- Author: Sam Urie
On April 17, 2014, UC DREC hosted an Agronomic Crops Field Day. The field day was well-attended by local growers, industry representatives, and researchers. Participants toured the Center on hay wagons. A stop at an alfalfa field included discussion on deficit irrigation research, and highlighted work being done with subsurface drip irrigation.
Dr. Khaled Bali declared that "every drop of Colorado River water has been used three times before it arrives in the Imperial Valley" and reiterated the importance of salinity management. Each acre-foot of water (326,000 gallons) brings with it over one ton of salt. So an acre of alfalfa receiving 7 acre feet of water in a year could receive 7-8 tons of salt.
Next to an irrigation canal, Dr. Bali and engineers from the US Bureau of Land Management also demonstrated automated irrigation gates being developed to improve efficiency and lower labor needs.
At another stop, Dr. Sam Wang demonstrated his lesquerella plots. Lesquerella is a promising oilseed crop native to the desert Southwest. Other crops shown include sorghum for biofuel purposes and the Center's growing olive groves. Olives are a recent addition to the Imperial Valley's diverse range of crops.
The tour concluded with lunch at the Center where participants had the opportunity to network and ask further questions.