Kimberly Jane Gibson
Monitoring insect populations in crop fields is important for managing pests and diseases. Sweep nets have been the main tool for this task but new sensor technology is being developed to conduct continuous real-timing monitoring. This summer, the Gepts Lab at UC Davis is hosting 5 such sensors from the Danish start-up company, FaunaPhotonics, in collaboration with Dr. Emily Bick, who earned her Ph.D. in Entomology from UC Davis in 2019 and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen.
These sensors operate by shining LEDs at 2 specific wavelengths into a conically shaped volume of approximately 30 liters extending about 2 meters out from the sensor. As insects fly through the beams, light bounces off of them and is returned to the sensor. From this returning light, 30 different data points are collected including wing-beat frequency, body-size to wing-size ratio, color, and speed. With a trained model, analysis of these data can identify insects by species, sex, age, and mating status. With an untrained model, a cluster analysis can be conducted to determine the overall diversity of the insect population.
Model-training datasets are created by flying pre-identified populations of insects in a black neoprene cage equipped with a sensor. A disadvantage of this technology is that it only monitors flying insects. While most pests and beneficial insects do fly as adults, nymphs and larva do not fly.
The sensors are mounted on posts positioned about half a foot above the crop canopy. Two portable solar panels connected with a car battery enable the sensors to run continuously. While wireless data transfer is possible for live monitoring, the sensors can also store data on memory cards for future study. Each sensor is equipped with a small external weather station which monitors temperature and humidity.
Past studies have used these sensors to study a variety of insects in olives, alfalfa, canola, apples, strawberries, corn, soy, winter wheat and other crops. While only a handful of sensors are currently in existence, one can envision a future in which permanent installations of this technology provide routine monitoring for various crops.
Our California research project with the sensors is focused on monitoring lygus bugs L. hesperus in lima beans. Currently, all five sensors are installed over lima beans. Four are positioned in unsprayed strip plantings of UC 92, UC Haskell, UC Beija Flor, and Henderson Bush respectively. The fifth sensor is located in a sprayed strip planting of UC 92. The collected data will inform our research on the specific mechanisms of Lygus-tolerance in lima bean. We also hope to gain insight into the interactions between Lygus and various beneficial insects that prey on or parasitize Lygus including big-eyed bugs, Geocoris spp., Peristenus relictus, a parasitoid wasp, and minute pirate bugs, Orius spp.
By monitoring insect presence and abundance continuously over the course of a season, these sensors have the potential to provide researchers, plant breeders, and farmers more detailed data than the snapshot measurements provided by sweep nets. Researchers may be able to identify the specific mechanisms of plant tolerance to an insect pest. For example, in my study, the sensor data may reveal differences among lima bean lines in attracting or repelling Lygus; or may reveal which lines more successfully attract beneficial insects. With a better understanding of the specific mechanisms of plant insect tolerance, plant breeders will be able to more successfully select new resistant varieties. The sensors are not yet publicly available but eventually they may be used by farmers to monitor pest populations and make management decisions.
The Gepts Lab will be showcasing these sensors at the UC Davis Dry Bean field day on August 31, 2021. We are mindful of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and are following safety precautions to keep everyone safe. Therefore, pre-registration for the event is required. There is no registration fee, but the registration survey will help us in the event there is a need for contact tracing. Please visit https://tinyurl.com/ucbean21 to register. This link also provides directions to the dry bean field site. Thank you for your cooperation, and we look forward to seeing you later this month. A full agenda can be found at:http://beans.ucanr.org/?blogpost=50265&blogasset=91063
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
- Author: Sarah Light
- Author: Rachael Long
We are eager to host the UC Dry Bean Field Day once again! Please mark your calendars and join us on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 from 9:00am to 11:30am at UC Davis. The field day will feature presentations from UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension researchers. The agenda is below, and a downloadable version is available at the bottom of this post.
