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ANR in the news Jan. 16-31, 2020

California ag faces a decade of challenges

 (Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Jan. 31

…“We're getting close to a point where field work in agriculture is similar to or higher than the wages in other sectors,” said Dan Sumner, director of the University of California's Agricultural Issues Center in Davis. “But the problem is the hours of work.”

Much of agricultural work is seasonal, making the 40-hour work week impractical in many circumstances, Sumner and others say.

…When they mechanize, growers encounter more regulations. For instance, Steve Fennemore, a UC plant sciences specialist in Salinas, has been helping a company develop an autonomous weeder and is aghast at a state safety requirement that there be a person within 10 feet operating each agricultural robot in use.

“We have a tremendous labor shortage,” Fennemore said. “We have teams of robots working a field. Why do I need more than one person to run them?

“Shouldn't we be encouraging this kind of research” into labor-saving tools, he asks. “We need to do everything we can to mechanize.”


Pistachio Winter Juvenile Tree Dieback A Confounding Issue

(AgNet West) Brian German, Jan. 31

Pistachio growers will be watching for signs for winter juvenile tree dieback (WJTD) as trees begin to come out of dormancy in the spring. Damage is typically found in trees between three and five years old, although there have been instances where older trees in their seventh or eighth year have been affected.  Narrowing down the exact cause of the issue also presents its own set of challenges

“I'm somewhat hesitant to call it freeze damage because we've seen it in places where we couldn't find a freeze.  But I think more than anything it has to do with root hypoxia; that's a lack of oxygen in the root zone,” said Craig Kallsen, UC Farm Advisor in Kern County.  “We see it in old lakebeds, low elevation areas where cold air collects but that's also where the salt is so it's hard to separate those factors.”


IQ 2020 Presents: Research That Will Change the Way You Make Wine

(Wine Business Monthly Jan. 31

…Kaan Kurtural, associate specialist at the UC Cooperative Extension, is working with Levin, but is focusing specifically on Red Blotch's effects on the Cabernet Sauvignon winegrape. In addition to that research, Kurtural will also share his experience with the latest in mechanization's role in ultra-premium winemaking and discuss how precision viticulture can affect phenolics. The results of his experimentation will be available for tasting during the trials breakout session.


Newsom's budget proposes increase for UC Extension

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Jan. 30

After snubbing the agency last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom has slipped a 5 percent increase for the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources into his $222 billion overall budget proposal for 2020-21.

The boost would mean an increase of $3.6 million annually for UCANR to begin rebuilding its ranks of researchers and educators working with growers, said Glenda Humiston, the division's vice president.

“We are making progress,” Humiston said in an email. “More people are recognizing and giving credit to the research, public service and outreach UCANR provides to help Californians improve their lives and businesses.”


Mating disruption shows promise for NOW control

(Farm Press) Todd Fitchette, Jan. 30

Studies by the University of California suggest consistent, positive results with no clear winners among various products by the major companies – Suterra, Semios, Pacific Biocontrol Corporation and Trécé – currently providing pheromone products to tree nut growers, according to David Haviland, an Extension entomologist based in Kern County.


Master Gardeners have a love of gardening and a passion to share it with others

(Stockton Record) Marcy Sousa, Jan. 30

Do you need to figure out what variety of apple is less susceptible to fire blight? A Master Gardener can help with that.

Do you have a plant that has a mysterious problem you can't seem to diagnose? Are you interested in vermicomposting but not sure where to start? Yup, call a Master Gardener for help.


Bites: Yin Ji Chang Fen heads to Berkeley, Super Bowl specials, Shawarmaji at Forage Kitchen

(Berkeleyside) Sarah Han, Jan. 29

…RAISING THE BAR Emeryville-based Clif Bar and the UC system have joined forces to found the California Organic Institute, which will be dedicated to organic research and education under the direction of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). According to the Daily Cal, both Clif Bar and UC President Janet Napolitano have donated $500,000 to create the research institute, with the goal of promoting organic farming practices and food security in California.


North Coast Pear Research Meeting set for Feb. 6

(Lake Co News) Jan. 29

The University of California Cooperative Extension, California Pear Advisory Board, Pear Pest Management Research Fund and the and Lake County Department of Agriculture will host the annual North Coast Pear Research Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6.


UCANR to Establish First-Ever California Organic Institute

(AGNet West) Jan. 28

The University of California will be establishing its first institution designed specifically for organic research and education; the California Organic Institute.  The new institute will be developed through UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources division (UC ANR) thanks in part to a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company, as well as another $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano.


