Oconee County Fruit Growers meeting is set for Wednesday, March 2nd from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm at Musser Fruit Research Farm in Seneca. There will be a variety of speakers and topics to help fruit growers meet their production goals in 2016. Featured topics will be orchard floor weed management, a peach research update, fire blight management strategies, and an update on apple rootstock trials. Cost is $10 and includes lunch. Please call the Oconee Extension office with your intentions to attend.
Time to Submit Tissue Samples of Winter Wheat
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture is reminding growers that properly timed spring nitrogen applications are essential to the growth and development of wheat. Assessing nitrogen needs now will optimize yield and economic return later, and is especially important for organic grain growers.
To decide how much spring nitrogen to apply, growers should submit a wheat sample to the NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division for plant tissue testing.
North Carolina growers wanting more information about tissue sampling should contact their regional agronomist, county Cooperative Extension agent or other agricultural adviser. Regional agronomists can offer advice on how to collect and submit tissue and biomass samples and how to interpret and use plant analysis report data
Appeals Court to Hear WOTUS Challenges
A federal appeals court this week ruled it will hear challenges to the Waters of the U.S. rule. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has agreed to hear challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule by 18 states. A Washington Post opinion piece writes the announcement to hear challenges on the rule “would seem to indicate that things look good for those challenging the rule for exceeding the scope of the Clean Water Act.” Challenges to the rule may also benefit from being heard in lower courts as the Supreme Court seems likely deadlocked in a 4-4 political tie for the near future following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
The states say the EPA goes too far with the rule, and that WOTUS would be costly to landowners. The EPA defends the rule as a safeguard for drinking water for 117 million Americans. The rule went into effect last August but is temporarily on hold pending resolution of the jurisdictional challenge. The 6th Circuit issued the federal stay last year.
South Africa Mulling Easing of GM Rules to Boost Corn Imports
South African officials plan to ease some of their rules regarding genetically modified crops. The effort aims to make it easier for South Africa to import corn from the U.S. and Mexico as it attempts to avert a food crisis. While nearly 90 percent of the nation’s corn is genetically modified, South Africa bans commodities with strains not approved by the government and it does not allow imports to be stored. The government is considering applications to register additional GMO varieties that would boost trade with the U.S.