Self-pollinating almond trees do away with bees

California farmers are turning to a new variety of self-pollinating almond tree, says NPR. With Independence almond trees, farmers don't have to hire commercial beehives.

California dairy farms try nuts

A handful of dairy farms have sold their cattle and converted to tree nuts, such as almonds, and many other California dairy producers are diversifying into orchards to improve their revenue, says Capital Press. It quotes Rabobank senior analyst Vernon Crowder as saying, "Most of our customers have diversified and are growing some type of nut."

Exports surge as drought trims California almond output

Drought and limited supplies of irrigation water in California will reduce the almond crop by 4 percent at the same time that the global appetite for the nut is on the rise, says the USDA. The biannual Tree Nut: World Markets and Trade report forecasts a 5-percent increase in U.S. exports, to 600,000 tonnes, "largely on additional shipments to China and India."

Salty irrigation water is a peril for California almond growers

The drought in California is creating an unexpected threat to the state's almond growers. Water drawn from wells on the west side of Central California is high in salt, says Valley Public Radio in Fresno, which could adversely affect crop yields.

As popularity of almonds surges, prices rise due to drought

America's almond craze - per-capita consumption doubled in the past seven years - "has come at a cost," says Bloomberg. Prices are up by $1 per pound from last year and growers feel the strain of the fourth year of drought in California, the largest almond producer.

The urban-vs-rural water war in California

The order by Gov. Jerry Brown for a 25-percent reduction in urban water use "reopened a generations-old, urban-versus-rural debate about who should control California’s water and how it can best be used," says the San Diego Union-Tribune. Critics say agriculture got a free pass from Brown because of political clout. The farm bloc says it already endures cutbacks. This is the second year of "zero allocation" of federal irrigation water to farmers and the state has cut its allocation to farms to 20 percent of normal, says the Union-Tribune.

Thirsty almond trees and parched wildlife in California

California is the world's largest grower of almonds, with trees on 860,000 acres, a crop that be imperiled especially in the drought now entering its fourth year, says the New York Times.