ANR in the news December 17-31

Dec 31, 2019

Mobile Friendly Version of Avocado Pest Guidelines Available

(AgNet West) Brian German, Dec. 31

An updated tool from the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) should made pest management a bit more user-friendly. UC ANR has recently launched a new mobile-friendly version of the Pest Management Guidelines for Avocados.


Holiday Recycling Information

 (My Motherlode) Becky Miller-Cripps, Dec. 29

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners support foothill-friendly, “smart” gardening. Two of our principles are:  Feed the Soil and Recycle. How can you follow those principles in disposing of your cut, green Christmas tree? Real Christmas trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. You may wish to chip your Christmas tree and use it at home as mulch or compost. Or, you may want to help reduce the waste stream by recycling your Christmas trees.


Hmong-Language Pesticide Safety Videos Available from DPR

(AgNEt West) Brian German, Dec. 24

A series of education videos have been made available to help engage Hmong farmers about the issue of safety.  The nine-part video series in Hmong describes California pesticide rules and safety and is now available to view for free online.  The videos were made possible with funding from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and were produced by Fresno State and UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno County.


UC works to fill gaps in its corps of farm advisors

(Woodland Daily Democrat/AgAlert) Kevin Hecteman, Dec. 24

...California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson said farm advisors represent "a vital link" from UC research sites to California fields and pastures.

"Filling these positions will help address a statewide shortage of advisors," Johansson said. "Knowledge shared by farm advisors through the decades has helped California reach and retain its position as the nation's top producer of high-quality food and agricultural products, and we need to keep that resource alive."

CFBF Administrator Jim Houston described the recruiting as "a good start" but added a decades-long backup needs to be addressed.

UCCE had 202 specialists and 326 advisors on the payroll in 1990, according to UCANR figures; by 2018, those numbers had declined to 109 and 170, respectively.

"It's our members who struggle when a farm advisor isn't available," Houston said. "It's their communities that don't have as much productive capacity. It's their operations that are not going to be as efficient as they would otherwise be."


Your Christmas tree is lit, but how hard does it hit the environment?

(Popular Science) Erin Blakemore, Dec. 23

…Like any commodity, Christmas trees rack up an environmental toll—and not just because we use gas-guzzling helicopters and trucks to give them a lift. Fertilizer and pesticide use are the main culprits. “There is pesticide use across the board,” says Lynn Wunderlich, a farm advisor from the University of California Cooperative Extension in California's central Sierras.

…Wunderlich says that since Roundup is applied in such small quantities—and not to the trees themselves—consumers don't have to worry about pesticide residue at the time of harvesting; furthermore, consumers who cut down their own trees or buy from farmers who use no pesticides sometimes complain about “honeydew,” a sticky liquid secreted by aphids in infected trees. Bottom line, says Wunderlich: “Christmas trees have pest problems.”


California grape growers deal with mealybugs without chlorpyrifos

(Fruit Grower News) Stephen Kloosterman, Dec. 23

So scratch chlorpyrifos, but California winegrape growers have more tools left in the war chest for dealing with vine mealybugs.

Native grape mealybugs are usually kept in place by natural controls and parasitoids, said George Zhuang, a Fresno County viticulture farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension – an exception is when Argentine ants have protected them. Vine mealybugs, however, are an invasive species and much more disruptive.

“Vine mealybug feeds on all parts of grapevine and produces so much honeydew that it makes the grapevine wet, dark and shining,” Zhuang said. “The most damage from vine mealybug is the infestation on clusters, although the spreading of leafroll virus can be also devastating through vine mealybug.”


UC ANR Says it is Improving California Life with Science-based Solutions

(Sierra Sun Times) Jeannette Warnert, Dec. 23

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources reflected on some of its most compelling achievements in a report that provides an overview of the sweeping impacts its scientists and educators made in 2018.

UC ANR's impacts are felt across the state – in places where water is scarce, climate is changing farming practices, children need a little extra support to get to college, and families can use guidance to stretch their food budgets. UC ANR steps in with programs and services.

Of the hundreds of ways UC ANR impacts California lives and livelihoods, 40 are highlighted in the new publication, Working for the Benefit of All Californians: 2018 UC ANR Annual Report.


Where there's fire, is there smoke flavor in winegrapes?