We are mindful of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic and are following safety precautions to keep everyone safe. Therefore, pre-registration for the event is required. There is no registration fee, but the registration survey will help us in the event there is a need for contact tracing. Please visit https://tinyurl.com/ucbean21 to register. Thank you for your cooperation, and we look forward to seeing you later this month.
9:00 am General Introduction, Paul Gepts, UC Davis
9:10 am Improving Both Productivity and Nutritional Quality in Beans, Christine Diepenbrock, UC Davis
9:20 am Garbanzo Drought Tolerance Genetic Study, Claire Spickermann, UC Davis
9:30 am Applying Novel Sensor Technology to Studying Lygus Interactions in Lima Bean, Kimberly Gibson, UC Davis
9:40 am Green cotyledon and Growth Vigor Research, Varma Penmetsa, UC Davis
9:50 am Lima Bean Breeding and Cooperative Dry Bean Nursery, Antonia Palkovic, UC Davis
10:00am Dry Bean Research Update: Seed Treatments, Plant Growth Regulators, USDA Garbanzo Variety Trials, Rachael Long UC Cooperative Extension
10:15am Nitrogen Fertility in Common Beans following Whole Orchard Recycling, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UC Cooperative Extension
10:30am Travel to Agronomy Field Headquarters
10:40am Release of New Bean Varieties with Heirloom-like Seed Patterns, BCMV Resistance, and Improved Yields, Travis Parker, UC Davis
10:50am Post-emergence Herbicide Options for Broadleaf Weed Control in Blackeye-beans, Jose Luiz Carvalho de Souza Dias, UC Cooperative Extension
11:00am UC Blackeye Variety Trial Updates, Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension and Bao-Lam Huynh, UC Riverside
11:10am Travel to Campbell Tract Field
11:20am Physiological Breeding for Drought Resilience in Common Bean, Tom Buckley, UC Davis
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
- Author: Mohamed Nouri
- Author: Brent Holtz
In 2020, we established a trial to evaluate soil properties and kidney bean yield following whole orchard recycling of a walnut orchard. Whole Orchard Recycling (WOR) occurs after the productive life of an orchard and is the process of grinding or chipping trees, spreading the wood chips evenly over the soil surface, and then incorporating the biomass into the soil. WOR has become more common in recent years because air quality regulations restrict growers' ability to manage biomass by burning. Additionally, half of California's biomass power generation plants have closed, and those that still operate are no longer paying for wood chips.
While the process of WOR came about due to biomass management restrictions, researchers have been evaluating its potential benefits for soil health and water management. This is because the practice incorporates large quantities of organic carbon (C) into the soil, and soil C influences other soil properties. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Healthy Soils Program (HSP) now recognizes the practice in their incentives program and provides growers with up to $800 per acre for WOR. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District also supports growers who recycle orchards with up to $600 per acre.
While there are benefits associated with incorporating large quantities of C into the soil, there are also tradeoffs. The woody biomass of the trees has a high carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio. The C:N ratio is the mass of C relative to the mass of N. It is an important characteristic of soil amendments because it influences soil biological activity. When the C:N is high, as it would be with woody biomass, the N is primarily used for microbial energy and maintenance. In other words, the N is ‘tied up' by the microbes and not available for plants.
Our understanding of nutrient cycling and availability is most advanced in almond WOR sites replanted back to almond. Previous research at WOR sites that were replanted back to almond found that doubling the N fertilizer recommendation in the first year could help to avoid reduced growth of the new orchard. We established this trial because more research is needed on WOR in other orchard systems, and when annual crops are subsequently planted rather than orchards. Our objectives were to evaluate soil properties and bean yield following WOR compared to a non-WOR control, and to evaluate two N fertilizer rates. We hypothesized that bean yield might be compromised following WOR due to N immobilization but that a higher rate of N fertilizer might overcome the yield gap.
