(Posted Fri. Jan 27th, 2012)

RBDAT with California Citrus GrowersJan. 27:  The National Corn Growers Association’s Research and Business Development Action Team investigated plant nitrogen use efficiency at its meeting this week in Fresno, Calif. Team members toured Biagro Western, where they saw several varieties of citrus crops, and heard a presentation on nitrogen efficiency in plants.


Biagro is commercializing a metabolite, developed by Pat Unkefer of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bioscience Division, that modifies a plant’s metabolism by raising the amount of carbon dioxide the plant takes from the air and nitrogen from the soil.


“Although not much field testing has been done on corn, the team encouraged Biagro scientists to do more,” said team Chair DeVonna Zeug, a grower from Minnesota. “Farmers welcome technologies that can help reduce the cost and environmental pressure of inputs such as nitrogen.”


The team also toured University of California Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Kearney, along with members of NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team, where they learned about the management practices associated with growing pistachios, raisins, oranges, pomegranates and other crops common to the area.


A highlight of the tour was visiting J.M. Gorden Ag’s citrus farm. Not only did the group benefit from discussing the challenges and opportunities of growing citrus with producers, they particularly enjoyed tasting what a navel orange is like at its peak flavor right off the tree.