Sonoma County Bounty - Farm Business Incubator
University of California
Sonoma County Bounty - Farm Business Incubator


Small-scale farming and urban animal agriculture survey

The following comes from Dr. Alda Pires at UC Davis. Please consider participating in the survey.

Survey to identify the needs of small-scale farms and Urban animal agriculture Producers in the Western States of the US: livestock and poultry owners

The growing numbers of small-scale farms (SSFs) (1) and peri-urban and urban animal agriculture farms (UA) has increased the need for Extension specialists and veterinarians focused on small-scale and backyard livestock production(2).  We are seeking your help in this needs assessment regarding animal health concerns on small-scale farms and for peri-urban and urban animal agriculture in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington State. This study is led by Dr. Alda Pires (University of California), Dr. Dale Moore (Washington State University) and Dr. Ragan Adams (Colorado State University).

The increasing popularity of local food production and sustainability has put small-scale farming and urban animal agriculture at the forefront. Your input is very important in better understanding this food sector and would be greatly appreciated.

This survey aims to identify the needs of livestock and poultry owners related to animal health, animal husbandry and food safety; and the role that veterinarians play on small farms. This study will serve as a benchmark for designing effective educational programs to train farmers, backyard producers and veterinarians working within this sector.

Your participation is essential for this needs assessment. The survey will take about 15-20 minutes of your time. The survey can be accessed here:

All your answers will remain completely confidential and no personal information about you will be recorded. You have the option to not participate and you can quit the survey at any time. This project is approved by the UC Davis, WA and CO University Institutional Review Boards.

We thank you for your time and your commitment to small-scale farming and urban animal agriculture.

Should you have any questions at any time, please feel free to contact me directly (Alda Pires at 530 754 9855,


Posted on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Android version of the IPMinfo app with new features just released

After last year's release of the iOS version of the first IPMinfo app, several improvements have been made for the Android version, which was released on 30 September, 2016.  One main difference is that the current app is a dynamic one, which requires Internet connection to access the content.  This dynamic nature allows real-time updates to the contents of the app that will be reflected immediately. 

Here are some key features of the app:

-An option to add content in multiple languages.  Currently has strawberry pest information in English and Spanish and disease information in English.  User can select the language of their choice and change as needed.

-Information about multiple crops can be accessed.  Currently has strawberry and lettuce will be the next crop to be added.  User will have the option to select the crop or crops they are interested so that device memory is used only for appropriate choices.

-In addition to pests and diseases, weed and disorder information will also be included.

-Search feature allows selection of a particular topic of interest.

-Access to extension meeting presentations, handouts, YouTube videos, and electronic journals “PestNews” and “Strawberries and Vegetables”.

-An option to provide feedback.

-The notification feature allows sending alerts about updates, new extension articles, meetings, and anything else to the users.  Users must turn the notification feature on for this feature to work.  These notifications are designed to show up on smart watches as well.

The main goal of IPMinfo is to provide a single point access to pest management information about multiple crops and other extension material so that users do not have to search multiple resources to obtain that information.  When details of different crops in multiple languages are added, IPMinfo will serve as powerful resource for pests, diseases, weeds, and disorders and their identification and management.

User can select the crop/crops of their interest.  A specific topic can also be searched.


List of diseases, and symptoms and management options for each disease.

 Disease symptoms and management options.

List of arthropod pests and their biology (above), damage, and management options (below).

Feedback about the app can be submitted through this feature.

Different information sources can be access from the menu options (above).  Articles from eJournals (below).  

Posted on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Managing green peach aphid in celeriac with chemical pesticides

Adult and nymphs of the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, UC IPM)

Different species of aphids infest celery and celeriac crops in California.  The black bean aphid, Aphis fabae, the foxglove aphid, Aulacorthum solani, the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, the hawthorn or parsley aphid, Dysaphis apiifolia, and the cotton/melon aphid, Aphis gossypii are among the aphids that could cause damage.  Damage includes distorted or stunted plant growth at high numbers, vectoring viral diseases, and contamination of the produce with honeydew secretion and debris.

