Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

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UC updates costs and returns of growing processing tomatoes


UC Agricultural Issues Center has updated its estimated costs of producing transplanted processing tomatoes under subsurface drip irrigation in the Sacramento Valley.
UC Agricultural Issues Center has released an updated study on the costs and returns of producing transplanted processing tomatoes under subsurface drip irrigation in the Sacramento Valley and northern Delta region.

The analysis is based upon a hypothetical well-managed farming operation using practices common to the region. The costs, materials and practices shown in this study will not apply to all farms. Growers, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors and other agricultural associates provided input and reviewed the methods and findings of the study.

The hypothetical 3,500-acre farm, focuses on production costs for growing transplanted processing tomatoes under subsurface drip irrigation on 60-inch beds in San Joaquin County and the lower Sacramento Valley.

Gene Miyao examines a transplanted tomato plant. Photo courtesy of Davis Enterprise
The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for production, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. Ranging analysis tables show profits over a range of prices and yields. Other tables show the monthly cash costs, the costs and returns per acre, hourly equipment costs, and the whole farm annual equipment, investment and business overhead costs.

The new study, “Sample Costs to Produce Processing Tomatoes, Sub-Surface Drip Irrigated (SDI) in the Sacramento Valley & Northern Delta – 2017,” and sample cost-of-production studies for many other commodities are available for free. To download the cost studies, visit the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at http://coststudies.ucdavis.edu.

For additional information or an explanation of the calculations used in the studies, contact the Agricultural Issues Center's Donald Stewart at (530) 752-4651 or destewart@ucdavis.edu, Brenna Aegerter, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for San Joaquin County at bjaegerter@ucanr.edu, or Gene Miyao, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties at emmiyao@ucanr.edu.

The cost and returns program is funded by the UC Agricultural Issues Center, which is part of UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Posted on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 12:18 PM

Bats, allies to farmers, return home to roost in spring

Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) eats a moth in flight. Photo credited to Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation

Bats, those night-flying creatures of horror film fame, are beginning to migrate back to the Central Valley. It is an annual journey for most bats, flying south for the winter and returning home in the spring to their birth place to roost and give birth to their own pups during the summer.

“I'm getting a number of calls from people who see bats and are worried about them,” said Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties. “If people see bats on the ground or tucked into eaves, they're likely resting, not sick, from their long migration north.”

Because the insect-eating winged mammals are important allies to U.S. farmers, Long hopes people won't harm the bats while they are tired and vulnerable. Bats feed on some of the most damaging crop pests – including the moths of cutworms and armyworms – which helps to protect food crops naturally.

Farmers appreciate the pest control provided by bats and many look forward to having bats return to their farms each year, according to Long, who coauthored a study of farmer perceptions of wildlife recently published online in Conservation Letters, a journal of the Society for Conservation Biology.

“Most of the farmers surveyed reported that they like bats and the pest control and crop protection services they provide,” Long said. “Many put up bat boxes on their farms to provide a home for them.”

Rachael Long shines a flashlight into bat houses to identify bat species inside. Photo courtesy of Bat Conservation International

In their long journey north, bats need to rest along the way. Sometimes they turn up in areas where they're not wanted, such as in a corner of a porch or in an eave. The presence of bats is often revealed by their mouse-like droppings, or guano.

“In the sun, the guano sparkles, as it's made of bits of insect parts, making it a good source of nitrogen for plants,” Long said.

Bats live for about 30 years and bear only one pup a year. Males roost independently of females and their pups, so if you see a lone bat, it's likely a bachelor.

“If you find a bat, please leave it alone if it's not bothering anyone because it may be perfectly healthy, just tired,” Long said. “A farmer somewhere may be waiting for that bat to come home to help protect crops from insects.”

If you see a bat on the ground, Long suggests placing a box over it and calling a wildlife rescue organization, such as Northern California Bats in Davis. She recommends wildlife rescue because animal control officers must euthanize all bats they catch to test for rabies, which may be unnecessary unless a person or a pet had contact with the bat.


Further reading:

Migrating bats may be resting, not sick, says UC bat expert

Farmer Perceptions and Behaviors Related to Wildlife and on-farm Conservation Actions

UC Integrated Pest Management Pest Note on Bats

Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 1:25 PM
Tags: bats (2), Rachael Long (3)

David Lewis to receive Bradford Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award

The Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis has announced that David Lewis, UC Cooperative Extension watershed advisor for California's north bay and UC Davis alumnus, is this year's recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award.

