ANR in the news December 1-16

Dec 30, 2019

After the Camp Fire, many landowners want to fight fire with fire

(Chico ER) Camille Von Kaenel, Dec. 16

Private landowners and managers throughout Northern California are increasingly interested in fighting fire with fire.

Around 75 people showed up to a workshop organized by the University of California Cooperative Extension with a Cal Fire grant at Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve on a drizzling Friday to learn about the science and art of prescribed fire. They came from next door and from Grass Valley and Lake County. Some of them owned property burned entirely or partly by catastrophic wildfires in recent years and were determined to do something to avoid fires burning homes and taking lives in the future. The Camp Fire, they said, was a “wake-up call.”

“Everyone knows we are in the midst of a wildfire crisis,” said Kate Wilkin, a UC Cooperative Extension forestry, fire science and natural resource adviser for Butte, Yuba, Sutter and Nevada counties who organized the workshop. “We need to work on our wildland-urban interface, and our structures, but we also need to work on our wildlands. We use tools that are accepted like mastication, but what's really under-utilized is prescribed fire.”


A maggot farm that upcycles food waste is coming to Southern California

(Orange County Register) Jack Katzanek, Dec. 12

…The concept of using flies to break down food and reuse it as feed has been around for almost 30 years, said Alec Gerry, a professor of entomology at UC Riverside. Using it to make money, however, is somewhat new.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation got involved, spurring commercial interest, Gerry said. Creating the maggots in a well-contained area is a key aspect for communities, and he added that black soldier flies do not carry disease and are not considered nuisances like house flies.

But he added that cities should be diligent about those key questions when a company seeks approval to locate there.


ASPCRO conference tackles PSFI and more

(Pest Management) Michael Page, Dec. 12

…The sessions on rodents also were heavily attended and of keen interest to meeting attendees. One session, devoted primarily to the attempted California ban on rodenticides, was particularly interesting. Dr. Niamh Quinn of the University of California Cooperative Extension, South Coast Research and Extension Center, presented an overview of legislation related to rodenticide products. Legislative attempts are being proposed to mitigate the high level of exposure and deaths of California wildlife. (Editor's Note: For an in-depth look at this topic, read Wildlife control captures profits.)


CFBF president pledges sustained advocacy

(Ag Alert) Kevin Hecteman, Dec. 11

…He noted that CFBF, University of California Cooperative Extension and 4-H all came into existence at roughly the same time, and the latter two are dealing with funding and staffing shortfalls. Presentations to the CFBF board from Solano, Contra Costa and Monterey counties, plus the work of Fresno County members, led to a meeting with Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who sits on the UC Board of Regents, to discuss those concerns.

Noting the large numbers of 4-H and FFA students at the meeting, Johansson said Farm Bureau members will "hear more about what we're going to do to not only help train the next generation of farmers, but to introduce them to Farm Bureau and the responsibility that they have to agriculture once they get out of school, to give back to an industry and the opportunities that this industry has for them."


2019 Sacramento Pre-Kwanzaa Gala Celebration

(IndyBay) Michael Harris, Dec. 11

…California's “working landscape” represents the sixth largest economic sector in the state, outpacing the healthcare, real estate and construction industries, according to a recent report issued by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR).
“That's going surprise an awful lot of people, because too many folks here in California just really take our working landscapes for granted,” said ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston, speaking at the California Economic Summit, California “Working Landscapes” includes traditional agriculture, fishing, forestry, mining, outdoor recreation and renewable energy. The 2018 report showed that our “working landscape” represents $333 billion dollars in sales and employment of 1.5 million people, numbers that benefit both rural and urban regions.


California growers prepare for end of chlorpyrifos

(Vegetable Grower News) Stephen Kloosterman, Dec. 11
California chlorpyrifos goes away in 2020, and officials and Extension agents say the state's vegetable growers have a good start on finding replacement products.

Surendra Dara, an entomologist working in the University of California Cooperative Extension in St. Luis Obispo, said the ban would have little effect on cabbage growers dealing with maggots, who have another product, Verimark, that can control them.


People Matter: Why the Human Factor Is Essential for Successful Integrated Pest Management Programs

(Entomology Today) David Coyle, Ph.D., and Ryan Gott, Ph.D., Dec. 11

…The idea of human communication as an important aspect of IPM was highlighted in a past Entomology Today post and recently in another Journal of Integrated Pest Management paper by Surendra Dara. In that paper, Dara advocated for “communication” being one of the main factors influencing IPM program efficacy. We fully agree, and take it a step further in identifying and acknowledging deficiencies in how IPM educators are trained. Many follow the typical graduate school path with a lot of education in entomology or pest management but very little in how to deal or work with people (i.e., the IPM practitioners). Certainly, this is not a blanket statement, as each of us takes a different path to becoming an IPM educator. And, to further support this idea, we interviewed several early-career entomological colleagues to find out about their experiences as IPM educators.