A study was conducted at Babe Farms, Santa Maria to evaluate the efficacy of various chemical pesticides against aphids.  Field was planted in celeriac variety Brilliant on 15 June, 2016.  Treatments included i) untreated control, ii) Actara 4 oz/ac, Beleaf 50 SG 2.8 oz/ac, iii) Sequoia 4.5 fl oz/ac, v) Sivanto 200 SL 14 fl oz/ac, and vi) Actara 4 oz + Beleaf 2.8 oz + Radiant SC 8 fl oz/ac as the grower standard.  Induce was used as a surfactant at 0.25% vol/vol rate. Treatments were administered on 14 and 25 July and 6 August in 80 gallons/acre of spray volume using a standard spray equipment.  Each treatment had eight 38” wide and 100' long beds that were replicated four times and arranged in a randomized complete block design.

Experimental design - six treatments replicated four times

Pre-treatment aphid counts were taken on 13 July and post-treatment counts were taken on 22 and 29 July and 9 August, 2016.  On each observation date, 20 random plants from the middle two rows of each plot were gently beaten with the lid of a plastic container and aphids dislodged into the container were recorded. 

Data were analyzed using Analysis of Variance model in Statistix software and significant means were separated using Tukey's HSD test. 


Only green peach aphids were seen on celeriac during the study.  Their numbers were very low and uniform (P = 0.15) before the treatments were initiated (Table 1).  After the first spray, there were no aphids in plots treated with Beleaf and it was significantly lower (P =0.0009) than untreated control and Actara treatment.  Sequoia was the next best treatment, but it had significantly lower aphids than Actara treatment.  Due to a sampling error, data collected after the second spray were excluded from the study.  After the third spray, aphid numbers declined only in plots treated with Beleaf and Sequoia and increased at varying degrees in other treatments.  Significantly lower (P < 0.00001) number of aphids were present in Beleaf and Sequoia than Actara, Sivanto, and Actara+Beleaf+Radiant treatments.  Combination of different chemicals appeared to perform worse than some of the chemicals that were applied independently.

Mean number of aphids per plant (above) or 20 sampled plants (below) before and after pesticide treatments

When percent change in aphid numbers from pre-treatment counts to the counts after the third spray were compared, Beleaf was the only treatment that caused a 33% reduction.  Sequoia treatment limited the population build up to a minimum level compared to the rest of the treatments.

 Percent change in aphid numbers from pre-treatment counts to post-third spray application

This study demonstrated the efficacy of different chemical pesticides against green peach aphid in celeriac.  It was not clear why the combination of some chemicals failed to bring down aphid populations, but results warrant caution while choosing compounds for tank mixes.  It is important to avoid repeated use of the best chemical compounds to reduce the risk of resistance development.  Select some of the effective chemicals and use them in combination or rotation with botanical and microbial pesticides.  Regular monitoring, adopting cultural practices that might reduce pest populations, conservation of biological control agents, and timely application of botanical, microbial, and chemical pesticides, and other appropriate measures are critical components of a sound integrated pest management program. 

This study was originally designed for evaluating the efficacy of chemical pesticides against the western tarnished plant bug (lygus bug), Lygus hesperus, which is becoming a problem in vegetable crops such as lettuce, celery, and celeriac.  Random sampling in some areas of the field, prior to the initiation of the study, showed a few western tarnished bugs, but due to their negligible numbers thereafter, meaningful results could not be obtained from the study.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Jason Gamble, Babe Farms, Santa Maria for his collaboration, Bayer CropSciences, Dow AgroSciences, FMC, and Syngenta for the support of the study, and Tamas Zold and Danielle Cadena for the technical assistance. 

Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 2:41 PM

First report of three entomopathogenic fungi offering protection against the plant pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum

Entomopathogenic fungi such as Beauveria bassiana, Isaria fumosorosea, and Metarhizium brunneum play an important role in managing several arthropod pests on multiple crops.  Multiple genera of entomopathogenic fungi are available as biopesticides and used in organic and conventional agriculture.  Compared to chemical pesticides, entomopathogenic fungi-based pesticides are expensive.  While they are excellent tools in integrated pest management (IPM) approaches against several pests, their high cost relative to chemical pesticides can be a hindrance to their widespread use.  Exploring their multipurpose use in promoting plant growth and protecting plants from pathogens can increase their acceptance as farmers can get multiple benefits beyond arthropod management when they use entomopathogenic fungi.

Some studies showed the positive impact of entomopathogenic fungi on promoting plant growth and health (Sasan and Bidochka, 2012; Dara, 2013; Dara et al. 2016).  Other studies that demonstrated antagonistic effect of entomopathogenic fungi against non-arthropod pests include, B. bassiana against Fusarium oxysporum and Botrytis cinerea (Bark et al., 1996) and Rhizoctonia solani and Pythium myriotylum (Ownley et al. 2008), Lecanicillum lecanii (=Verticillium lecanii)against cucumber powdery mildew, Podosphaera fuliginea (=Sphaerotheca fuliginea) (Askary et al., 1998), Lecanicillium spp. against plant pathogens and parasitic nematodes (Goettel et al., 2008), M. robertsii against Fusarium solani f. sp. phaseoli (Sasan and Bidochka, 2013).  These reports show the potential of entomopathogenic fungi in serving multipurpose role in improving plant growth and protecting against multiple groups of pests.

A new greenhouse study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of B. bassiana (BotaniGard), I. fumosorosea (Pfr-97), and M. brunneum (Met 52) in comparison with other beneficial microbe- (Actinovate and MBI 110) or plant extract-based (Regalia) products in providing protection against a plant pathogen.  Cotton was used as the model plant and F. oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum Race 4 (FOV Race 4) was used as the plant pathogen in this study.

Pima cotton seed of the variety Phy830 (Phytogen) susceptible to FOV Race 4 were planted in potting mix 0.33X103 CFU/g of FOV Race 4 in seedling trays.  Healthy potting mix was used as untreated control.  Six products, listed below, were applied in three regimens based on foliar application rate (10 ml of the treatment liquid calculated based on 100 gallons of spray volume/ac) or soil application rate (10 ml of the treatment liquid with product calculated based on the surface area of the cell at the soil application rate per acre) to each cell of the tray.  Each treatment had 16 cells (or seedlings) and was replicated four times.


  1. Healthy potting mix (negative control)
  2. Potting mix with FOV Race 4 (positive control)
  3. Potting mix with FOV Race 4 + BotaniGard ES (B. bassiana Strain GHA) 2 qrt/ac
  4. Potting mix with FOV Race 4 + Met 52EC (M. brunneum Strain F52) 2 (foliar rate) and 2.5 (soil rate) qrt/ac
  5. Potting mix with FOV Race 4 + Pfr-97 20% WDG (I. fumosorosea Apopka Strain 97) 2 lb/ac
  6. Potting mix with FOV Race 4 + Actinovate AG (Streptomyces lydicus WYEC 108) 54 oz/ac
  7. Potting mix with FOV Race 4 + Regalia (Extract of Reynoutria sachalinensis) 4 qrt/ac
  8. Potting mix with FOV Race 4 + MBI 110 (developmental product from Marrone Bio Innovations) 4 qrt/ac

Treatments were applied in the following three regimens.  Soil application rate was calculated based on the surface area of each seedling cell (2.25 square inches) compared to one-acre rate and delivered in 10 ml of purified water with 0.01% Dyne-Amic as a surfactant.  Foliar rate was calculated based on 100 gallons/ac spray volume and each cell received 10 ml.  Untreated control and potting mix with plant pathogen received water with Dyne-Amic. 

Regimen A - 10 ml of water or treatment liquid at soil application rate administered right after planting cotton seed.