(Farm Press) Pam Kan-Rice, Dec. 20

“It can be difficult to determine if fruit has been compromised in quality when exposed to wildfire smoke, and whether or not smoke flavors will result in wine when fermented,” said Glenn McGourty, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Mendocino County.

A new UC Cooperative Extension study shows wind direction and speed, temperature and a vineyard's proximity to an active fire are factors that can help growers and winemakers predict smoke damage to fruit.


What's in a name? When it comes to fruit, economic and genetic forces have a major say

(LA Times) David Karp, Dec. 19

…Meanwhile, the state cooperative extension programs that have historically provided essential horticultural advice to farmers have slowly atrophied as a result of public disinvestment.

One important measure, USDA grants for agricultural extension programs, declined 38% in constant dollars, from $263 million in 1993 to $163 million in 2014, said Rick Klemme of the Assn. of Public and Land-grant Universities. Increasingly, farmers who can afford it hire private agricultural consultants, he told me.

The defunding of cooperative extension in California has been especially severe.

“The whole system is broken,” said Ben Faber, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. “When I was hired in 1990, UCCE had nearly 500 advisors; now we're down to under 200.”


What's with those little seedless holiday tangerines? (AUDIO)

(Marketplace) Mitchell Hartman, Dec. 19

…“There's the genus Citrus, subfamily Aurantioideae, in the plant family called Rutaceae,” said UC-Riverside botanist Tracy Kahn. She directs the university's world-renowned Citrus Variety Collection with more than 1,000 living specimens.

“Citrus originated in Southeast Asia — the Yunnan province of China is thought to be the seat of domestication,” she said. That was sometime in the Paleolithic era. Sometime in the mid-1800s, a small seeded orange variety grown in Morocco was imported into the U.S., Kahn said. “'Tangerine' is a term that was coined from brightly-colored sweet mandarins that shipped from the Port of Tangiers to Florida,” she explained.

…Southern California has a similar Mediterranean climate, and it's where most U.S. eating-oranges are grown. But according to UC-Davis agricultural economist Dan Sumner, the big citrus-farmers' coop, Sunkist, favored navel oranges, which have a long growing and selling season.

“For many years they resisted the move towards the seedless easy-peel tangerines,” Sumner said. “Turns out, they were wrong.”


UC Davis releases five new wine grape varieties, decades in the works

(Sacramento Business Journal) Emily Hamann, Dec. 19

Wine grapes could start being planted in places it was impossible to grow them before, thanks to research from the University of California Davis.

Researchers released five new varieties of wine grapes that are resistant to a disease that has plagued grape growers in parts of the country.

This is the first time UC Davis has released new wine grape varieties since the 1980s.

The grapes are highly resistant to Pierce's disease, a vine-killing malady prevalent in warmer areas like Southern California, which costs grape growers in the state more than $100 million a year. 


Take a class on making citrus meals

(Gold Country Media) Dec. 19

UC Master Food Preservers will teach a class on the step-by-step process of canning, dehydrating and freezing as methods of preserving citrus to use throughout the year. Learn how to make citrus-based marmalade and jelly, and how to can citrus sections. See how to use almost all parts of citrus by making candied citrus peel, preserved peels, citrus salt, powdered citrus peel and edible potpourri. Get tips and tricks to maintain top quality of frozen citrus in the freezer.


India's retaliatory tariffs may not hurt U.S. nut growers

(Farm Press) Logan Hawkes, Dec. 18

…Janine Hasey, University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Sutter/Yuba/Colusa Counties; Bruce Lampinen, Extension Specialist, UC, Davis; and Katherine Pope, UCCE Orchard Advisor Sacramento/ Solano/ Yolo Counties are reporting the training of young walnut trees occurs in the first 1 to 6 years in the life of an orchard. Traditionally it has been done using a modified central leader with a minimum pruning style; the basics behind this pruning style are similar for standard spaced or hedgerow orchards.


New cost studies released for mechanical winegrape production

(Farm Press) Pam Kan-Rice, Dec. 18

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources' Agricultural Issues Center has released four new studies detailing the costs and returns of wine grape production in the southern San Joaquin Valley. All four cost studies illustrate the cost and benefit of nearly full mechanization on wine grape production.


UC to hire six new extension advisors

(Farm Press) Pam Kan-Rice, Dec. 17

Six University of California Cooperative Extension advisor positions have been released for recruitment by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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