Authors: Ben Lee, Daniel Hasegawa, Ian Grettenberger
We would like to announce the creation of a new web-based tool that will provide more seamless access to pest population data from a pest trapping network. Pests included are thrips, diamondback moth, and aphids.
We wanted to provide growers with a tool to view the most up-to-date lettuce pest population data available and have developed an app to track pest populations over time throughout the Salinas Valley. Our app can be used to quickly view current thrips, diamondback moth, and aphid abundances, where pest populations are increasing the fastest, and how previous years' pest populations responded to changes in temperature. We hope to add more features in the future and are looking forward to feedback from the community for ways to improve our app or what data presentations would be useful in making management decisions.
The trapping efforts were started by former IPM advisor Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia and are now operated by Daniel Hasegawa with USDA-Salinas . Pests are trapped on a weekly basis using sticky traps (diamondback moth: pheromone trap, thrips and aphids: yellow sticky card). Ben Lee created this app as a member of the Grettenberger lab at UC Davis.
Click on the links (below) to open the app in your browser or on your phone, and be sure to bookmark for the most up-to-date pest data. These links can also be found on the Entomology section of the UCCE Monterey website Salinas Valley pest monitoring - Monterey County (ucanr.edu)
Desktop version: https://salinaspestmap.shinyapps.io/salinas-pestmap/
Mobile version: https://salinaspestmap.shinyapps.io/salinas-pestmap-mobile/
Once again, we are experiencing a prolonged heat wave in the Salinas Valley. Maximum air temperature in the King City area reached 112 °F earlier in the week (Fig. 1). Recent maximum air temperatures in South Salinas have been far greater than the average temperatures recorded for the same period during previous years (2015 through 2019).
Although this heat wave will probably wane in the next several days, the central coast region will likely experience periods of record setting temperatures in the future. There are several concerns about how prolonged elevated temperatures affect cool season vegetables. Heat can cause immediate damage to plant tissue when temperatures of the plant surfaces become too high and cause cells to die (Fig. 2). In addition, sustained high temperatures can affect plant growth and development. For instance, in lettuce damage can vary from obvious burning on the edges of leaves from too much heat load (Fig. 3) to more physiological issues that result in poor head formation in iceberg (e.g. puffy heads). In broccoli, if heat damage occurs when heads are forming, it can result in uneven bead sizes when the head matures (Fig. 4). Excessive heat can result in wilting in cauliflower (Fig. 5) during high temperatures and expose curds to sunburning or cause discoloring (Fig. 6.) In the past two years, we have observed that excessive heat can stress lettuce plants and make them more susceptible to infection with Pythium Wilt (Pythium uncinulatum). That was particularly evident in the 2020 heat spells. If there is inoculum Pythium Wilt in the soil, stress caused by heat on the plant can set off infection (Fig. 7).
A previous article presented strategies for maximizing evapotranspiration rates to keep crops cool. Evapotranspiration (ET) is the process in which liquid water vaporizes from plant leaves and moist soil surfaces and is lost to the surrounding air. As liquid water vaporizes, heat is also lost from the surfaces of leaves and soil and from the surrounding air, which cools the crop. Assuring that crops have adequate soil moisture during the hottest period of the day (generally 11 am to 4 pm) can keep plants as cool as possible. Insufficient moisture to meet crop water requirements can result in stomates of the leaves closing and decrease transpiration rates. Limiting transpiration would raise leaf temperatures, potentially to temperatures greater than the surrounding air.
Hence, a good strategy to prevent heat damage to vegetable crops is to water fields that have not been recently irrigated. Also, keep in mind that during the last few days daily reference ET increased substantially due to the high air temperatures and so more water is needed than normal to replace the amount of moisture that crops transpiration. In South Salinas, for example, the CIMIS station showed that daily reference ET increased from 0.18 inches per day in late August to 0.25 inches per day during the heat wave, approximately a 40% increase in water demand (Fig. 8).
Irrigations do not need to be very long, as much as they should supply the crop with enough water to refill the soil profile to the depth of the root zone. Irrigating more frequently for less time would be a better strategy than irrigating less frequently for more time, since the soil has a limited capacity to store water in the root zone. Over-saturating the soil during high soil temperatures through heavy irrigations could worsen infections from soil-borne pathogens.
