Florida Citrus Clean-up and Farmers Planting More Cover Crops
**Florida citrus growers continue to pick up the pieces from the devastation of hurricane Irma. The University of Florida Extension office reports statewide citrus crops are 50 % decimated, with losses estimated to exceed $1 billion.
According to Agri-Pulse, Glades County was hardest hit with localized losses between 70-80 percent.
It could be another week before electricity returns to areas hardest hit.
**The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research announced a $15-million-dollar contribution, its biggest grant to date, to a five-year, $45-million research project that promises to boost crop yields 20% by improving photosynthetic efficiency.
The project is co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to Agri-Pulse, the Foundation, established in the 2014 farm bill, claims the project will harness a plant's photosynthesis process to increase yield. The funding is aimed at breaking through “stagnant yield ceilings” for staple crops like soybeans, cassava and cowpeas, easing food insecurity around the world.
**A 2017 survey shows farmers are planting more cover crops. The survey, from the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and the Conservation Technology Information Center, shows cover crop acreage has steadily increased since 2012.
CTIC’s Chad Watts tells Brownfield the survey shows farmers use cover crops to increase yields in corn, soybeans, and wheat … and have seen about a two bushel increase.
He says farmers are also motivated to use cover crops to better control herbicide-resistant weeds and 69% of the respondents saw an improvement.