Smarter Vineyard Management and Innovative Winemaking Discussed at Wivi 2020

(Wine Business) Dec. 11

…Surendra Dara, cooperative extension advisor, entomology and biologicals, at the UC Cooperative Extension will talk about some of the biggest threats to the modern Central Coast vineyard. From traditional concerns like Vine Mealybug and Leafroll, to an emerging threat from the Spotted Lanternfly, this session will look at the state of vineyard warfare and offer practical solutions to eliminate and prevent the spread of these insects and viruses.


What Oak Trees Mean to the Health of Vineyards

(Growing Produce) Kathie Zipp, Dec. 10

…Bill Tietje has studied California oaks for more than 30 years as a University of California Cooperative Extension Natural Resource Specialist. Though oak tree removal has slowed, Tietje still sees a need to encourage growers to keep, and even to plant, new oaks on their properties. To do so, he and co-researchers needed to better understand the benefits of the trees in agricultural systems.


UC updates cost estimates for growing almonds

(Farm Press) Pam Kan-Rice, Dec. 9

…“These cost studies are valuable for agricultural producers all along the continuum – growers considering entering into a new crop production business, less experienced growers, and those with decades of experience,” said Emily Symmes, UC Cooperative Extension integrated pest management advisor for the Sacramento Valley. “The information in these cost studies allows growers to evaluate their production practices and associated costs relative to an exemplary hypothetical orchard specific to their geographic region, and can help with development of business models, crop insurance and lending.”


Major Infectious Disease Threatening Oak Trees in California

(Epoch Times) Chris Karr, Dec. 6

…“The combination of a very, very wet year two years ago and a wet year this year would very easily explain the surge in infection rates,” Matteo Garbelotto, director of UC Berkeley's Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory, told The Epoch Times.

The disease is estimated to have killed more than 50 million oaks in the region over the last twenty years.


California Almonds: Pruning Wound Protection – Reducing Impact of Canker Diseases
(Ag Fax) Leslie Holland and Florent Trouillas, Dec. 5

As we approach winter in the Sacramento Valley and almond trees enter dormancy, pruning becomes a top priority for many growers. Whether it's pruning for scaffold selection or to remove old, minimally productive wood to stimulate renewal of fruiting wood, pruning is often considered a dormant season practice.


CDC: Schools aren't doing enough to teach kids about nutrition

(UPI) Brian P. Dunleavy, Dec. 5

…Even in districts where the importance of healthy food is listed as part of the curriculum, far too little classroom time, perhaps as little as five hours per academic year, is devoted to the issue, experts say.

"Health education has never been a priority in American schools," said Lorrene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Oakland. "We don't teach children how to read, write or do math in one period in the ninth grade, but that's what we do with food and other health issues. So it's not shocking we're in dire straits when it comes to nutrition."


UC team helps farmers with climate-smart ag

(Farm Press) Jeannette Warnert, Dec. 5

Scientists are developing climate-smart farming practices, California is offering financial incentives to implement them, and now a group of 10 UC Cooperative Extension climate-smart educators are taking the program to the next level.


Facebook's Andrew ‘Boz' Bosworth Donates $1 Million To 4-H For STEM Education

(Forbes) Rod Berger, Dec. 4

I spoke with Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, a prominent 4-H alum, and noted “Hardware Boss” of Facebook to learn more about his efforts in promoting STEM and the promising future of AR/VR, connectivity and entrepreneurship in education. His early association with 4-H acted as a catalyst for his career path and present position as Facebook's vice president of AR/VR. He is well known for the creation of News Feed as well as other notable Facebook programs and advancements. Boz shares his story and appreciation for 4-H while describing his early enthusiasm for technology that recently propelled a $1 million personal investment supporting 4-H efforts. 

I was lucky I went to a very good public school in the heart of Silicon Valley, and even for me, 4-H was what introduced me to a love of programming. 4-H was what introduced me to a love of technology. That's interesting to me. It speaks about how much there is for parents that they can access experiences for their children beyond what they're going to get at school.  


Fire and ice on the West Coast

 (Farm Press) Logan Hawkes, Dec. 4

University of California Cooperative Extension Orchard Systems Advisor Dani Lightle and UCCE Specialist Drew Wolter report that a field experiment indicates while latex treatments may provide some level of protection, "research to support the practice is lacking."

Lightle and Wolter published their findings in a UC Weed Science Guide noting "preliminary results indicate that paint as a trunk protection method may not provide significant protection from glyphosate or glufosinate. Tree stress caused by trunk-applied herbicides was lowest in most treatments with no paint at all, which suggest that hardening of the bark is key to mitigating herbicide damage in young trees."


