- Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
Veteran CASI Workgroup member Dan Munk along with Jeff Mitchell hosted Sheila Morco of CDFA's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for a site visit for the project, Evaluation of Trade-Offs between Winter Cover Crop Production and Soil Water Depletion in San Joaquin Valley Row Crop Fields and Orchards, that a very large team of UC researchers, farmers, and other private sector partners is working on at 7 farms throughout the Central Valley. Morco is the CDFA Grant Analyst who oversees the team's work. In addition, UC Davis Hydrology students, Alyssa DeVincentis, Sloane Rice, and Anna Gomes took part in a televideo conference call portion of the visit and provided nice summaries of the data that they've been working to compile based on the project's monitoring activities. This project is determining the biomass potential for cover crops, changes in soil water storage under these cover crops compared to fallow, and data on the carbon and nitrogen capture potential of cover crops so as to inform farmers of the true tradeoffs associated with this practice. There is considerable uncertainty surrounding cover crop water use and this has been an impediment to their wider adoption. Additional information stemming from this CDFA SCBGP Project will be shared at the upcoming major educational training event that will take place in Five Points on June 6th.