- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Anaheim boasted a thriving wine industry in the late 1800s, before an unnamed affliction killed 40,000 acres of the grapevines and put 50 wineries out of business. The problem was later found to have been Pierce’s disease of grapevines. Would Anaheim be wine country today if it weren’t for Pierce’s disease? Probably not, but the sad fate of this Southern California wine industry underscores the importance of controlling the disease and the insects that spread it in California’s thriving grape growing regions.
GWSS has turned out to be a very efficient vector of Xyella fastidiosa, the bacterium that causes Pierce’s disease in grapes. When GWSS made their way to places where scientists believed the bacterium didn’t exist, such as Kern County, grapevines began to express symptoms of the disease. The county agricultural commissioners in the San Joaquin Valley have been working tirelessly over the last 10 years to keep glassy-winged sharpshooters out of grape growing regions to protect a very valuable economic driver. In Fresno County alone, where grapes are the No. 1 agricultural commodity, the crop was worth $961 million in 2011.
Despite the efforts to contain GWSS in Fresno County, the pest is spreading very gradually south and east of the Fresno-Clovis metropolitan area into commercial vineyards and orchards.
“Cooperation by urban residents where we find GWSS has been great,” said Fred Rinder of the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner’s office. Nevertheless, in 2012, GWSS was found spreading out in Kerman, Parlier, Sanger and Kingsburg.
Stephen Vasquez, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Fresno County, fears local grape farmers have become complacent about glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease, even though all grapes are susceptible. The best way to control its spread, he said, is to monitor and manage sharpshooter vectors and remove and replace vines that have tested positive for Xylella fastidiosa.
“Be vigilant. Learn the symptoms and train crews and workers,” Vasquez said. “Pierce’s disease has been around for a long time and GWSS has been here more than a decade, but we still haven’t had that marriage of the two. That is potentially devastating.”
- Author: Laura J. Van der Staay
The California Pistachio Research Board (CPRB) held a meeting at Kearney on January 17, 2013, to allow research programs to present research proposals for 2013 research funding. Twenty-eight research proposals were presented at the meeting, requesting a total of $1,076,000.
Commodity research board funding is an essential part of University of California research programs. Established by a 2007 pistachio producer referendum, the CPRB is a state marketing order that receives mandatory assessments from pistachio producers and awards funds to research on pistachio propagation, production, harvesting, handling and preparation for market. It also provides pistachio growers with educational materials and opportunities. The CRPB compiled and the Administrative Committee for Pistachios provides a searchable database of archived pistachio research reports from 1980 through 2010.
In 2012, the CPRB awarded a total of $564,500 to twenty research projects. This year, the CPRB has $1.6 million available for pistachio research. The award notices will be made in early March.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The Pistachio Research Board will donate $1.5 million to support a UC Cooperative Extension specialist to conduct nut and fruit disease research. This specialist position, which will be based in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and housed at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, will help UC ANR fulfill its mission as well as serve the pistachio industry’s needs.
“On behalf of California’s pistachio growers, the California Pistachio Research Board is pleased to invest in the research and extension activities of the University of California and particularly UC Cooperative Extension,” said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board.
“California farmers, especially pistachio growers, know that research is needed to maintain and improve food production while using our resources wisely and sustainably,” he said. “This position will help address the ever-changing plant disease spectrum in the state, as well as respond to new regulations on both the state and federal levels.”
“The nut and fruit crop pathology specialist was identified as a priority position for UC ANR in our position planning process, and the Pistachio Research Board’s generous gift and foresight enables us to begin recruiting immediately,” Allen-Diaz said. “The board’s six-year commitment gives the position stability. After six years, UC ANR will assume financial responsibility for the position.”
This is the third UC Cooperative Extension academic position funded through a partnership between the agricultural community and UC ANR. The California Rice Research Board and the California Table Grape Commission were the first to partner with the university in this new public-private funding model to fund UC Cooperative Extension positions.
“Hiring outstanding academics to do research and deliver new knowledge is critical to the sustainability of farmers and to the future of California,” said Allen-Diaz. “This new funding model will enable us to act now to work on needed research and deliver science-based solutions.”
