The trial was planted in a field of CB46, and fertility and pests were managed by the grower in the same manner as the field. Data are presented in Table 1. Stand counts were made approximately two weeks after planting on July 20th. The stand was assessed as the number of plants per two-foot length. Twelve replicate counts were averaged. We evaluated aphid and lygus damage on September 8th, which were low due to the grower's management. For lygus, we took 10 sweeps from four locations in each plot and counted the lygus. Data were averaged and are presented as a 10-sweep count. For aphids, we used a rating scale from 0 to 10 that accounted for visible crown damage and aphid incidence. In addition to the in-field assessment of lygus, we also evaluated harvest samples for stings and found that, on average, about 1.2 percent of the beans had lygus damage. No diseases were observed.
We harvested on November 6th. All six rows of each variety were cut and raked into one windrow. At the time of cutting, the grower observed that CB77 plants were laying flat, but they were laying in such a way that the knives still picked up the plants. The grower also observed that CB74 had an upright growth habit that could potentially make it a variety viable for swather cutting. We evaluated 100-seed weight as a measure of seed size, evaluating five 100-seed samples per variety.
We would like to thank the cooperating grower, the CA Crop Improvement Association for funding regional trials, and the CA Dry Bean Advisory Board for assistance with statewide research prioritization and assistance with outreach.
Table 1. 2023 Blackeye Bean Variety Evaluation Results
UC Cooperative Extension will host a Healthy Soils Program field demonstration day on cover cropping in rice systems. The meeting will take place on Thursday, February 29th, from 9:30am to noon, on Staten Island in San Joaquin County (23319 N. Staten Island Road, Thornton). Presentations will describe field trials to evaluate winter cover cropping, incentive programs for growers, and weed management topics ahead of the 2024 growing season. There will also be an opportunity to view different cover crop species for performance. Attendance is free, and registration is not required. CCA continuing education credits will be offered (0.5 PM, 1.0 CM, 0.5 PD). The agenda is pasted below, and a downloadable version is attached. Thanks for your interest in UC Cooperative Extension programming, and we hope to see you later this month!
9:30am Arrive at Staten Island grain silo to sign in (See yellow star on the map)
9:45am Depart to field location – Don't be late!
10:00am Welcome and Introductions: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE Delta Region
10:05am Winter Cover Cropping in Rice Systems – Field Demonstrations: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE Delta Region
10:20am Cover Crop Variety Evaluations: Sara Rosenberg, UC Davis
10:35am A Grower's Perspective on Cover Crops: Jerred Dixon, Conservation Farms and Ranches
10:55am Healthy Soils Program – Block Grant Pilot Program: Chris Kelley, CA Land Stewardship Institute
11:10am What's New in Rice Weed Management: Whitney Brim-DeForest, UCCE Sutter/Yuba
11:25am Weedy Rice Updates: Whitney Brim-DeForest and Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE
11:40am Discussion, Viewing of Field Plots, Evaluation
The trial was drill-seeded on April 27th at a rate of 150 lb/acre, and varieties were replicated three times as 150 ft2 plots. The trial was planted in a field of M-206, and fertility and pests were managed by the grower in the same manner as the field. We harvested the trial on October 12th, and yield was determined by hand-harvesting a 15 ft2 area from each plot.
Table 1 shows results from the Delta location (advanced breeding lines omitted). Among the entries, M-206 is the most commonly planted variety in the Delta and across the state. It has good agronomic characteristics and consistent quality across different harvest moistures. Some Delta growers also plant M-105, which is a very-early variety that has yielded well in Delta trials but may be slightly more susceptible to rice blast disease than M-206. Among the newer varieties, M-210 is early maturing, blast resistant, and may be a good option for the Delta. While variety M-211 performed well in 2023, it is not as well adapted to cooler environments as M-210 and has had variable performance over the last three years (Table 2). Also, M-211 quality tends to decrease below 18 percent harvest moisture. Statewide results of all nine testing locations will be available soon from the UC Rice Research and Information Center.
Special thanks go to the cooperating grower. Thanks also go to Bruce Linquist and Ray Stogsdill, UC Davis, for coordinating the statewide effort, and the CA Rice Research Board for funding. If you have questions about the trial or about Delta rice production, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, and good luck in 2024!
Table 1. 2023 Delta rice variety trial results.
Table 2. Three-year Delta trial yield summary (lb/acre at 14% moisture).
