Honey supply looking up
California beekeepers may bring more honey to market this year, though exactly how much won't be known for a while. One keeper in Imperial County credits the winter rain with giving his bees plenty of forage and looks forward to a significant production boost. In Tulare County, beekeepers report a hit-and-miss citrus bloom, leading to uncertainties about honey supply. California is among the nation's top 10 honey-producing states.
Predicted almond acreage in California for 2019 breaks record
Almonds continue to be a popular crop in California, with acreage forecasted to reach a new record this year of 1.17 million bearing acres. Production is predicted to reach 2.5 billion pounds in 2019, a 9.6% increase over the previous year. An extended bloom period this spring helped compensate for disruptions from significant rainfall. The crop appears to be sizing well, leaving farmers optimistic.
Growers making hay of uncertain alfalfa market
With dairies still struggling financially, California alfalfa-hay growers say their biggest customers can't afford their product, leaving future prospects of the forage unclear. Harvest is ramping up, but acreage has been trending down. Farmers harvested 620,000 acres last year, the lowest on record. Growth in exports has helped, but an ongoing trade dispute with China and its retaliatory tariffs since last summer have reduced shipments to one of California's key offshore markets for alfalfa hay.
Scientists aim for tastier tomato
Your supermarket tomato might soon get a flavor boost. Scientists have constructed the pan-genome for the cultivated tomato and its wild ancestors, which includes genes from 725 different varieties and nearly 5,000 previously undocumented genes. The information can help breeders quickly develop new varieties for commercial production that retain both richer flavor profiles and traits important to growers such as yield, shelf life, disease resistance and stress tolerance.