[2012] Yasaru Gunaratne: San Joaquin Valley

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by rhorry
Last updated 7 years ago

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Social Studies
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Geography

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[2012] Yasaru Gunaratne: San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley produces the majority of the 12.8% of the U.S.A’s agricultural production, larger than any other agricultural production area in the U.S. The area produces both exotic and local foods, some being grapes (wines and raisins), cotton, nuts, citrus and vegetables. The San Joaquin Valley has been referred to as the "The food basket of the World", however it has not been recognised nationally for the diversity of its produce. The San Joaquin Valley harbours over 400 different crops, the most diverse in the U.S. The Valley is home to the largest cotton and raisin farm in the world producing a large chunk of the world’s cotton and raisins. This area is also home to diminishing cattle and sheep industry.

Different crops have different biological needs. Therefore soil properties and climate have to be altered to meet these needs. Temperatures in the valley range from 2ºC in winter to a staggering 38ºC in summer. The San Joaquin Valley receives very little rainfall, about 50ml in winter and about 7ml in summer. This restricts the year-round growth of many crops, and forces farmers to resort to crop rotation. Also the lack of precipitation in summer restricts the growth of many plants in large quantities. Also, the unreliable climate forces farmers to grow their crops in temperature and water controlled greenhouses. These require substantial funds to set up and engulf large areas of land, while consuming large amounts of resources to maintain. Farmers have also designed new farming techniques to adapt to these unforgiving conditions; dry farming is one of these techniques. Crops such as olives and cherries are farmed using dry farming. The climate of the San Joaquin favours certain crops and restricts farmers from producing exotic crops. Even though the climate is harsh, the soil in California is one of the most productive soils on the planet and allows many plants to thrive.

The San Joaquin Valley one of the most productive places in the U.S. however, it faces many environmental concerns and has an inefficient food production system. Some of the farming methods are out-of-date and ineffective in the hot climate. California has a strong Latin American influence therefore, many of the farming techniques are derived from there. Irrigation is one of the main ways of farming in these areas however; due to water conservation irrigation is rapidly diminishing. Drip and flood irrigation are used in the growing of many plants however due to the overuse of water this now being replaced with sprinklers and spray farming. Most crops are harvested by machinery however everything is still hand planted and hand fertilised. Another method used in farming is the practice of dry farming, which uses the moisture in the soil after the wet season, instead of constant watering. Farmers also grow their crops in temperature and water controlled green houses.

The San Joaquin valley is located in central California. It stretches from Sacramento Valley– San Joaquin River Delta in the north and to the Tehachapi Mountains in the south. The San Joaquin Delta is located here and is the life blood of this agricultural hotspot. However this river does not stretch for the length of the valley, it stretches merely to Fresno. From there south the valley is dependent on water from the Tulare Lake and other such rivers surrounding the area.

WHAT?

WHERE?

HOW?

SOIL ISSUES

WATER ISSUES

BIOPHISICAL?

San Joaquin Valley


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