For 17 years, Lewis has served as a UC Cooperative Extension advisor, helping farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and other stakeholders solve challenging and contentious issues surrounding the health of their watersheds.

The Bradford Rominger award honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist.

“David epitomizes the very fiber of character that this award celebrates,” says Kenneth Tate, Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Science at UC Davis and 2012 Bradford Rominger award recipient.

UCCE watershe advisor David Lewis is the 2017 recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award.

After starting his work in sustainability with the Peace Corps in Africa and completing a master's degree in international agricultural development at UC Davis, Lewis joined UC Cooperative Extension as its first watershed advisor.

Tate praises Lewis' ability to “put his quiet, honest, credible manner to good work” to help build trust and understanding so communities can have frank discussions about the challenges facing their watersheds.

Lewis' accomplishments include helping to reduce the dairy pollution hurting the oyster beds of Tomales Bay and helping ranchers reduce erosion on their property, letting them play a key role in conserving critical coho salmon habitat and protecting the water quality of north coast rivers.

“I help my communities work towards a shared goal,” says Lewis, reflecting on his role as a leader.

“Marin County and places like it have placed a value on open working landscapes, and made land use policies 40 years ago to protect them. As we face new challenges, whether it's a new invasive weed or where solar panels can go, we can always go back to that shared value.”

For Lewis, many of those successes stem from an eagerness to hear and understand the needs of community members, something he considers a privilege of his job. 

“When talking with people at their kitchen tables or at the gates at their ranches, I get to feel the deep knowledge and connection people have with the landscape, hear their family histories and desires to innovate and do something different. And I appreciate that I've got a small role in it somewhere.”

Lewis will be presented the award at the Shepherds of Sustainability: Celebrating Leadership in Watersheds, Rangeland, and Livestock Sustainability event April 19 in Davis. The event is free and open to the public. Students are strongly encouraged to attend.

The Shepherds of Sustainability event will include an award ceremony and talks by David Lewis and keynote speaker Anya Fernald, CEO of Belcampo — a collection of organic ranches, butcher shops, and restaurants in California and an agritourism venture in Belize — on the topic of expanding awareness and access to sustainable foods. Fernald was recently recognized in Food & Wine's “40 under 40” list and featured in profiles in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and has served as a regular judge on Iron Chef America.

Keynote speaker Anya Fernald will speak about expanding awareness and access to sustainable foods at the 'Shepherds of Sustainability' event April 19 in Davis.

More Information on the event and award can be found on the Agricultural Sustainability Institute's website.

Shepherds of Sustainability: Celebrating Leadership in Watersheds, Rangeland, and Livestock Sustainability event & Bradford Rominger award ceremony

Wednesday, April 19
International House Davis, 10 College Park, Davis

4:00 p.m.: Student only discussion with David Lewis and Anya Fernald on leadership in agricultural sustainability
5:30 p.m.: Award ceremony and talk by Anya Fernald on the topic of expanding awareness and access to sustainable foods
7:00 p.m.:  Reception




Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 1:25 PM
  • Author: Aubrey White

Protect your poultry from avian flu

To prevent exposure to avian influenza virus, use housing, fencing or netting to prevent contact between your birds and wild birds, say UC poultry experts.

University of California poultry experts are urging poultry owners to examine biosecurity for their flocks after avian influenza was confirmed in commercial chickens in Tennessee by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Sunday (March 5). To protect the birds' health, UC scientists recommend taking measures to prevent poultry from coming into contact with wild birds.

"Based on the initial sequence of the virus, the source of the virus is thought to be waterfowl, said Maurice Pitesky, UC Cooperative Extension poultry specialist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. “This is consistent with the current understanding of how avian influenza spreads and evolves. Specifically, juveniles are infected at breeding locations and travel south in the fall carrying virus. As the waterfowl move southward, they are more likely to interact with other species, increasing the risk of interspecies transmission and formation of new varieties of avian influenza.”

Lincoln County is located in an area identified by UC researchers as one of the medium-high risk areas for avian influenza.

The case in Lincoln County, Tenn., is the first report of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza in commercial poultry in the United States this year. The flock of 73,500 affected chickens is located within the Mississippi Flyway, one of four North American flyways for migratory birds.

“Lincoln County is located in one of the medium-high risk areas that were identified by our risk map, said Beatriz Martínez López, director of the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.

