On Wednesday of this week (May 2), farmers will gather at the Nickels Soil Lab in Arbuckle for the 30th annual Nickels Field Day, one of the most popular annual field day events held by UC Cooperative Extension.
The Nickels Soil Laboratory was created by Arbuckle farmer Leslie J. Nickels. When he passed away in 1959, Nickels had no heirs or close family. He made provisions to donate his estate for agricultural research, specifically naming the Regents of the University of California and the Colusa County Water District as administrators.
The primary crop on the 200-acre research facility in Arbuckle is almonds. Numerous research projects have been conducted on variety selection, nutrition and pest control, but the predominant breakthrough was in the application of drip irrigation.
During the field day, researchers will make eight presentations, on such topics as organic almond production, selecting rootstocks, new almond varieties and weed control strategies. After lunch, participants will see a mechanical tree planting demonstration. Click here for an event flyer that includes a map to the Nickels Soil Lab.
Last week's flavor workshop at UC Davis was well attended by professionals in fruit and vegetable industries. They were challenged to begin contemplating the flavor nuances of their products in the same way wine producers have for decades. New technology is giving them objective tools, but the scientists agree nothing replaces human flavor testers.
For more on the flavor workshop, click here.
Only die-hard Tom Cruise fans really like risky business. Specialty crop growers can find ways to make their operations less risky by attending a workshop May 22 at the Yuba City Veteran's Building. The workshop is a collaborative effort of specialty crop bargaining associations for commodities, UC and USDA's Risk Management Agency. Registration and lunch is $25 ($35 after May 13.) Click here for more information.
Mother's have just one more week of breathless anticipation before Mother's Day, when their critical role in family life is celebrated with gifts and special treatment. In honor of this delightful holiday, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources writers have for the first time compiled stories to generate news coverage about issues of importance to mothers. Click here for the news tips. This is only a small sampling of research and extension activities in UC ANR that mothers care about. Since so much of our researchers' work focuses on ensuring safe and wholesome food is available for children, they have a lot in common with California moms.
The USDA-Agricultural Research Service news service reported last week that its scientists teamed up with UC Davis plant pathologist Krishna Subbarao to produce lettuce resistant to verticillium wilt, a soil-borne fungus that destroys the plant.
More than a half-dozen companies that produce lettuce seeds have requested seed samples, according to Ryan Hayes, ARS research plant geneticist in Salinas, Calif., the principle investigator of the project.
"Breeding lettuce with natural resistance (to disease) remains the most environmentally friendly, economical and sustainable option for combating the fungus," according to the news release, written by Marcia Wood. In the release, she reported that verticillium wilt first showed up in coastal California lettuce fields in 1995.