UC researcher is promoting healthy families

(Morning Ag Clips) Jan. 28

UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor Deepa Srivastava arrived in the San Joaquin Valley in 2017 to conduct a research and education program that makes children and families healthier in Tulare and Kings counties.

Srivastava joined Cooperative Extension with diverse experience in obesity prevention research and program implementation and evaluation. Her job combines extension, research, university and public service to promote healthy living among families and children in low-income communities.


Young California ranchers are finding new ways to raise livestock and improve the land

(Conversation) Kate Munden-Dixon and Leslie Roche, Jan. 28

As California contends with drought, wildfires and other impacts of climate change, a small yet passionate group of residents are attempting to lessen these effects and reduce the state's carbon emissions. They are ranchers – but not the kind that most people picture when they hear that term.

These first-generation ranchers are young, often female and ethnically diverse. Rather than raising beef cattle destined for feedlots, many are managing small grazing animals like sheep and goats. And they are experimenting with grazing practices that can reduce fire risk on hard-to-reach landscapes, restore biodiversity and make it possible to make a living from the land in one of the most expensive states in the country.


UC system will establish its 1st organic research institute

(Daily Cal) Emma Rooholfada, Jan. 28

 Clif Bar and UC President Janet Napolitano have each donated $500,000 to fund the California Organic Institute, which will be dedicated to organic research and education.

Headed by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources division, or UC ANR, the institute will be the first of its kind in the UC system. According to UC ANR Associate Vice President Wendy Powers, the primary goal of the institute is to promote the development and adoption of techniques for more efficient organic farming.

“President Napolitano is committed to supporting a healthy California stemming from agriculture of all kinds: large, small, traditional and organic,” said UC Office of the President spokesperson Sarah McBride in an email.


Preschoolers harvest dinner at Farm Smart Festival

 (Desert Review) Kayla Kirby, Jan. 26

The Farm Smart program and UC CalFresh Healthy Living hosted the second annual Farm to Preschool festival at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center Saturday, January 25, to show preschool age children and their families where they get their food, how it's grown, and ways to live a healthy eating lifestyle.


Master Gardeners Mark 16 Years Of Demonstration Garden

(My Motherlode) Jan. 26

In 2004, University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County entered into a collaborative agreement with Sonora Union High School District to provide gardening demonstrations for the community and develop instructional projects for the students at the District's Alternative Education Campus (the ‘Dome'). The garden was originally planted by Jim Johnson, a teacher at Cassina High, and his students. It was used by Mr. Johnson and fellow teacher Bob King for school projects. Containing several varieties of fruit trees, blackberries, grape vines, raised beds, a small rose garden, and shaded tables, the garden is also an ideal break area for students.


Watch: exclusive interview with Frank Mitloehner

(Irish Farmers Journal) Lorcan Allen (subscription only), Jan 24

Prof Frank Mitloehner came to Dublin this week and gave a fascinating presentation on the biogenic cycle of methane and agricultures role in capturing carbon.


Ag awards presented during Farm Bureau annual meeting

(Corning Observer) Julie R. Johnson, Jan. 23

…In preparation to presenting the evening's awards, Christensen said, “Each year we recognize several people or organizations for their dedicated partnership with the Tehama County Farm Bureau.”

He then presented the 2019 awards as Friend of the Year to Josh Davy from University of California Cooperative Extension, and Doni Rulofson and Tom Moss of the Department of Agriculture; Media Person of the Year to Chip Thompson; Member of the Year to Eric Borror; Insurance Agent of the Year to Steve and Kelly Mora of Heritage Insurance, and Agriculture Educator of the Year to Trena Kimler-Richards of Shasta College.


Untreatable fungal infections threaten local almond orchards

(Bakersfield Californian) John Cox, Jan. 22

…It's unclear how many cases of infection have been confirmed locally. But of three kinds of ganoderma fungus infections identified recently in California almond orchards, University of California researchers say 94 percent of the cases were of the adspersum variety.

…"We are seeing those trees collapsing at 11, 12, 15 years old, ” said orchard systems advisor Mohammad Yaghmour with the UC cooperative extension in Kern County.

Growing your own celery is easier than you think

(LA Times) Jeanette Marantos, Jan. 22

…But for some reason, celery is not a winter garden staple like other greens, and that's a shame, says Gardening in L.A. blogger and master gardener Yvonne Savio. “If you're a cook, you need to grow celery, because you get twice as much as what you buy at the store.”