Orchard sanitation remains critical

(Farm Press) Logan Hawkes, Dec. 4

… Jhalendra Rijal, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) Extension Area Integrated Pest Management Advisor for the Northern San Joaquin Valley, says some growers must deal with winter rainfall or heavy ground that makes sanitation practices difficult. Others may apply cultural practices in a reduced manner, and as such many infected mummy nuts may escape discovery or destruction.


Genomic gymnastics help sorghum plant survive drought

( Kara Manke, Dec. 3

A new study led by UC Berkeley researchers reveals how sorghum crops alter the expression of their genes to adapt to drought conditions. Understanding how sorghum survives harsh conditions could help researchers design crops that are more resilient to climate change. 

…“With this research, we are laying the groundwork for understanding drought tolerance in cereal crops,” said Jeff Dahlberg, UC Cooperative Extension sorghum specialist. Dahlberg, co-author of the study, is also director the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, one of nine research and extension centers in California that are part of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.


New survey detects rapid growth in sudden oak tree death syndrome

(Almanac) Rick Radin, Dec. 3

An annual survey of the spread of sudden oak death (SOD) throughout the state has detected that oak trees surveyed in towns on the Peninsula between Redwood City and Los Altos Hills have a 21.6% infection rate, with significant new outbreaks reported.

The syndrome was detected locally in oaks in northern Woodside, Portola Valley, Emerald Hills, and Palomar Park, according to the report from the University of California at Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Lab.

… The infection rate for oaks within 15 feet of a bay laurel is about 75%, according to Matteo Garbelotto, the lab's director. After a distance of about 20 yards, the infection rate drops dramatically.

The infected oaks can fall down when they are still green, potentially on top of a house or a car, Garbelotto said.

"If an infected oak is near your house, you want to take it out because if it burns in a fire it will spread to your home," he said.


New PD-Resistant Wine Grape Varieties Named and Released

(Wine Business) Ted Rieger, Dec. 3

The University of California, Davis (UCD) Office of Research's Innovation Access unit recently informed the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) of the official release of five new Pierce's Disease (PD) resistant grapevine varieties developed in the breeding program of UCD viticulture professor and grape breeder Dr. Andy Walker.


On Giving Tuesday UC ANR Says Invest in Every Californian with a Gift to UC ANR

(Sierra Sun Times) Dec. 3, Pam Kan-Rice

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is participating in Giving Tuesday, launching the "You are here. So are we" campaign. Donations bring the power of UC research in agriculture, natural resources, nutrition, and youth development to local communities to improve the lives of all Californians.


New research highlights an integrated approach for managing aquatic invasive species in California

(Phys Org) Katherine Leitzell and Sonia Fernandez, Dec. 2

…"Controlling the growth of these organisms is critical for boat maintenance, because they create drag that slows vessels, reduces fuel efficiency, and makes boats harder to steer," said co-author Leigh Johnson, coastal advisor emerita with UC Cooperative Extension and former California Sea Grant Extension advisor. Johnson was instrumental in initiating the research and bringing attention to the need for a balanced biofouling control management approach. "However," she added, "the methods used to control fouling on boats can impact water quality and increase transport of invasive species so it is important to consider all of these issues when deciding how to maintain a clean hull."


Some say ‘hazing' stops coyotes from becoming urbanized. Biologists aren't so sure

(Los Angeles Times) Louis Sahagun, Dec. 1

Research scientist Niamh Quinn approached with caution as an intelligent predator with a long, narrow muzzle, sharp teeth and yellow eyes peered at her from the grip of a trap, awaiting its fate.

…It was sedated, radio collared, tagged on one ear and assigned an identification number, 19CU001. Then it was released as part of a study led by Quinn to determine whether hazing techniques — shouting, bright lights, waving arms, for example — can effectively keep big-city coyotes away from homes and urban areas.

…“There is no scientific evidence that hazing alters the behavior of urban coyotes,” Quinn, UC Cooperative Extension's human-wildlife interactions advisor, said on a recent weekday while inspecting a network of traps her team had set east of downtown Los Angeles. “Yet, it is being pitched as a good option for coyote management.”


County officials need to take Sudden Oak Death solutions seriously

(Marin Independent Journal) William Binzen, Dec. 1

…In addition to mapping this disease as Matteo Garbelotto does, these new “SOD-blitzers” can fan out across Marin with backpack sprayers and treat diseased oaks (and other infected species) where they stand. They could also spread ground oyster shells, calcium carbonate or lime pellets on the ground from the trunk out to the drip edge of the branches. This simple procedure helps restore native soil pH, which enhances the immune system.



By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach