Saturday, January 18, 2014

Farm to Farm Tour

(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 IMG_20140114_085736_266a 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. IMG_20140114_105948_093The 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.

IMG_20140114_083843_352 IMG_20140114_092550_404550 Case IH Tractor IMG_20140114_092554_338and Tillage tool to prepare the fields.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Just caught up on your blog posts and had a great time reading all the interesting info and seeing your good times with friends in Yuma. Enjoyed reading about your Farm Tour. Reminded me of the day the four of us stopped to watch them harvesting in the field. Say hi to our old friends. Take care,
Nancy and Jerry

 
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