Alan Wilcox of Wilcox Agri-Products and UC Cooperative Extension specialist Jeff Mitchell debated the challenges and opportunities for increased implementation of conservation tillage practices on California farms during the World Ag Expo in February, reported Alan Stenum in Farm Equipment magazine.
Wilcox said farmers are going to be resistant to anything they suspect will affect yield. Mitchell said creative innovation underway will have a big impact on some of the more challenging crops that are grown in California.
"This is a region where costs are high. The cost of doing business is high, and maximum yields on any crop are important to even break even," Wilcox said. "We're going to be intensely committed to water management and the maximum amount of water."
Mitchell said farmers in other parts of the U.S. started to switch to reduced disturbance no-till systems to conserve water.
"The recognition of the value of that opportunity to reduce soil water evaporation and have more water going through the crops through transpiration hasn't really sunk in here in California in large fashion," Mitchell said.
While Mitchell noted that water is essential to the discussion of conservation agriculture, there are other important aspects to consider.
"Biological cycling of nutrients in the soil, tightening up the system so there are fewer losses, either to the groundwater as some sort of pollution, or improving the overall soil function and nutrition provision capacity of the soil - that's not a small aspect of the overall system, nor are the opportunities for reducing costs," Mitchell said.
Wilcox said he would characterize the argument differently.
"The point is in all of our tillage strategies - and in every situation - we never compromise yield," he said.
Read the complete debate in Farm Equipment magazine.
More information about the use of conservation agriculture practices can be found on the UC Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation website.
May 11, 2018
June 25, 2015
Michael Boparai, a farmer who recently bought two center pivot irrigation systems and installed them on his farmland near the Delta area town of Walnut Grove, invited a diverse group of private sector and UC Cooperative Extension supporters to the field where he's growing processing tomatoes on June 25th 2015. The group included Dan Schueler, Senninger Irrigation Company, Rick Hanshew, Reinke Mfg., a pivot company, Brenna Aegerter, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Gene Miyao, and Jeff Mitchell, - all of UC Cooperative Extension, along with host, Boparai. They discussed opportunities for managing the tomato crop as well as things to try to avoid during the upcoming season. A follow-up article describing applications of overhead irrigation systems for several crops of the Central Valley may be found at http://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.v070n02p62. A short video of the team meeting at Boparai's farm is available at You Tube at https://youtu.be/UDoz1VAJkzM
Field meeting at Boparai overhead irrigation tomato field, Walnut Grove, CA June 25, 2015
May 4, 2018
May 3, 2018