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Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium to meet in Reno Nov. 19-21

“Optimizing Yield and Quality in Irrigated Forages” will be the focus of discussion at the 2019 Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium. More than 550 people are registered for the symposium, which will be held Nov. 19-21 at the Grand Sierra Hotel in Reno, Nev.

Irrigation management, forage quality and pest management are among the many topics that will be covered at the symposium. The comprehensive program features 62 speakers, 70 exhibitors, student poster sessions and an auction.

For a complete link to the program and registration/exhibitor information, please see the California Alfalfa & Forage Workgroup website at https://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu.

This program was organized by Cooperative Extension specialists and farmers from 11 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

This year we feature several important areas of emphasis: Irrigation Workshop, Pest Management, Systems, Alternative Forages, and a ‘Forage Quality Mini-Symposium' on the last day.

Here are some of the agenda highlights:

Day One – Tuesday, Nov. 19, FORAGE IRRIGATION WORKSHOP: This one-day workshop provides many of the basics of irrigation management for forage crops.

  • Importance of Irrigation Management in Forage Crops
  • What is ET and How to Measure?
  • Soil Moisture Monitoring
  • Irrigation Scheduling
  • Fertigation and Use of Degraded Waters
  • Salinity Management
  • Deficit Irrigation of Alfalfa
  • Analysis of Sprinkler Systems
  • LEPA/LESA and Mobile Drip
  • Variable Rate Irrigation
  • Surface Irrigation Systems Design
  • Automation of Furrow and Flood Irrigation
  • Comparing Systems on-Farm
  • Drip Irrigation Systems in Alfalfa
  • Management of SDI on-Farm
  • Innovations from Companies in Irrigation Management

5 p.m.-7 p.m. SYMPOSIUM WELCOME RECEPTION Hors D'oeuvres and No Host Cocktails, Exhibits Open, Posters on Display

Day Two – Wednesday, Nov. 20, MAIN SESSION: ECONOMICS, WATER, PEST MANAGEMENT, FORAGE SYSTEMS & ALTERNATIVE FORAGES: This features an array of topics on the environment, economic trends, pest management and alternative forages.

  • Climate Change and Forage Production in Western States
  • Alfalfa Rotation Studies with Alfalfa, Small Grains, Corn
  • Benefits of Alfalfa in Rotations
  • Snake River Aquifer Groundwater Recharge
  • Alfalfa for Groundwater Recharge
  • Hay Industry Trends
  • Western Dairy Trends
  • World Trends in Exports
  • Key Issues for Hay Exporters

SYMPOSIUM BANQUET LUNCH

  • Control of Rodents Using Drones
  • Managing Beldings Ground Squirrels
  • Managing Weeds in Alfalfa
  • Glyphosate Injury in Roundup Ready Alfalfa
  • Clover Rood Cuculio
  • Insect Resistance in Alfalfa Weevil
  • IPM Program for Alfalfa Winter Pests in Deserts
  • Sugarcane Aphid and Control Strategies
  • Grazing Techniques on 7.2 Million Acres of alfalfa in Argentina
  • Simulated Grazing Timing of Annual Cereals
  • Optimizing Management of Small grain Forages
  • Management of N in Timothy
  • Tef as a Forage Crop
  • Rhodes Grass as an Alternative Forage
  • Corn and Sorghum Forages: Water and N Implications
  • Utilization of Sugarbeet as a Forage

5 p.m.-7 p.m. SYMPOSIUM RECEPTION Hors D'oeuvres and No Host Cocktails, Exhibits Open, Posters on Display. 6 p.m. CALIFORNIA ALFALFA & FORAGE ASSOCIATION LIVE AUCTION

Day Three – Thursday, Nov. 21, MAIN SESSION-FORAGE QUALITY MINI-SYMPOSIUM This is an event co-sponsored by the NIRS consortium and the Forage Testing Association

  • Linkage of Testing with Markets
  • Horse Nutritional Requirements and Testing
  • Importance of Fiber and Fiber Digestibility
  • Representing the Value of Energy, Protein, and Fiber in Feedstuffs
  • Key Hay Sampling Protocols
  • How to Choose a High-Quality Testing Lab
  • Standardization of Forage Testing and NFTA Certification
  • Misconceptions of NIRS Analysis
  • Multi-State Analysis of Forage Quality
  • Importance of Dry Matter Analysis
  • Future of Forage Testing 

3 p.m. ADJOURN SYMPOSIUM

See the complete program at https://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu. Register for the program, hotel and exhibitors at http://calhay.org/symposium. Continuing education units will be provided (24 units CCA, 3 units PCA).

Posted on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 11:35 AM
  • Author: Dan Putnam
  • Author: Rachael Long

UC Ag Experts Talk: Label Reading Webinar

Reading pesticide label instructions. (Credit: Jack Kelly Clark)

Pesticide Label Reading for Safe Applications November 20, 2019 from 3pm to 4pm Lisa Blecker, Coordinator of the Pesticide Safety Education Program, will talk about all the important information you can find on pesticide labels to ensure the safety of...