… You can plant the seedlings in the ground or in a large pot, Savio said. Celery roots range from 18 to 24 inches, according to a vegetable root depth guide prepared by the University of California Cooperative Extension for Los Angeles County, so look for a pot that's as deep as possible, Savio said. “For any vegetable, find the optimum depth and then add another 4 inches to the pot so the roots have some room to grow. You don't want them pushing against the sides of the pot.” Finally, choose a sunny location; celery can't handle high summer temperatures, but during the winter, when days are shorter and the sun less intense, they need at least four to six hours of sun daily.


Proposed Budget Includes Increase for UC ANR

(California Ag Today) Tim Hammerich, Jan. 21

Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed state budget this month, which includes a much needed 5% increase for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

Dr. Glenda Humiston, Vice President of UC ANR explains why this increase is so critical. 

Humiston…”We currently have only about half as many cooperative extension people out in the field that we had 20 years ago. And it really is creating a hardship for communities and industry sectors that rely upon that research and science to help keep them functional and thriving.”


‘Kiwi Queen' Frieda Caplan, produce-industry pioneer, dies at 96

(LA Times) Dorany Pineda, Gustavo Arellano, Jan. 18

They called her “Kiwi Queen” and “Mother Gooseberry.” “Mushroom Lady” and “the “Mick Jagger of the produce world.” The woman who broke the glass ceiling in the testosterone-doused produce world and forever changed the way Americans eat fruits and vegetables.

She was Frieda Rapoport Caplan, a tenacious maven credited for introducing kiwis, mangoes, habanero and shishito peppers, passion fruit, bean and alfalfa sprouts, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, starfruit, blood oranges, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, and hundreds more fruits and vegetables into the supermarket mainstream. Into the bellies of American consumers.

…“Who the hell had heard of jicama or spaghetti squash?” said Ben Faber, a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor who works with specialty crops. “We were a meat and potatoes society in the 1960s,” he added. “She changed our eating habits.... Frieda was able to tap into aspirations that people had after the Second World War ... something new and different other than mac ‘n' cheese.”


Fresno State students create pesticide safety videos in Hmong language

(ABC30) Shayla Girardin, Jan. 18

…For farmers, keeping food fresh is no easy task and for workers in the Hmong community trying to follow pesticide regulations, the lack of resources in their language posed a problem.

"It's the language, the culture, and if everything is in English and you don't speak the language, you don't understand what it's about," explained Michael Yang, education specialist with UC Extension.


EcoFarm bus tour rolling through Pajaro Valley

(Pajaronian) Johanna Miller, Jan. 17

…The EcoFarm bus tour, which Earnshaw and Baumgartner will lead along with UC Cooperative Extension's Richard Smith, has been held for nearly as long as the conference itself. Participants load into a fleet of buses at the conference grounds in Pacific Grove and take off to local farms, where they learn about various aspects of organic farming.


Northern California Sturgeon Farms

 (California Ag Today) Tim Hammerich, Jan. 16

If you've ever had sturgeon, there's a good chance it came from a Northern California sturgeon farm. A conservation success story, sturgeon farming has been commercialized thanks to conservation work started at UC Davis decades ago. Cooperative Extension Aquaculture Specialist Dr. Jackson Gross explains.

Gross..”Sturgeon started off as a conservation story for California, our Sacramento sturgeon or Sacramento white sturgeon over 30 years ago, they started working at white sturgeon conservation here. Part of that was the aquaculture, the role of aquaculture, conservation aquaculture, People understood that sturgeon, in terms of caviar, could also be of a high quality, which also could provide food as well as income to an industry. Um, and that, that started, uh, to what we have today is a sustainable sturgeon industry in the greater Sacramento area.”


 Composting made simple

(Gilroy Dispatch) Jan. 16

Cole Smith goes over the basics of composting hay during a “Manure Composting Made Easy” workshop in Gilroy on Jan. 11. The workshop, presented by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, taught attendees composting with food scraps, green waste and livestock manure. In addition, a new solar-powered compost system at the Gilroy High School Future Farmers of America Farm was showcased. Smith is the composting education program coordinator for the UC agriculture division.

Posted on Friday, January 31, 2020 at 5:00 PM
Tags: budget (32)

ANR in the news Jan. 1-15, 2020

Five of the past six years have been the warmest in Bakersfield's recorded history

(Bakersfield Californian) Steven Mayer, Jan. 15

… Daniel Sumner, an ag economist at UC Davis, said researchers across the state are busy studying the changing patterns of California's Mediterranean climate.

"We don't look at the average annual temperature," he said. "It's not that interesting."

When it comes to the effect climate change could have on the Central Valley — California's fruit basket — Sumner said researchers aren't seeing changes in summertime high temperatures. Instead, they're seeing increases in wintertime lows.

The warmer nights are a "big deal," he said.

Not only do warmer nights limit the all-important chilling hours for some of the valley's most valuable crops, it opens the door to damaging pests.

