When deciding what crops to grow during a season, growers look at several factors. Do the crops have a good yield in their area? Does the area currently have the resources - usually water - to grow that crop? Will the crop give a return on the investment? And, what are the future effects that growing that crop might have on the grower’s fields?
That’s many factors!
In California, growers usually choose warm season crops: ones that grow from March to October. But, extension agronomist Stephen Kaffka, and his team at University of California Davis, including project scientist Nic George, explored growing cool season crops in the same areas. These are grown from October to June.
Why? “Warm-season crops require a lot of irrigation water,” says Kaffka. “They tend to be high-value, but water-demanding. Cool season crops have three advantages: the cooler temperatures allow plants to grow without losing as much water through transpiration (like humans’ sweat) as crops that grow during hot weather. There is also less evaporation of moisture from the soil. Lastly, the cool season is when California, in particular, gets most of its rainfall - so cool season crops benefit from this direct source of water.”
Read more at American Society of Agronomy
Photo credit: Provided by Crop Science Society of America