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 8:31 AM

Innovating dairy digester research

Dr. Pramod Pandey, a faculty member and cooperative extension specialist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine runs experiments in capturing biogas.

California leads the nation in agricultural production, producing nearly all the nation's leafy green vegetables, most nut and fruit varieties, and is ranked first in egg and dairy production.

What that means is that California also produces a lot of agricultural waste materials, including lots of manure.

Historically these waste materials have been used as a rich source of compost. However, researchers at UC Cooperative Extension are researching innovative uses for this material. 

Dr. Pramod Pandey, a faculty member and Cooperative Extension specialist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, focuses on better ways to manage waste material for both large and small farms. Dr. Pandey researches how to convert the organic matter in manure and other waste materials into a renewable energy source that can be used to power our state.

Converting manure to renewable energy

California gets over 27% of its energy from renewable resources like solar wind, and hydroelectric. Our goal is 50% renewable energy by 2030. California is taking steps towards this goal by building a network of dairy digesters which use bacteria to break down dairy manure and convert it into biogas. Clean burning fuels, such as biogas, are a sustainable source for generating energy because when they are burned, harmful by products are not produced.

Big bonus

A bonus is that the solid material left after the digesters have done their job is a fertilizer that can be used to grow the fruits, vegetables and nuts that our state is famous for. This type of fertilizer contains nutrients that are more readily available for plants because the digestion process breaks up organic materials more efficiently than traditional composting. The digestion process also helps reduce the number of harmful bacteria found in manure, making it much safer for use on plants grown for human food.

California leading in discovery and innovation

When we think about where agriculture has been and where it is going, innovation, efficiency and environmental sustainability are hallmarks of our approach in California. People like Dr. Pandey are driving forward research and technology to minimize the impact of agriculture production on the environment. When we think about where agriculture has been and where it is going, innovation, efficiency and environmental sustainability are hallmarks of our approach in California. His multidisciplinary approach to solving this complex problem of agricultural waste materials and water/air quality helps improve the economic wellbeing of farmers, and benefits Californians by providing nutrients for safe, healthy, and nutritious food.

While the importance of California's agriculture might be huge, its footprint on the environment doesn't have to be, and it is researchers like Dr. Pramod Pandey who are ensuring our state leads in discovery and innovation for many harvests to come.

Heather Johnson, Instructional Systems Designer, Gregory Wlasiuk, E-Learning Curriculum Designer, and Dr. Sara Garcia, Project Scientist, with the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security at the University of California, Davis, provided the script for the video which was used in this story. View Heather, Sara and Greg's filming and editing skills in the video below. Greg provides the narration. 

Posted on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 2:27 PM

Removing sodas for sale at UCSF helps cut sugar consumption and improve health

A study of the first University of California campus (UC San Francisco) to ban the sale of soda on campus has shown that employees reduced their consumption by nearly 50 percent. UCSF staff who took part in the study also reduced their waist measurements and weight.

“This was not a ban on the consumption of sugared beverages,” emphasized co-lead author Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, UCSF professor in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “This was a ban on sales on sugary beverages in vending machines, break rooms and cafeterias...People could still bring them from home or buy them off campus.”

The study was published Oct. 28, 2019, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine.

Fruit-infused water is a refreshing substitute for sugary soda.

California Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D–Santa Monica) noted the importance of workplace and governmental restrictions on soda sales while communities are prohibited from establishing local soda taxes for the next 12 years. In June 2018, the beverage industry strong-armed the California Legislature and Governor into enacting a “preemption” law that prohibits communities from passing local soda taxes. 

“Workplace restrictions enable communities to take charge of their own health as we build momentum to pass AB 138, my bill that establishes a statewide soda tax that will fund prevention efforts. The bill will reduce soda consumption and generate positive health outcomes in impacted communities, where most needed, just like the UCSF effort,” Bloom said.

Lorrene Ritchie, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of the UC Nutrition Policy Institute, which conducts nutrition research to strengthen public policy, commented: “I am so impressed with both UCSF's sales ban and this very well-done study. Sodas are such a huge contributor to our obesity crisis that it is heartening to recognize a solution that any employer can adopt to help people improve their lives.”

Speaking of the UCSF study, lead author Elissa Epel, PhD, UCSF professor of psychiatry and director of the UCSF Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center, said: “This shows us that simply ending sales of sugary drinks in the workplace can have a meaningful effect on improving health in less than one year. There is a well-known pathway from soda to disease. High sugar intake leads to abdominal fat and insulin resistance, which are known risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and even dementia. Recent studies have also linked sugar intake to early mortality.” 

Posted on Monday, October 28, 2019 at 2:42 PM

Nonchemical Alternatives for Weed Management

Creeping woodsorrel, <i>Oxalis corniculata</i><br>(Credit: JM DiTomaso)

Weeds in the landscape can be tough to manage. But there are many options for weed management using an integrated approach that combines nonchemical and chemical methods. Identification: Start by identifying the weeds you want to manage. UC IPM has...

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 4:17 PM

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