The CropManage online decision support tool can assist with determining the amount of water to apply and frequency to irrigate for most vegetable crops produced in the Salinas Valley. The software allows one to customize the recommendations for the development stage of the crop, soil type, and irrigation system characteristics.
Finally, for crops irrigated by sprinklers, short irrigations during the hottest time of the day can reduce air temperatures. This might be a good strategy for vegetables that are in a stage of development that is very susceptible for heat damage, such as cauliflower close to harvest.
Richard Smith1, Eric Brennan2 and Patricia Love1
1. University of California Cooperative Extension, Monterey County. 2. USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Salinas.
Fall-grown cover crops (planted August-September and incorporated October-November) provide a useful planting slot for a percent of vegetable crop acreage in the Salinas Valley. It is a time when some growers find an opportunity, after two crop rotations, to fit a cover crop in their operations. It has the particular advantage of allowing the grower to incorporate the cover crop and still have time to work the ground when it is still dry before the onset of winter rains.
In Ag Order 4.0 which was approved in April 2021, cover crops that meet the following criteria were granted a credit on the R side of the applied (A) minus removed (R) metric for nitrogen loading in vegetable production fields: 1) a non-legume cover crop grown for ³ 90 days during the winter fallow period (October to April); 2) accumulates more than 4,500 lbs/acre of oven-dry biomass; and 3) has a C:N ratio of ³ 20:1 at incorporation. Unfortunately, fall-grown cover crops do not meet these criteria and therefore growers cannot claim a credit when reporting nitrogen loading in their fields.
In the fall of 2021, we conducted six on-farm evaluations of fall-grown cover crops to determine their productivity, nitrogen scavenging capability and C:N ratio at incorporation. Planting dates ranged from August 25 to October 3, and the average days to incorporation was 54 (ranged from 47 to 59). Two barley varieties UC 696 and UC 937, as well as Merced rye were planted in each evaluation. The barley varieties were included because we anticipated that they would reach the heading growth stage more quickly than rye when growers typically terminate cover crops. However, in these evaluations, barley did not reach this stage any faster than Merced rye as measured by the Feekes cereal growth and development scale (Table 1). In 54 days, all cover crops produced more than 4,500 lbs oven-dry biomass and took up from 150 to 161 lbs N/A. The C:N ratios of the cover crops ranged from 13.0 to 13.4.
Fall-grown cover crops grow and mature quickly due to the longer days and warmer weather that they experience in these early planting slots. An important question is, do fall-grown cover crops help to reduce nitrogen leaching during the winter? To help answer this question, we intend to conduct mineralization studies of the cover crop residue to determine what amount of the residue remains unmineralized after twelve weeks. The nitrogen in the unmineralized portion of the cover crop residue is not immediately susceptible to nitrate leaching and could potentially be deserving of a credit. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board will update the criteria in the Ag Order each five years based on new scientific information. If there is evidence that fall-grown cover crops can help mitigate nitrate leaching, this may help to justify expanding cover cropping options for growers in the Ag Order.
- Author: Richard Smith
University of California Cooperative Extension
2022 Automated Technology Field day
Wednesday, June 8
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Hartnell East Campus, Salinas, CA
1752 East Alisal Road, Salinas (follow signs to demonstration area)
- Growing role of automated technologies in precision weeding and other ag operations
- Automated weeders, thinners and sprayers from several companies will be demonstrated on planted crops
- Technologies appropriate for conventional and organic production will be demonstrated
- There will be ample opportunity to watch demonstrations of each machine and to discuss with company representatives
- Ag Mechtronix, Carbon Robotics, FarmWise, Garford (Quinn Tractor), Keithly Williams, Kult, Mantis Ag Technologies, Naio Technologies, Robovator (Pacific Ag Rentals), Steketee (Sutton Ag), Stout (Stout Industrial Technology), Veda Farming, Verdant Robotics, Vision Robotics and Simox/UC Davis/U of Arizona Steam Applicator.
- Steve Fennimore, Extension Vegetable Weed Control Specialist, UC Davis
- Richard Smith, Vegetable Crop and Weed Science Farm Advisor, Monterey County
3.0 Continuing Education Credits have been approved
No registration fee and refreshments will be served.
For more information call Richard at 831-759-7357.