitchen counter, it’s a giant lab of sorts run by the University of California cooperative extension.

“We do all sorts of trials looking to improve efficiency of production—root stocks, pruning, different varieties,” said Franz Niederholzer.

He oversees the research orchard, which aims to help farmers choose the best growing techniques and ultimately save them money.

“One of the nice things is you can see what’s worked for them, and what hasn’t,” almond farmer Pat Gallagher said. “And if something’s worked for them you can try and implement that.”

But the crop tests done here could run out of what they rely on the most: water.

Just like many California farms, this one will not be getting any water from the feds or state because of the drought. The orchard did get some water bought on the open market from farmers who didn’t need it.

But that’s a band-aid on the wound that is our historic drought.

Without water, the trees could die and the research on sunlight, pruning and soil would be stopped in its tracks.

Farmers at the research orchard’s annual meeting say if that happens, they will lose out on research and information that helps them bring better crops to the dinner table.

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