(Chuck) We took what is billed as a Farm to Farm Tour in Yuma, Arizona. When we inquired about the tours, we were informed that this was to be more for those with agricultural backgrounds than the more familiar Farm to Feast Tours. It was a good experience. It was led by Dr. Curt Nolte of the University of Arizona. We took a bus tour of the Colorado River bottom and the upland Mesa. They consist of two distinctly different soil profiles. The river bottom are heavy clay which lends itself to vegetable production. The Colorado silt is 5 to 25 feet in depth and requires about 3 acre feet of water per year. The upland soil is very sandy and lends itself to deeper rooted citrus crops. The citrus production is declining due to price competition and demands about twice the water. There is about 58,000 acres in irrigation. All water is delivered by gravity flow from the Laguna and Imperial Dam Projects on the Colorado River. The 35 growers in the Yuma area require 50,000 workers per day in the November through March season. Yuma is the lettuce capitol of the US as 1,000 trucks per day are sent to all parts of the nation. There are 25 cooler plants and 10 salad plants which cool and process the produce. Cost of the water is a modest $18 per acre foot. The Colorado River water contains natural gypsum content which is leached from the rock as it flows from the mountains. This is very good as it balances the excessive salinity of the soil. Fences are required lately to protect from animal intrusions which have resulted in e-coli outbreaks in recent years.
On the tour we stopped at Steve Alemeda’s machinery lot. Steve is the owner of Topflavor Farms and a tireless promoter of Yuma’s agriculture. He is President of the Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association. We had a chance to observe the construction of a planter which was being built for use on his vegetable crops. He gave us good insights on the challenges of managing labor, machinery, farm inputs, weed control and other aspects of crop production.
|550 Case IH Tractor||and Tillage tool to prepare the fields.|