Announcements

Job offersmore »



Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




US (NM): Salty groundwater threatens chiles

To say that chile peppers are a huge deal in New Mexico is a huge understatement — the spicy Capsicum is the subject of magazines, festivals and even have their own institute at the University of New Mexico. But, reports NPR’s Mónica Ortiz Uribe, something’s threatening the Land of Enchantment’s signature spicy vegetable: salty groundwater that’s being made even worse by drought.

Oribe reports that New Mexico’s chile crop has been declining due to rising salt in the state’s aquifers. Since the Rio Grande River has been low on water, writes Oribe, farmers have turned to underground aquifers to irrigate their crops.

“But while groundwater can be a blessing, it’s also a curse,” she notes — New Mexico’s shallow aquifers concentrate and intensify geologic concentrations of salt, making groundwater four times as salty over the last four years. This in turn weakens the roots of chile peppers and other crops, leading to dwindling harvests.

One solution would be to get more water from the Rio Grande, but The New York Times’ Michael Wines reports that the once-mighty river is “now a trickle under siege,” suffering under the drought that has gripped much of the West. The river has something else in common with its Western neighbors: it’s highly dependent on snowmelt to supply its water. Albert Rango writes in the New Mexico Journal of Science that snowmelt supplies between 50 and 70 percent of the river’s flow.

For now, the Rio Grande and New Mexico are caught in a vicious cycle: higher temperatures lead to less snow, which leads to higher salt levels in the fields. And though Oribe notes that farmers are trying alternative methods, like drip irrigation that can protect roots from salty water, it’s not clear that Western droughts — or New Mexico’s falling chile production — will get better any time soon.

Source: smithsonianmag.com

Publication date: 6/15/2015

 


 

Other news in this sector:

6/22/2018 US (CA): Creating online training for organic specialty crop production
6/21/2018 US (MI): "Low tunnels do not have the desired effect this year"
6/21/2018 US (CA): Growers in berry country get innovative to save water
6/21/2018 Flying greenhouse from Bremen goes into space
6/20/2018 Bas Vet new cultivation adviser
6/19/2018 Climate & Food Security programme in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
6/19/2018 US: Low Tunnel Strawberry Production Guide released
6/18/2018 Energy-efficient practices in organic greenhouses
6/18/2018 "I feel confident we can grow Gina consistently for many years"
6/15/2018 "Early production runs ahead when eggplant plants are topped"
6/15/2018 How to impact a crop's vertical temperature profile
6/14/2018 Kazakhstan: Drip irrigation indispensable in agriculture
6/14/2018 UK: AHDB launches farm data sharing project
6/14/2018 India: HollandDoor launches new three-year horticultural programme
6/13/2018 US (TX): Helping tomato producers make better connections through grafting
6/13/2018 "Environmental changes could reduce global production of vegetables"
6/13/2018 Kyrgyz president visits Chinese ag academy
6/13/2018 Enhanced growing system with new gutter type
6/8/2018 "Create value with your own data"
6/8/2018 St. Lucia: Growers learn about greenhouse tomato cultivation