Avoid using water that comes from sources where waterfowl migrate. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researcher, who studies risk factors for the spread of avian influenza, noted that California is within the Pacific Flyway.

“We need to increase awareness of poultry producers to maximize the biosecurity implemented in their operations, particularly in those located in high risk areas, mainly farms that are in close proximity to wetlands or other wild bird feeding and resting areas,” said Martínez López.

Poultry owners can identify biosecurity strengths and weaknesses for their own farm or backyard flock by filling out a free survey designed by Martínez López and other poultry experts. People who raise chickens, quail, ducks, turkeys, geese or other birds anywhere in the United States are invited to use the resource. At the end of the survey, participants receive specific research-based recommendations of biosecurity measures they can apply on their own types of farms. The poultry biosecurity survey is available in English http://bit.ly/2kkMycf and Spanish http://bit.ly/2mjO13G. The survey takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and will be open until June 1.

If you would like UC Cooperative Extension to notify you if there is an avian influenza outbreak in your area, sign up on the California Poultry Census page: http://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/California_Poultry_Census.

Owners of backyard chickens who observe illness or increased mortality among their birds should call their veterinarian or the California Department of Food Agriculture sick bird hotline at (866) 922-BIRD (2473).

For more information about raising poultry, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry.

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 5:01 PM

Californians win national 4-H Youth in Action Awards

California 4-H members Bryanne Sanchez, left, and Samuel Sugarman are winners of the 2017 national 4-H Youth in Action Awards. Each will receive a $5,000 scholarship and serve as a 4-H spokesperson.

California 4-H members Bryanne Sanchez and Samuel Sugarman are winners of the 2017 national 4-H Youth in Action Awards, National 4-H Council announced today (Feb. 21).  

Sanchez, of Imperial, was selected as winner of the 4-H Youth in Action Award for Healthy Living for the true leadership she has demonstrated as an advocate for healthy lifestyles in her community and across the state. In an effort to address the 62 percent obesity rate in her county, Sanchez annually hosts the Imperial County 4-H Color Me Green run. The race, which also includes a local business health fair, gave away more than 90 boxes of fresh produce to runners and their families in 2017.

Sugarman, of Encinitas, was selected as winner of the 4-H Youth in Action Award for Agriculture for his true leadership through agriculture education and his free Farm Tour Program. Sugarman created the Farm Tour Program to connect youth in his community with animals and nature. Over the past five years, Sugarman led hundreds of farm tours, educating youth about sustainable agriculture, where food comes from, and respect for animals and the earth.

"As a teen leader, I hosted lots of project meetings at my farm and saw how beneficial it was for urban children to interact with the animals," Sugarman said. "When children grow up disconnected from their food, from animals and from the earth, they miss opportunities to develop qualities of stewardship, compassion, patience and gratitude."

As a California 4-H State Ambassador, Sanchez organized a "Text Talk Act" campaign to bring awareness to mental health issues. She also organized the educational component of the California State Leadership Conference's All 4-Health Fair, working with organizations to present about various healthy living topics.

“I believe I am a 4-H true leader because I am empowering youth throughout California to make healthy lifestyle decisions," Sanchez said. "It started with recognizing the need in my own county – a drastic 62 percent obesity rate - and developing ways to combat the problem. I recognized that I have the power to enact change by educating others, and I plan to do so for the rest of my life. I want everyone to realize there is no better time than now to start living healthy.”

Sanchez and Sugarman will each receive a $5,000 scholarship for higher education. Sanchez will serve as spokesperson for 4-H Healthy Living programming and Sugarman will serve as a spokesperson for 4-H Agriculture programming. The 2017 4-H Youth in Action Pillar for Healthy Living is sponsored by Molina Healthcare and the Pillar for Agriculture is sponsored by Bayer. They will be officially recognized at the National 4-H Council Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

Other 2017 4-H Youth in Action Pillar winners include Georgia 4-H'er Amelia Day for Citizenship and Ohio 4-H'er Ava Lonneman for STEM.

The 4-H Youth in Action Awards began in 2010 to recognize 4-H'ers who have overcome challenges and used the knowledge they gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their community. This award highlights youth in each of 4-H's core areas of Agriculture, Citizenship, Healthy Living and STEM. These four pillars represent the fields in which 4-H youth excel on a national level and align with the mission mandates of National 4-H Council. To learn more about Youth in Action, please visit http://4-h.org/parents/4-h-youth-in-action.

Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 2:17 PM

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