“We value our partnership with the UC and will continue to invest in additional research positions as well as support the ongoing research and extension activities of UC scientists,” Klein said.
To discuss potential partnership opportunities to fund academic positions, contact Cindy Barber at Cynthia.Barber@ucop.edu or (510) 987-9139.
- Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
Only one individual is recognized annually for the award. Nominees must have spent most of their career in the nearctic region, which encompasses the United States and Canada, and have made significant contributions to the area of biological control. Johnson has established an international reputation for outstanding contributions to the fields of biological control and entomology in research, teaching, extension, and administration.
During the past three decades, he has advanced entomology by developing and implementing successful integrated pest management programs in several cropping systems. He has elucidated the relationships between economically important pests and their natural enemies, and used this information to enhance biological control, thereby improving pest control and reducing reliance on insecticides. He has also been a leading contributor to understanding and mitigating negative effects of pesticides on pest control, including pesticide resistance, pest resurgence, and secondary pest outbreaks. Much of his work has focused specifically on the integration of natural enemies into systems where heavy pesticide use is common such as vegetable crops.
To date, Johnson has published more than 240 publications. Of these, more than 155 were refereed publications including journal articles, book chapters, and review articles. Nearly 100 of his articles specifically deal with some aspect of natural enemy biology or ecology. His published works have been cited over 4,100 times in the scientific literature.
But Johnson’s impact on biological control extends far beyond the number of articles that he has published. He has served in a leadership role in several committees and organizations focused on coordinating and expanding the role of biological control. These include the Western Regional Committee on Biological Control; Customer Advisory Group, National Biological Control Institute; Experiment Station Committee on Policy — Biological Control Working Group; and the IOBC-NRS. He has served as an editor of the journal Biological Control – Theory and Application in Pest Management, and continues to serve on the journal’s editorial board. He has helped organize and coordinate several conferences on biological control.
His many awards and honors include being named a fellow of both the Entomological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a recipient of the C. W. Woodworth Award from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America and the Entomological Society of America Recognition Award for Contributions to Agriculture.
The Department of Entomology at UC Riverside is a world leader in the area of biological control. Several of its faculty members have been recognized via the IOBC-NRS Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award, including, most recently, Richard Stouthamer (2010), Robert F. Luck (2003), and James A. McMurtry (2001).
The International Organization for Biological Control was established in 1955 as a global organization affiliated to the International Council of Scientific Unions. Divided into six regional sections, the organization promotes environmentally safe methods of pest and disease control, and focuses on the use of natural enemies to control undesirable arthropod pests, noxious weeds, and other pestiferous organisms.
- Author: Laura J. Van der Staay
A training and certification workshop was held at UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center for agricultural pest management professionals and successfully added 23 individuals to the registry of Technical Service Providers .
The goal of the workshop was to train, certify and register individuals with integrated pest management (IPM) expertise to support the mission of the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as Technical Service Providers. These new Technical Service Providers will support the mission of NRCS by augmenting highly technical areas in the development and documentation of IPM Conservation Activity Plans. Using private sector expertise in conjunction with NRCS personnel and UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines, additional services can be provided to landowners seeking mitigation to natural resource concerns.
The workshop was conducted with University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension, the UC Statewide IPM Program, NRCS and the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists.
NRCS provides expertise to landowners to address and mitigate on-farm resource concerns that affect air, water, wildlife, soil and humans. In recent years, there have been increased requests for assistance to mitigate resource concerns linked to pests or pest management activities.
One of the trainees was Sylvie Robillard from Tecolote IPM Consulting, who has been a pest control adviser specializing in IPM consulting for 25 years in Fresno, Kern and Tulare counties. She feels that the use of Technical Service Provider consultants will increase the number of farmers using conservation activity plans for IPM. Farmers currently using Robillard’s services already practice IPM and have a desire to conserve natural resources so that they can continue to farm. Robillard believes that by using the USDA NRCS tools and being registered as a Technical Service Provider, she can better help her clients document and refine their conservation plans. With more Technical Service Providers, more farmers can become aware of and use Technical Service Providers to help create conservation activity plans for IPM and implement conservation efforts in accordance with NRCS guidelines.