SoilMate’s Weekly News Digest #17
Current drought conditions make California look downright apocalyptic
Today’s temperature conditions in the western United States are hurting farmers, ranchers, and community members. In California, farmers are making difficult decisions about how to continue this growing season, knowing that there is already a shortage of water — and that it is likely to continue this summer. Some almond producers have already had to tear out the almond orchards because of the plant’s high water demand.
According to The Weather Channel, the current drought is one of the most extensive droughts in the United States in this century, and it will not go away anytime soon. According to Peter Gleick, a scientist on water resources and climate at the Pacific Institute, due to warm weather, the snow cover had almost disappeared by the end of May, about two months earlier than the average.
Producers with crop insurance will receive a premium for cover crops
Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are entitled to a premium from the United States Department of Agriculture if they have planted cover crops during this harvest year. The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) of the USDA’s Risk Management Agency helps farmers maintain their crop cover systems despite the financial problems associated with the pandemic. PCCP supports producers who insured their spring harvest and planted a suitable cover crop during the 2021 agricultural year.
There are programs in Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa that allow producers to receive premium benefits for planting cover crops — participating will receive an additional bonus.
Plant flowering in low-nitrogen soils: A mechanism revealed
Scientists from Japan, Europe, and the United States described a path leading to accelerated plants flowering on low nitrogen soils. These results may eventually lead to increased agricultural production.
Nitrogen is one of the three macroelements for growth and development, along with phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen-rich conditions cause plants to grow, mainly stems and leaves, delaying flowering. On the other hand, in some plants, conditions with low nitrogen content lead to a shift from growth to reproduction, which accelerates flowering.
Study: climate-friendly sovereign wealth funds choose energy, transport investments over agri-food products
According to a new study, sovereign wealth funds had invested about $2.3 billion in enterprises, technologies, and other projects directed to moderate climate change in 2020, more than double the amount funded the past year. Investors are investing a small proportion of their capital in agriculture, preferring renewable energy or low-emission transport.
Despite a relatively low estimate of the potential of agfood technologies, sovereign wealth funds have identified food and water scarcity and security as the most urgent issue posed by climate change — with 54% ranking it top along with extreme weather events in terms of the most dangerous physical effect.