Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Berkshire Farm Girl discovers what challenges farmers face in California where water is a scarce commodity



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


Berkshire Farm Girl, aka Eleanor Gilbert, is on a mission to educate people about farming in the 21st century.

Eleanor juggles studying at Harper Adams Agricultural University in Shropshire with helping out on the family farm in Newbury. She recently returned from a trip in California, where she discovered about farming techniques in a very different climate

Pistachios, dates, figs, oranges, lemon, vines, nuts, these were just some of the foods seen growing during my recent trip to California.

Eleanor visits a Krone machinery dealership in California
Eleanor visits a Krone machinery dealership in California
Water is a scarce commodity for farmers in California
Water is a scarce commodity for farmers in California
Berkshire Farm Girl Eleanor Gilber visits California
Berkshire Farm Girl Eleanor Gilber visits California

Like most of us who work in the farming industry in the UK, US farmers also face extreme challenges to produce foods that we eat every day.

California is very proud and very protective of the food they produce. While they have fantastic sunshine and ideal cropping soils, the lack of water is one of the biggest issues they face.

During my recent trip to the USA there was hardly a farm or field without a sign saying “save our water”, as farmers try to protect this valuable resource.

Eleanor uses a weather gauge which measures rainfall, temperature, humidity and windspeed at Rookery Farm
Eleanor uses a weather gauge which measures rainfall, temperature, humidity and windspeed at Rookery Farm
Eleanor uses a weather gauge which measures rainfall, temperature, humidity and windspeed at Rookery Farm
Eleanor uses a weather gauge which measures rainfall, temperature, humidity and windspeed at Rookery Farm

Eighty per cent of all water used in California is used by the agricultural industry and by law you can only water your own garden on certain days of the week and never on Sundays.

While we may grumble about the fact it is always raining here in the UK, we do benefit from a lush green countryside. It made me realise how lucky we are to have access to this essential and important resource.

In California, irrigation systems are a must. Every field I came across had special irrigation systems put in place. Their latest technology was a drip irrigation, a more targeted system to save water.

It is common practice for farmers in California to forego a whole crop to save another. Normally the best paid crop would be saved and the other crops will be ripped up and destroyed to conserve water.

I was lucky enough to see some great machinery while I was out there too, including tree shakers. They grab the base of the trees, shaking the produce off the branches.

John Deere launched the first JD 8R autonomous tractor that was showcased in Las Vegas in the CES 2022 (Consumer Electronics Show). This is an industry first and one to watch as the world begins to run using automated equipment to feed the ever growing population.

This is certainly interesting after taking part in BBC Countryfile and being involved with the hands-free hectare project with Harper Adams University.

The John Deere 8R will be available to farmers later this year with its specific purpose: feeding the world.

The global population is expected to grow from around 8 billion to nearly 10 billion people by 2050, increasing the global food demand by 50%.

Furthermore, farmers must feed this growing population with less available land and skilled labour, as well as work through the variables inherent in farming, like changing weather conditions and climate.

As a human race, we take for granted how reliant we are on the weather, to ensure we can grow the food we need to survive, wherever you live in the world.

As climate change is discussed more and more, food production should be at the centre of this discussion.

From Out & About magazine Spring 2022



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More