AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Farmers are using an effective fertilizer made from what chickens leave behind.

"Chicken Litter" is a mixture of chicken manure and sawdust or other bedding material. An agricultural research service study showed the advantages of chicken litter over conventional fertilizers.

Litter is considered an organic soil conditioner. Research shows cotton yields peaked 12-percent higher with organic fertilizers, compared to peak yields with synthetic fertilizers.

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Mexico is scoping out its Pacific Coast farmland for possible kiwi production with the help of technicians from New Zealand.

Mexico ag officials say strawberries and other fruit that need similar conditions as kiwis are thriving in Mexico's central pacific states. The idea is still in the exploratory phase and there is no date for when production might begin.

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A conservation group is working to add a northern California bumblebee to the endangered species list.

Environmentalists say the petition for the "Franklin bumblebee" is part of an effort to reverse the decline of bees around the world due to habitat loss, pesticides and diseases. Bumblebees pollinate about 15 percent of all crops grown in the nation.

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Americans are drinking less beer and barley farmers are not toasting to the new trend.

The U.S.D.A. says barley plantings are down 8 percent nationwide this year. It could result in the lowest barley planted acreage on record.

The Montana Billings Gazette reports, there's still barley in storage from 2009 and the 2010 crop is just a couple months from being harvested.

Barley farmers who received about $13 per hundred-weight contract last year are looking at a significantly lower price this year.

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