The trial took place on an approximately 35-acre site near Linden, following the June 2019 walnut orchard recycling that incorporated approximately 70 tons of wood chips per acre (Figure 1). At that time, three approximately 0.5-acre plots were kept without wood chips, as ‘untreated controls'. We then identified three 0.5-acre WOR plots adjacent to each control plot.
Figure 1. Recycled orchard site showing wood chips spread over the field and the depth of wood chips applied.
More information about our procedures can be found in the full report, available from https://ucanr.edu/sites/deltacrops/files/352144.pdf. Soils were sampled three times during the season to inform our fertilizer rates and understand C and N cycling. The UC production manual for dry beans indicates that a bean crop that yields 2000 lb/acre needs approximately 80-120 lb of N to grow the crop. While beans are a legume and can fix atmospheric N and turn it into plant-available N, they do not fix enough to satisfy their own N requirement. They fix about 20-40 percent of their need. Nitrogen inputs for the trial are listed in Table 1. The beans were planted on July 10th and harvested on October 19th.
Table 1. Nitrogen inputs in 2020 trial.
Soil samples were evaluated for organic C, total N, and nitrate-N. With the pre-plant samples collected in June, there were no differences in organic C, total N, or nitrate-N between the WOR treatment and control. Total organic C averaged 1.2 percent across all plots, total N averaged 1052 ppm, and nitrate-N averaged 2.78 ppm. In August, prior to sidedress N application, we observed differences in plant size, with plants in the WOR treatments being smaller than those in the control plots (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Bean plants in August 2020, prior to sidedress N application, where plants in the WOR treatment were observably stunted compare to those in the control plots where no wood chips were previously incorporated. A) Plants to the right of the pink flag in the foreground are in a control plot. B) Bean plants in the foreground near the pink flag are in a control plot.
By October, soil organic C, total N, and nitrate-N differed among treatments. (See full report for graphed data.) Organic C and total N were significantly higher in the WOR treatment compared to the control, and neither had differences between the N fertilizer treatments. Nitrate-N, however, had an opposite result. It was significantly higher in the control compared to the WOR treatment, and there were differences between fertilizer rates, with the lowest nitrate being in the grower N rate plots of the WOR treatment. The soil results suggest that, by October, the wood chips were decomposing and contributing to the soil organic C and N pools. The organic N, however, was not yet mineralizing to nitrate. Nitrate was limited in the WOR treatment, where it was possibly tied up by soil microbes, unless boosted by the doubled sidedress fertilizer rate.
Whole orchard recycling and nitrogen fertilizer rate impacted yield in this trial. Yield was statistically higher in the control plots, averaging 2652 lb/ac across replicates, compared to the WOR plots where the average was 1820 lb/ac (Figure 3A). There were also differences in yield among N fertilizer rates (Figure 3B). In the control, the grower N rate and the doubled N rate performed statistically similar. In other words, there was no benefit to applying the doubled sidedress rate in the control. Additionally, the grower rate in the control performed statistically similar to the doubled rate in the WOR treatment. This indicates that while WOR may tie up N – limiting its availability for plant growth and yield – doubling the recommended N rate overcame the yield penalty imposed by WOR. Thus, when coupled with additional N fertilizer, WOR can augment soil health properties, like organic C and N, without penalty to yield.
Figure 3. Bean yield in October 2020 averaged across three replicated blocks. A) Bean yield between WOR treatment and the control were statistically different. B) Bean yield for N fertilizer rates were also statistically different. Bean moisture averaged 10.5 percent across all treatments.
This project evaluated soil properties and kidney bean yield following walnut WOR. By incorporating a large quantity of organic C into the soil, WOR has the potential to improve soil health properties, but a tradeoff may be that N becomes limited for subsequent crops. We found organic C and N to increase with WOR from the beginning of the bean season to the end, but plant-available nitrate was limited by WOR. Bean yield suffered as a result of WOR, but doubling the fertilizer N recommendation mitigated the yield penalty. Under the circumstances of this trial, a total N rate of just over 200 lb/ac maintained bean yield where WOR had been implemented compared to the control plots with no wood chips. It does appear, however, that the yield in the WOR treatment might have benefitted from an even higher rate of N. To our knowledge, this trial was the first of its kind and more research will be needed to develop N fertility guidelines in dry beans following WOR. Other tree and annual crops should also be studied. We will continue this trial in 2021 to evaluate whether the impacts of WOR continue in the second season after recycling.