Regimen B - 10 ml of water or treatment liquid at soil application rate administered right after and 1 and 2 weeks after planting.

Regimen C – 10 ml of water or treatment liquid at foliar application rate administered right after planting.

Seedling trays were arranged on a greenhouse bench and a sprinkler system irrigated trays for 5 min each day at noon.  Plant health and growth conditions were monitored 3, 4, and 5 weeks after planting based on the following scale.

0 - Did not germinate or dead or necrosis of cotyledons/leaves and hypocotyl/stem

1.0 - Stem green, but dying leaf/leaves

1.5 - At least one green leaf and cotyledons/other leaves necrotic

2.0 - Green new leaves and yellowing cotyledons/older leaves

2.5 - Green and bigger new leaves with slightly yellowing older leaves

3.0-4.5 - Varying levels of healthy plant

5.0 - Very healthy plant with optimal growth

Data were analyzed using ANOVA model and significant means were separated using the Least Significant Difference (LSD) test.

Treatments were separated by an empty row to prevent cross contamination.  Experimental set up at the time of planting (above) and 1 week after planting (below).

Experiment 2 weeks after planting (above).

Symptoms of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum appear by the third week after planting and advance by the fifth week (below).

Results and discussion

In general, there was a positive impact of treatments on reducing the severity of FOV Race 4 in cotton seedlings, but it varied with time and among treatment regimens.  Negative control plants did not show any symptoms of infection – yellowing, necrosis, or wilting - and consistently maintained a high health rating of about 4.8 out of 5.0 (Table 1).

Table 1. Plant health rating 3, 4, and 5 weeks after planting in three treatment regimens.

Regimen A: Treatments were significantly different (P < 0.00001) on all observation dates, but when negative control was disregarded, differences were seen only on the first observation date, which was 3 weeks after planting.  Pfr-97, Met 52, and Actinovate resulted in a significant improvement in the plant health compared to the other treatments.  On the following observation dates, plant health rating was higher in all treatments compared to the positive control with FOV Race 4, but the differences were not statistically significant.

Refer to Table 1 for statistical significance between treatment means in Regimen A.

Regimen B: In this regimen, where treatments were applied three times at a weekly interval starting from the time of planting, plants treated with Pfr-97, Met 52, and Actinovate a better health rating than the positive control throughout the observation period.  MBI 110 was also better than the positive control 3 weeks after planting, but not afterwards. Plant health in Regalia and BotaniGard treatments was better than FOV Race 4 alone, but it was not significantly different.

Refer to Table 1 for statistical significance between treatment means in Regimen B.


Regimen C: This regimen aimed the impact of treating the soil with a higher concentration (based on foliar application rate) of treatments.  BotaniGard-treated plants were significantly healthier than MBI 110, Pfr-97, Actinovate, and FOV Race 4 alone on 3 weeks after planting and all the treatments (excluding the positive control) on 4 and 5 weeks after planting.

Refer to Table 1 for statistical significance between treatment means in Regimen C.


Treatments compared among all regimens: When treatments were analyzed by combining all regimens, Met 52, Pfr-97, BotaniGard, and MBI 110 significantly improved plant health over FOV Race 4 alone, 3 weeks after planting (Table 2).  However, BotaniGard provided significantly higher protection than all other treatments against FOV Race 4 during the rest of the observation period.

Table 2. Efficacy of treatments 3, 4, and 5 weeks after planting (WAP) when data from different regimens were combined.


Comparing regimens:  Data were combined among all treatments and analyzed to compare the efficacy of different regimens.  Multiple applications of beneficial microbe or plant extract based pesticides at low concentration or single application of a higher concentration were better than single application of lower concentration especially 4 and 5 weeks after planting (Table 3). 

Table 3.  Efficacy of different regimens against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum infection.


