Aronia: Native Fruit Crop for the United States

An old native fruit crop after being ignored for years is now being grown in the United States for its health giving qualities. It is also suitable for organic fruit production. The Black Aronia which it is often referred as chokeberry is a U.S. native plant that has become widely grown for fruit production in Eastern Europe. However it is now being recognized as an important health food in the United States. The aronia berry industry is a young developing market in the United States. The Aronia berry is about the size and color of a blueberry and comes in clusters of about 8 to 15. For this reason they are easy to pick. A mature Viking or Nero aronia plant (about 5 to 6 years) can yield over 20 lbs. They start fruiting (averaging 2 to 4 lbs of fruit per plant) within two growing seasons after planting.

A planting distance of 2.5 to 3 ft between aronia plants is suggested. This allows plants to sucker and fill in the space to form a hedgerow.. Thinning of the older canes is recommended after the plants are 3 to 5 years old. Cutting the plants down to about 3 foot height will invigorate the plant. If bushes are not thinned, they will grow too dense resulting in poor light exposure which leads to reduced productivity. Fruit is usually ripe in late August or mid September and ready to harvest. At harvest the fruit are usually at 19 to 21 Brix. Brix is the Percentage soluble solidsby weight. A high percent of soluble solids, high Brix value, is desirable. Bird damage is usually not a major problem in commercial plantings as the fruit is too bitter until they are ripe and even than they have an astringent taste. The plant is well adapted to its native home in zones 3 to 7 of North America and is suitable for growing commercially as an organically grown fruit crop. The commercial use of aronia is primarily to make juice. Either steam extraction or pressing the juice out with an apple cider press are effective methods. Freezing the berries first, before steam extraction or pressing them in an apple cider pres releases more juice. Aronia berries are very high in very important phenolic acids, procyanidins, and anthocyanins. When compared to other super healthy foods, aroniaberries stand out as the superior choice.
ORAC Values
Aronia fruits have high concentrations of flavonoids causing great interest in them because they are potent antioxidants. Aronia has a higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) than other domestic foods based on the reported results of foods for antioxidantactivity in 2010. The total ORAC score for raw Aronia fruit was over 16,000 µmol TE/100g. TE/100g is (micromoles Trolox Equivalents per 100 grams of fruit. These are the standard units for this ORAC test). Blueberries have ORAC score of a little over 4,600 µmol TE/100g. Raw Açai are reported to have a total ORAC value of only 5,500 µmol TE/100g which is far lower than the raw Aronia ORAC score. Acai a fruit imported from South America is a berry that has been in the headlines. Acai is one of thd leading marketed antioxident fruits but its ORAC is low compared to Aronia. Research shows Aronia has a higher ORAC than any other domestically grown and consumed berries in the USA.

Benefits of the Aronia Berry
  * It's antimicrobial properties promotes a healthy urinary tract
  * Has anti-inflammatory properties to help prevent and relieve arthritic symptoms
  * Fights bacteria and viruses, such as colds and the flu
  * Strengthens memory
  * Aids digestion
  * Helps the body produce good cholesterol and lower "bad" cholesterol
  * Provides the body with essential oils
  * Possible aid in the management of diabetes.
  * It has colon cancer-fighting properties
  * Aronia is high in fiber and contain pigments (anthocyanins) which can help prevent cancer.
  * Has the highest antioxidant capacity of any domestic food reported to date
  * Increases neurological, motor and cognitive functions.
  * May help to prevent neurological disorders such as dementia
  * Improve nighttime visual acuity and prevent and even reverse macular degeneration
  * Help fight against heart disease and other cardiovascular problems
  * Rich in vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and Folic acid.
  * It may slow the effects of aging

Security Concerns for the Agricultural Industry

Agricultural theft is on the rise according to the NFU Mutual rural crime survey. In England agricultural theft cost farmers £42.8m during 2010. This represents a 26% increase on the previous year.

Scotland saw thefts totaling £1.4m an increase of 57% over the same period, and in Northern Ireland theft had risen by 28% to £3.8m. Theft in Wales was recorded at £1.7m a reduction of 48% over the previous year.

These figures do not include the cost of lost revenue, replacing stolen equipment, or increased insurance premiums. Often insurance companies will only offer the current market value of stolen equipment including depreciation leaving owners in the tough situation of having to make up for the shortfall to replace the machinery.

The survey found that most theft occurred from outbuildings during the night and early hours of the morning. In fact the most common time reported for theft was between midnight and 6am, although tractor theft was often reported during broad daylight hours.