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
- Author: Nick Clark
The California Dry Bean Advisory Board is requesting applied research proposals for 2021. This commodity-based research request is sponsored by the California Dry Bean Marketing Order, under the guidance of CDFA (CA Dept Food & Ag). The Board has supported applied research by University programs for many years.
Attached, please find the grant application as well as a list of applied research priorities developed by the Dry Bean Advisory Board for 2021. In particular, the board is looking for projects in food science with developing new products for consumers, using California beans.
For current information on dry bean production in California as well as past reports funded by the board, see the Dry Bean webpage on the Agronomy Research and Information Center site. Previously funded research reports are available from this database.
Please share this call for proposals with colleagues and others who might be interested in dry bean research. Proposals are due by Friday, February 5, 2021.
Progress reports for projects funded by the dry bean industry in 2020 will also be due Friday, February 5, 2021. Attached is an example progress report.
Please submit proposals and final reports electronically to: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, firstname.lastname@example.org. The final report will be uploaded in the UC ANR Dry Bean publication database referenced above.
If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Leinfelder-Miles or Nick Clark, email@example.com, UCCE Farm Advisors and UC ANR Co-Liaisons, CA Dry Bean Advisory Board.
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
- Author: Amber Vinchesi-Vahl
A question came up about managing root-knot nematodes in processing tomato and lima bean rotations. Root-knot nematodes are tiny worm-like soil dwelling pests that cause root galling on plant roots, resulting in significant yield and quality losses. Symptoms of severe root-knot infestations include patches of chlorotic, stunted, necrotic, or wilted plants. These nematodes also predispose plants to other soilborne pathogens that cause root rot and wilt diseases. For example, a bean variety resistant to infection by the Fusarium wilt pathogen will become susceptible to this disease if infected with root-knot nematodes.
What is the link between nematodes in tomatoes and limas? Dr. Phil Roberts, Nematologist at UC Riverside shared the following response:
There are several root-knot nematode species and they differ in their response to resistance in tomato and various bean crops. Most common in our Sacramento Valley area are Meloidogyne incognita and M. javanica. These nematodes are normally controlled by Mi-1 gene based resistant tomatoes, but there are resistance-breaking populations so that could be the reason for the infection on tomato (unless the tomatoes grown were not actually resistant). A further possibility is that the species is M. hapla, which is not controlled by the tomato resistance. M. hapla tends to induce smaller pearl-like galls on tomato roots and is not common in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin Valleys.
As to rotating with lima beans, limas are susceptible to these root-knot species but there are resistant varieties available. Beja Flor baby lima has strong root-knot resistance. It was bred to contain three resistance genes that do a good job of blocking M. incognita and M. javanica. It yields well with the caveat that Steve Temple (former UCCE legume specialist) used to remark that it is more Lygus bug susceptible than some varieties, so if a grower went with UC Beja Flor they would need to keep up on the Lygus management. UC Luna baby lima has no root knot resistance. Other lines carrying M. incognita (but not M. javanica) resistance are the large limas White Ventura N and UC92.
If root-knot nematodes are present in a field with a history of Fusarium wilt, choose varieties that are resistant to root-knot nematodes as well as to the particular Fusarium wilt race present when possible. Another option is to rotate with root-knot nematode resistant cowpeas (blackeyes) instead of limas. Based on host-range tests, some varieties of cowpea have more root-knot nematode resistance than tomato. For example, some root-knot nematode races are virulent and highly pathogenic to Mi-1 gene based resistant tomatoes but not to nematode resistant cowpeas.