So this year you don't have to hassle with coming down to my office, partake in less than premium coffee and miss some of your morning work on the farm. The Certified Scout training for LBAM is on youtube this year.
I've spoken with the Agricultural Commissioner's office, and the critical part to document your participation is that you email <email@example.com> or call me 831-763-8025. I'll briefly ask you some questions, get your name down and forward to the Ag Commissioner.
Here is the link (you can also search 2021 LBAM on the site):
This one doesn't show too much in strawberry here on the Central Coast, so I was glad when the sample was brought in to me. Complaint was fairly significant numbers of a reddish mite mixed together with a mess of twospotted mite. Are these going to cause a problem was the question. Given that the carmine mites here are few in number and, as per the UC IPM website, tend to decline anyway as the temperatures warm in the spring, my call was to focus on the vast numbers of twospotted spider mite here.
I'm not going to restate the excellent information provided by colleague Shimat Joseph several years on the Salinas Valley Agriculture blog, so here is the link:
Had a good question today on whether or not this winter, measured in chill hours (that is to say, accumulation of hours of temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees F), has been colder than others. Didn't seem that way, but it does serve to check.
If you haven't used this excellent tool from the UC Davis Fruit and Nut Research site, you should. The link here takes to you to the chill hour calculators, which run off the statewide CIMIS system of weather stations:
The station I am using is #129, which is just over the bridge in Pajaro.
The accumulated hours of chill start November 1, 2020 and run through February 8, 2021 are 671. Compared to 448 hours last year through this date, it's a lot more. Then we have 454 hours for the 2019-20 winter, 272 hours for 2018-19 winter, 421 hours for the 2017-2018 winter and 565 hours for the 2016-2017 winter.
I include a copy of the chart comparing all of these chill accumulations below, note that years are labeled by the year the accumulation starts, ie 2019 marks Nov 1, 2019 through Feb 8,2020.
Great question, keep them coming!
If you live in Watsonville, have you seen this? This is on the side of the parking garage next to Courthouse and library on the south side of Main Street.
It extends the full five levels of the parking garage. It's not difficult to feel the immensity of the thing, and in turn I think it's meant to communicate the immensity of labor involved in picking all of the strawberries. It's some serious tilework there too - I'm doing some of my own at home and just thinking about doing this one at about 50x the size and complexity dazzles.
Beyond the idea of size though, not being too familiar with the history of pre-Colombian Mexico, I can't say I can interpret the Aztec pictogram and then I'm a bit thrown by the strand of barbed wire separating this from the rest of the mosaic below. One thing that does strike deeply to even the casual observer is the blank look on the face of the worker - no pupils drawn into the eyes and the mouth in a frown. Not feeling a lot of joy here, and to me it's the look of resignation.
As we get closer to the time of our annual strawberry production research meeting, I want to share with you what we are doing. Clearly, having some 300 attendees packed shoulder to shoulder in a closed room to listen to the latest in strawberry science is not possible now, not to mention very likely ending in me and some of my colleagues time in jail and garnering a certain measure of national infamy.
Never fear, together with the fantastic collaboration of Emily Webster of the California Strawberry Commission, you will once again be able to partake in the finest that the University and its collaborators have to offer.
Unlike some of the other meetings, which have taken place on one single day, we are rather offering the presentations in an "on demand" format, meaning that you can watch them whenever you have the time. And time you will need, since in this format I can have scientists from out of state present just as easily as those right next door. The idea is to post them in a publicly accessible space online, to which you go to and pick and choose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it. I'm thinking right now we are close to 15 total presentations.
Continuing education Emily is petitioning the CDPR to award hours to presentations related to pest management, and YES, translated versions to Spanish for each presentation will be available.
So, stay tuned the meeting is coming.
One more thought as well. I've spoken with many growers and others about this meeting, and it is my full intention to bring it back to the in person format when it is safe to do so. There is nothing like the energy and camaraderie of the in- person meeting, so that needs to come back. Then again, and I have heard from others further away, that this Zoom format is great since you don't have to travel a whole day (or halfway around the world, as the case may be) to be here. I am intending to somehow offer that then too in the future.