Results suggest that non-chemical treatment options used in the study provide some level of protection against the plant pathogen FOV Race 4.  It is very important to note that one or more entomopathogenic fungi antagonized FOV Race 4 equal to or better than other products that are based on beneficial microbes or plant extracts known to have fungicidal effect.  Bennett et al. (2011) compared endomycorrhizal product AM120 based on Glomus spp. with chemical fumigants (methyl bromide, chloropicrin, 1, 3-dichloroprepene, and metam-sodium) and solarization in multiple field studies.  Efficacy of these treatments varied in different experiments and among cotton varieties.  While conventional treatments typically provided superior protection against FOV Race 4, mycorrhizae at times was comparable to some of the other treatments in some instances.  Even if fumigants are used before planting for a healthy start, periodic soil treatment with beneficial microbes could help maintain plant health for the rest of the crop season. 

This is the first study where B. bassiana, I. fumosorosea, and M. brunneum were compared with other non-chemical alternatives against a plant pathogen and demonstrating their potential in offering plant protection.  These results shed light in a developing area of science where alternative uses for entomopathogenic fungi are explored.  Additional experimentation with different concentrations of the plant pathogen and beneficial microbes would expand our understanding of their interactions.

Acknowledgments: Thanks to BioWorks, Inc., Curtis USA, Marrone Bio Innovations, Monsanto BioAg, and Valent BioSciences for providing biopesticide samples used in the study.


Askary H., Y. Carrière, R. R. Bélanger, and J. Brodeur.  1998.  Pathogenicity of the fungus Verticillium lecanii to aphids and powdery mildew.  Biocon. Sci. Tech. 8: 23-32.

Bark, Y. G., D. G. Lee, S. C. Kang, and Y. H. Kim.  1996.  Antibiotic properties of an entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana on Fusarium oxysporum and Botrytis cinerea.  Korean J. Plant Pathol. 12: 245-250.

Bennett, R. S., D. W. Spurgeon, W. R. DeTar, J. S. Gerik, R. B. Hutmacher, and B. D. Hanson.  2011.  Efficacy of four soil treatments against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vacinfectum race 4 on cotton.  Plant Dis. 95: 967-976.

Dara, S. K. 2013.  Entomopathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana promotes strawberry plant growth and health.  UCCE eJournal Strawberries and Vegetables, 30 September, 2013. (

Dara, S. K., S.S.R. Dara, and S.S. Dara.  2016.  First report of entomopathogenic fungi, Beauveria bassiana, Isaria fumosorosea, and Metarhizium brunneum promoting the growth and health of cabbage plants growing under water stress. UCCE eJournal Strawberries and Vegetables, 19 September, 2016.

Goettel, M. S., M. Koike, J. J. Ki, D. Aiuchi, R. Shinya, and J. Brodeur.  2008.  Potential of Lecanicillium spp. for management of insects, nematodes and plant diseases.  J. Invertebr. Pathol. 98: 256-261.

Ownley, B. H., M. R. Griffin, W. E. Klingeman, K. D. Gwinn, J. K. Moulton, and R. M. Pereira.  2008.  Beuveria bassiana: endophytic colonization and plant disease control.  J. Invertebr. Pathol. 98: 267-270.

Sasan, R. K. and M. J. Bidochka. 2012. The insect-pathogenic fungus Metarhizium robertsii (Clavicipitaceae) is also an endophyte that stimulates plant root development. Amer. J. Bot. 99:101-107.

Sasan, R. K. and M. J. Bidochka.  2013.  Antagonism of the endophytic insect pathogenic fungus Metarhizium robertsii against the bean plant pathogen Fusarium solani f. sp. phaseoli.  Can. J. Plant Pathol. 35: 288-293.

Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 9:50 AM
  • Author: Surendra K. Dara
  • Author: Suchitra S. Dara
  • Author: Sumanth S. R. Dara
  • Author: Tim Anderson, Dow

UC Davis Horse Day October 22, 2016

The Annual UC Davis Horse Day is right around the corner! 

Be sure to register before October 7th to receive the discounted rate:


If you have a group of 10 or more, please email Kathryn at for further information.



Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 2:16 PM
Tags: Horses (1)

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