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Officials release new weevil to battle yellow starthistle

by Jeannette E. Warnert

Posted on Sunday May 23, 2021, 8:25 pm

In April 2021, scientists released weevils from the Mediterranean region of Europe at the Bureau of Land Management Magnolia Ranch day-use area in El Dorado County to join the battle against yellow starthistle. Yellow starthistle rosette weevil is a newly approved natural enemy of yellow starthistle, which was introduced in California more than 150 years ago and, with no natural enemies in its new location, became one of the state's most harmful weeds, infesting nearly 15 million acres.

In California, yellow starthistle can grow to shoulder height, forming massive, thorny patches that block hiking trails, crowd out native plants and present a wildfire danger. The plant is toxic to horses and its flowers are encircled by inch-long sharp spines that can pierce the eyes of grazing animals.

UC Cooperative Extension has worked for decades with landowners to manage ye...

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Piglets Pay the Price of Mom’s Heat Stress

by Jan Suszkiw - ARS

Posted on Sunday May 23, 2021, 8:19 pm

Piglets born to heat-stressed sows may carry the burden of their mom’s discomfort later in life in the form of health complications and diminished performance. Now, this so-called "in utero heat stress" may also hypersensitize the piglet’s immune system, potentially doing more harm than good to the young animals, a team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists has learned.

Pigs are more susceptible to heat stress due to an inability to sweat. This places them at greater risk of health and production problems that can add up to millions of dollars annually in revenue losses to swine producers.

Research has shown that pigs experiencing heat stress during pregnancy can predispose their offspring to complications later in life that can lead to diminished performance, including efficient feed use, growth rate and ultimately, pork producti...

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Beef cattle grazing more help than harm for endangered plants and animals

by Sheila J. Barry

Posted on Sunday May 23, 2021, 8:08 pm

Well-managed grazing can control non-native plants and maintain habitat and ecosystems to support a variety of species

Research recently published in the journal Sustainability documents a role for livestock grazing to support the conservation of imperiled plant and animal species in California.

Livestock grazing occurs in every county except San Francisco and is the single greatest land use in California. Grazing livestock, primarily beef cattle, often share lands with threatened and endangered species. California has more federally listed threatened and endangered species (287 plants and animals) than any other state in the continental US. While this is a result of our state's varied climate, soils and topography, the threat to diversity is predominantly from habitat loss due to land use change. Housing and urban development, solar and wind farms, cultivated ...

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Targeted wintertime flooding on ag fields could improve the water supply for rural Californians

by Jeannette E. Warnert

Posted on Sunday May 23, 2021, 8:00 pm

When droughts strike California, people who rely on shallow domestic wells for their drinking, cooking and washing water are among the first to feel the pain. Aquifers have become depleted from decades of overuse. Drilling deeper is an option for farmers, but prohibitively expensive for low-income residents in disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley.

A UC scientist believes managed aquifer recharge on agricultural lands close to populations with parched wells is a hopeful solution.

Helen Dahlke, professor in integrated hydrologic sciences at UC Davis, has been evaluating scenarios for flooding agricultural land when excess water is available during the winter in order to recharge groundwater. If relatively clean mountain runoff is used, the water filtering down to the aquifer will address another major groundwater concern: nitrogen and pesticide cont...

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In Celebration of World Bee Day, Registered Dietitian Maggie Michalczyk Shared Planet Friendly Tips and Recipes

by Honey Board

Posted on Sunday May 23, 2021, 7:52 pm

In celebration of World Bee Day, the National Honey Board continued their partnership with registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, highlighting a few of her favorite planet-friendly tips and #NaturallyWithHoney mealtime inspirations. This collaboration celebrates the hardworking honey bee and serves as a reminder to celebrate them regularly. Honey bees are vital to the health of the planet and the food chain as they are responsible for more than 35 percent of the foods we eat and the honey we enjoy. Furthermore, when you buy honey, you are supporting beekeepers' ability to keep healthy bees.

Michalczyk likes to stay mindful of natural ingredients, such as wholesome honey, which she incorporates into her day-to-day, understanding it's the first step to feeling her best and being environmentally conscious. Some all-natural sweeteners are created through extreme heat, chemica...

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