UC Cooperative Extension will host the SJC and Delta Field Crops Meeting on Friday, January 12, 2024 from 8:00am to 12:00pm. The meeting location is the Cabral Agricultural Center in Stockton (2101 E. Earhart Ave., Stockton, CA 95206). A printable version of the agenda is attached at the bottom of this post. The agenda is as follows:
8:00am Doors Open and Sign In
8:15am Delta Rice Pest Management Update: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE, San Joaquin/Delta Counties
8:45am Regulatory Update: Kamal Bagri and Jatinder Gill, San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner's Office
9:15am Soil Organic Matter and its Contribution to Plant Available Nitrogen: Daniel Geisseler, UC Davis
9:45am Field Crops Research and Observations from the Sacramento Valley: Sarah Light, UCCE, Sutter/Yuba, Colusa Counties
10:30am Lima and Garbanzo Breeding and Dry Bean Heat Stress Testing: Christine Diepenbrock, UC Davis
11:00am Insect IPM in Alfalfa: Case Studies of Issues with Alfalfa Weevil and Aphids: Ian Grettenberger, UC Davis
11:30am Compost Application to Alfalfa: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE, San Joaquin/Delta Counties
12:00pm Evaluations and Adjourn
We have submitted applications for continuing education. If approved, credits will be for pesticide licensing (DPR: 0.5 of L, 1.5 of O), certified crop advisers (0.5 of NM, 0.5 of SW, 1.5 of PM, 1.0 of CM), and nitrogen/irrigation management (1.25). Light refreshments will be provided.
If you require special accommodations in order to participate in this meeting, please contact UCCE San Joaquin County at 209-953-6100.
I wish you a happy holiday season, and I hope to see you at the meeting in the new year!
- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
- Author: Radomir Schmidt
The term ‘soil health' has become a common term in agricultural research and management. While most of us are familiar with testing soil for chemical properties, like nutrients, salinity, and pH, soil health also considers soil physical characteristics – like compaction, aggregation, and water infiltration – and biological characteristics – like soil respiration, active carbon, and nitrogen mineralization.
These properties influence the soil's ability to function, and enhancing these properties can improve soil functioning to grow crops and produce ecosystem services. We often relate soil health to management practices like crop rotation, cover cropping, reducing tillage, and adding compost because these have been shown to increase soil functioning in agricultural landscapes. They are also some of the practices that are financially incentivized by the CA Department of Food and Agriculture Healthy Soils Program.
There is a regulatory framework for diverting green waste from landfills to make compost. In 2014, AB 1826 was passed in California, which required businesses to recycle organic wastes and jurisdictions to set up organic waste recycling programs to divert green waste from landfills. In 2016, AB 1383 established organic waste reduction targets (75% reduction by 2025, compared to 2014). The bill also required jurisdictions to do education and outreach. Green waste diversion is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4 million metric tons per year and increase food recovery by 20 percent. Agricultural land could serve to receive green waste compost recovered by this regulatory framework.
Our project objectives were to learn whether green waste compost improves soil nutrient status or other soil health characteristics, whether it improves alfalfa yield or quality, or if its application affects greenhouse gas emissions from the system. Alfalfa was chosen for this study because it has a large footprint on the state's agricultural landscape and because it has a high phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) nutrient need which compost could help supply. Also, as a ‘high-traffic' crop, alfalfa soils can have poor physical traits (e.g. compaction, water infiltration), which could potentially be ameliorated with compost.
The study was conducted on commercial farms in Yolo and San Joaquin (SJ) counties. The Yolo site had a mineral soil with high clay content (approximately 50 percent clay), and the SJ soil was a mucky clay with high organic matter (approximately 8 percent). We are comparing two green waste compost rates (3 and 6 tons per acre) to the untreated control. Compost applications were annually (2020-2022) surface-applied in the fall/winter ahead of rain.
Our preliminary results indicate no statistically significant differences in total carbon and nitrogen among treatments (Fig. 2). There is a trend, however, for compost to increase carbon at the Yolo site, which is inherently low in organic matter. An interesting observation about the SJ site, where the soil is inherently low in K, is that the compost increased soil K (statistically significant, Fig. 3). The compost analysis showed that the product was roughly 1 percent K. Therefore, the 3-ton compost rate should have added approximately 50 lb of K per acre, and the 6-ton rate approximately 100 lb of K per acre. Based on the amount of change in soil K and the compost analysis, the compost was likely what contributed to the increase in soil K. This appears to be translating into higher tissue K (Fig. 3), and in turn, higher yields (though neither tissue K nor yield are statistically higher than the control, Fig. 4).
Greenhouse gas emissions have not differed among treatments (Fig. 5), indicating that the carbon that is added by the compost is not being respired from the system. There are higher CO2 emissions at the SJ compared to the Yolo site, which we attribute to the inherently higher carbon of the SJ soil. Additionally, we have observed that the soil acts as a methane sink. This is noteworthy because methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
Based on our experiences working on this project, we have the following guidance for growers interested in applying green waste compost. While green waste compost is a relatively cheap input, transport cost can be high. In 2021, we estimated that material plus hauling cost was approximately $27/ton and spreading was an additional $10/ton. The highest demand for compost is in the fall. To ensure availability, growers should aim to purchase compost in the spring or summer and store it on-site until fall. Ordering the compost in spring or summer also tends to result in a higher quality product delivered (i.e. less trashy). Timing compost application can be a challenge (i.e. after all harvests but before soil gets too wet), so having the compost already on-site may help in getting it applied more readily. We still have more data to analyzed for this project, so more information will be forthcoming. We want to thank the growers in Yolo and San Joaquin counties for collaborating with us on this project.