- Author: Julie Sievert
Under the auspices of Georgios Vidalakis, Professor at UC Riverside, a handful of graduate students visited Kearney to broaden their scientific knowledge and see examples of how individuals in careers such as their own can have an impact. The students were from a variety of disciplines including Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Entomology, and Botany. Vidalakis said that one reason he chooses to make the annual trek to Kearney is the great diversity of agriculture represented in this one field station.
Their morning was spent in the field.
Nematologist Andreas Westphal explained how he is saving years of research time by testing walnut rootstock against nematodes and for compatibility with commercial scion wood, simultaneously. Below.
Themis Michailides, Plant Pathologist, showed the students samples of infected pistachios. Later he said of this, “The disease is anthracnose of pistachio caused by Colletotrichum fioriniae, according to Project Scientist, Paulo Lichtemberg. It is a new disease in California and caused major problem in a few orchards in Glenn Co. The same disease in 2010 destroyed 75% of the Australian pistachio crop. It is fortunate that the Kerman pistachio that is extensively planted in California shows more tolerance to this pathogen than the susceptible Red Aleppo cultivar. At present, we (with the lead of Paulo Lichtemberg) are doing epidemiological studies to determine conditions affecting the disease, evaluation of pistachio cultivar susceptibility to the pathogen, and fungicide trials to manage it.” Below.
The students examined a novel trapping method for leaffooted bug as Entomologist Houston Wilson related control strategies for this emerging pest of pistachios. Below.
After lunch, Leslie Holland, a Plant Pathology PhD Candidate working with CE Specialist Florent Trouillas, gave a presentation to students on the important role of plant disease diagnosis to growers and to research institutions. Holland spoke with students about emerging diseases in the fruit and nut crop industry in California and the research being conducted to manage these diseases.
The group continued their day learning from Director Jeff Dahlberg how he and just six other people on the board of the Whole Grains Counsel developed the Whole Grains Stamp. The stamp, used to help consumers make healthy eating choices, is now on 12,000 different products in 58 countries. Vidalakis said that for the students to see firsthand the kind of influence a small group can have in the world was a “jaw-dropping” moment.
- Author: Laura J. Van der Staay
Reedley College provides upward bound math and science programs to 405 students from ten high schools ranging from Madera to Dinuba. These programs serve mainly low-income and first generation college bound students with a goal of generating enthusiasm for science and math leading to increased college enrollment. About a quarter of these students attended workshops at Kearney in June and July.
Kris Tollerup, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in the statewide IPM program and at Kearney Agricultural Research & Extension Center (KARE), almond, pistachio, tree fruit and grapes, taught a workshop on integrated pest management (IPM) strategies and practices. Students went to the fields and performed insect collection sweeps in alfalfa. They used dissecting microscopes to assist with identification of beneficial, neutral, and pest insects. Students learned about IPM strategies as well as how the practices and crops in one grower's field can impact his or her pest pressure as well as the pest pressure in a neighboring grower's crop.
Andreas Westphal, UC Cooperative Extension assistant specialist in the Department of nematology at UC Riverside and KARE, pathogens and nematodes affecting plants, taught the students about nematodes. Students used compound and dissecting microscopes to help identify different nematodes and different stages of nematode development. Samples of plant damage were also available. This workshop included IPM strategies for plant parasitic nematode pest management.
Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at KARE, statewide cropping systems, taught the students about population predictions and the need to find ways to increase food production, increase available quality water, and sustain the environment. Students learned about conservation tillage, soil texture, soil stability, and leadership. They conducted soil texture and soil stability tests. Students discussed how much better the conservation tillage soil's stability and water infiltration was compared to the conventional tillage soil.
Themis Michailides, plant pathologist in the Department of plant pathology at UC Davis and KARE, ecology, epidemiology and control of fungal diseases of fruit and nut crops and vines, postharvest diseases, aflatoxin and mycotoxins of nut crops and figs, taught students about different pathogens, beneficial organisms, and the impact of certain organisms. Students used compound and dissecting microscopes. Larger samples were also available to see the symptoms and visible damage to the host plant. IPM strategies were discussed.
KARE staff provided 3 workshops.
-Students learned about sensory evaluation. Students took turns preparing and delivering samples and being the consumer that determined consumer acceptance. Different strategies to make the data more robust were discussed and demonstrated. Students discussed the results and observed the variation in consumer preferences. They used raw agricultural as well as value added commodities. There was insufficient time for statistical analysis, but the general concepts and impact of statistical analysis were discussed.
-Students discussed different experimental designs and terms. They visited actual research fields and learned how the plots are laid out and how the variables are controlled to help address certain issues and obtain robust data that is useful to stakeholders.
-Students also learned how and why fruit maturity and quality standards were set, as well as methodologies for determining fruit maturity and quality. They performed fruit maturity and quality testing in a laboratory setting and compared their objective and subjective assessments of the fruit. To get the sugar to acid ratio, students conducted titrations and used refractometers. Students used a penetrometer to determine fruit firmness. Some of the students toured other labs in the facility and learned about pathology efficacy trials and altered atmosphere strategies.
- Author: Andreas Westphal
- Editor: Laura J. Van der Staay
Andreas Westphal, UC Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Nematology at UC Riverside and UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center started January 15, 2015. Westphal obtained his first two degrees from the University of Göttingen. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside under the supervision of J. Ole Becker. After some postdoctoral experience at UC Davis, and some faculty experience with Texas A&M University and Purdue University, he moved back to Germany. He was recruited by UC after Mike McKenry retired.
Westphal's research program will focus on nematode problems of tree and vine crops. He will explore a multitude of cultural, biological and chemical strategies for managing nematodes in almond, grape, peach, walnut and other crops. Westphal moved here from the Julius Kühn-Institut, Braunschweig, Germany where he researched nematode management on field crops, and was responsible for determining plant resistance to plant-parasitic nematodes in the official cultivar release program.