The countryside is proving to be a difficult area for crime prevention agencies to police effectively and the high value of agricultural equipment together with the lack of built in security devices makes them a prime target for thieves.

Theft of tractors is on the increase in part because over the years the car industry has upped its game, with manufacturers routinely equipping vehicles with alarms, immobilisers, high tech key fobs with rolling codes, and even tracking devices.

This makes them a much less attractive target for thieves who have moved on to agricultural vehicles which have typical security levels as seen thirty years ago in the car industry.

The One key fits all policy of agricultural manufacturers for their brands has been adding fuel to the fire, with large tractors being worth more than top of the range cars and often left unattended, this is something which the industry will need to address.

In many cases a single reported theft can involve several machines at the same time. In a recent case Farmer Nigel Hicks of Wallingford had three Massey Ferguson tractors stolen in just one night, along with a loader and a bailer.

It is not always possible to lock valuable equipment away when carrying out work away from your premises for a period of time. Earlier this year a Farmer in Wormingford reported the theft of two John Deere tractors, two dumper trailers, and a barrel of red diesel to the police. The machinery was taken while they were parked up for few days while digging a lake.

In the survey 71% of NFU branches said they believed rural crime was planned and carried out in an organised fashion, this was most often by thieves from outside of the area and the growing trend is for this machinery to be stolen from fields and outbuildings, and transported to warehouses, often to be stripped down for parts and shipped overseas.

In one recent case reported in the news, a tractor which was stolen from a farm in the Cotswolds turned up 2000 miles away in Cyprus.

Thieves will often park up stolen tractors in remote areas incase they have a hidden tracker installed. If after a period of time they have not been recovered by police they can assume there is no tracker fitted and move them on. This means that machinery fitted with tracking devhces benefit from a high rate of recovery without loss or damage.

Having a good tracking device fitted can also combat the theft of agricultural machinery if it is capable of actively alerting on any attempt to move the equipment, thus allowing the crime to be prevented before it happens.

Choosing The Type of Fish For an Aquaponics System

There are so many species of fish which can be raised in an aquaponics system. It depends on the territory because not all species of fish are allowed to be grown in some places. The regulations of the concerned area should be preferred before choosing the species of fish for food production system. The rules and regulations of the area are made on the basis of the climate of that particular area because the survival of the fishes is closely related to the climate. If a symbiotic environment is not given to the aquaponics system, the growth or survival of the fishes and plants is not possible.

To decide the best species of fish, the following must be considered:

1. What do you expect from your system?
If you expect to eat fish from your food production system, you need to grow the edible species of fish which provide protein, and that can live longer compared to other species. On the other hand, if you don't want to eat the fish grown in the system, you need not to grow edible fish. Ornamental fishes can be grown.

2. Availability of type of fish
The species of fish, available in the area have great importance because to stock the system with fish the farmer should buy the easily available species of fish.

There are thousand of species of fish which are able to grow in the aquatic system. Some popular species are:

Goldfish. This species of fish makes a remarkable addition to the system. Goldfish is bred in a fish tank in most areas but generally, they can be bred in a covered tank of plant within the fish tank.

Barramundi. An exceptional type of fish which is crispy in taste and is usually grown during hot weather. So, in the warmer month of the year it is recommended by the experience farmers.

Catfish. There are several types of catfish in the world that can be easily raised in an aquaponics. The Channel catfish are the famous fish among farmers in the United States of America and also in Australia because of its availability. They grow rapidly if a symbiotic environment is provided.

Carp. In many parts of Asia, carp species are grown because it is well suited for aquaponics cultivation. But, it has become a noxious pest to the native environment and waterways due to its reproductive capabilities and tough nature.

Jade Perch. It is an Australian fish. The quality of it's rapid growth and having the best level of omega 3 oil differentiates it from all other species of fish. It's omnivorous diet and warm water is considered the basic requirements for it.

Koi. It is a spdcies of carp, but known as KOI. It is famous in most of the Asian communities.

Silver perch. Silver perch is an Australian fish that is capable of growing rapidly under a variety of circumstances. They eat green scarps happily.

Murray cod. It is a magnificent kind of fish known as native Australian fish. It is also known for rapid growing and able to grow well in an aquaponics culture.

Tilapia. It is the best cultured fish all around the world and is the most popular specy to grow in aquaponics.

Trout. Trout is a type of fish which is very famous due to its amazing taste. It grows well in cooler water.