GEOGRAPHY: Yuma County, in southwest Arizona, encompasses approximately 5,561 square miles of desert interspersed with rugged mountains. An abundance of arable land in valley regions, coupled with a warm, dry climate, results in a thriving agricultural business. There are 237,742 acres of farm land in Yuma County, with 195,416 cropped. The Colorado River is the source of irrigation water for the Yuma Mesa and surrounding valleys. The county agricultural water use totals 920,000 acre feet per year. Crops grown east of the Wellton-Mohawk project and east of San Luis are irrigated from wells. Federal and State governments own 89% of the county's total land and 11% is privately owned.
CLIMATE: Average length of growing season (days above 32 F minimum) is 340 days at the Yuma Mesa Ag Center and 350 days at the Yuma Valley Ag Center. Some areas are almost frost-free. Sunshine averages 91.2% of possible time with the average annual high temperature of 87.9 F and the average annual low temperature of 60.5 F. Average yearly rainfall in Yuma County is 3.17 inches.
AGRICULTURE: Value of crops, fruits and vegetables produced on Yuma County farms and ranches was just over $609 million in 2000.
Principal field crops produced are grain, hay and cotton. Vegetable crops continue to be increasingly important and generated almost $470 million, the highest returns for any commodity group. Lettuce was the principal vegetable crop with supplies available from mid November into April, and grossing 86% of the vegetable income. Citrus fruit grossed over $50 million in 2000, with lemons as the major crop. Seed crops are important with more than 5,500 acres grown, grossing over $12 million.
Sales of fat cattle is the county's leading livestock operation. Most of the money generated by the livestock industry is from cattle on feed. Sheep graze alfalfa fields from late fall through winter. Accurate figures on gross income from livestock were not available.
The 1997 farm census indicates 465 farms averaging 511 acres per farm. The Yuma Agribusiness profile published on 2/90 by the Arizona Department of Commerce indicates that 211 agricultural related businesses exist in Yuma County. Ag employment peeks in December. In 1996, agriculture employed 45,984 workers.
Prepared by Barry Tickes and Mohammed Zerkoune, Extension Agents, Agriculture; Barry Bequette, Extension Director and Jean Carter, Administrative Secretary, using Arizona Crop & Livestock Reporting Service 2000 Arizona Agricultural Statistics and other sources.
* Includes Cottonseed (ac. same as Lint), & Safflower
** Includes Bok Choy, Cabbage, Kale, and Napa
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, James A. Christenson, Director Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona.
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Information provided by:
Barry Bequette, firstname.lastname@example.org Extension Agent, Urban Horticulture
Barry Tickes, email@example.com Extension Agent, Yuma County
Mohammed Zerkoune, firstname.lastname@example.org Extension Agent, Agriculture
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Material written November 2001.
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