Hemp workshop and field day scheduled in Yuma

(Imperial Valley Press) Jan. 15

University of California Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor Dr. Oli Bachie will be among the speaker next month at the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Yuma County 2020 Preseason Hemp Workshop & Field Day.

The event will begin Feb. 3 at Booth Machinery Inc., 6565 E. 30th St., Yuma, from 9 a.m. to noon Mountain Standard Time with a series of presentations on hemp-related subjects. Those will be followed with field demonstrations from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Yuma Agricultural Center, 6425 W. Eighth St.


Protecting Your Vineyard from Common and Uncommon Threats

(Wine Business Monthly) Jan. 15

 Wine Business Monthly invites you to WiVi Central Coast—the largest gathering of wine industry professionals from California's Central Coast—held March 25, 2020 at the Paso Robles Events Center.

It's a well-versed industry saying that great wines are made from great grapes—and great grapes can only be cultivated in healthy vineyards. During WiVi's viticultural session, Recent Research: Assessing Vineyard Threats, Surendra Dara, cooperative extension advisor-entomology and biologicals for the UC Cooperative Extension, will discuss common concerns, like Vine Mealybug and Leafroll, as well as emerging threats, such as the Spotted Lanternfly. He'll offer up practical solutions for elimination and prevention of these pests and viruses—including a new model for Integrated Pest Management.


What is killing the native oaks of Southern California?

(San Bernardino Sun) Janet Hartin, Jan. 15

The Goldspotted Oak Borer, or GSOB, is an invasive beetle that is killing native oaks in several areas of Southern California.

Susceptible oaks include coast live oak, canyon live oak, and California black oak. In many cases, GSOB has damaged or killed mature oaks valued for their beauty, wildlife habitat, and shade. Areas with large numbers of native oaks are particularly at risk. Unfortunately, oaks that are injured over several years from multiple generations of the GSOB often die.


California Loses Chlorpyrifos: What's Next?

(CropLife) Jackie Pucci, Jan. 13

…In California, the end of chlorpyrifos “will profoundly impact” alfalfa integrated pest management and pest resistance, according to a blog by Rachel Freeman, Daniel Putnam, and Ian Grettenberger of the University of California Cooperative Extension.

“Unfortunately, alfalfa weevils frequently reach economic damaging thresholds in California, and many growers find it necessary to spray. There are some aphid-specific insecticides (other than chlorpyrifos) that would help with aphids but not with alfalfa weevil,” the authors stated: “Weevil resistance to pyrethroids is beginning to be a problem throughout the western states, including select areas in California, such as the Intermountain and Low Desert production areas. With the loss of chlorpyrifos, the overuse of a single class of insecticide could be a major challenge.”


Geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam explains how the CRISPR gene editing ‘revolution' can improve our food

(Genetic Literacy Project) Molly Campbell, Jan. 13

The final instalment of Technology Networks Explores the CRISPR Revolution is an interview with Dr Alison Van Eenennaam, a livestock geneticist based at the University of California, Davis. The focus of her laboratory's research is the utilization of DNA-based biotechnologies in the production of beef cattle and in agricultural systems.


CAFF on Governor Newsom's proposed budget

(Morning Ag Clips), Jan. 12

… “Finally, we are pleased to see reinvestments in the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, an important on-the-ground partner and technical assistance provider for small and historically underserved farmers.”


Chlorpyrifos ban to go into effect

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Jan. 13

…Chlorpyrifos historically has been used on a lot of different pests in a lot of different crops,” said David Havilland, a University of California Cooperative Extension entomology advisor and a member of the work group.

“In most cases with chlorpyrifos uses, growers have already switched to other products,” Havilland said. “The effort to find replacements has been going on for more than a decade. But there are about 20 pests in the state for which satisfactory levels of control have been difficult to achieve without the use of chlorpyrifos. That's the focus.”

…The chlorpyrifos ban is a major issue for alfalfa, since it is one of the most popular wide-spectrum insecticides for management of key alfalfa pests, UC scientists Rachael Freeman Long, Daniel Putnam and Ian Grettenberger wrote recently.

These include the alfalfa weevil, Hypera postica, which chews on the foliage, and aphids that suck juices from the plant, the researchers wrote. Though its use has declined, chlorpyrifos was still used on 153,000 acres of California alfalfa hay in 2017, according to the DPR's Pesticide Use Report.


Local ag experts face budget constraints

(Chico Enterprise-Record) Camille Von Kaenel, Jan. 10

Butte and Glenn counties have been going with fewer local experts who can provide agricultural research and advice following budget constraints at the University of California.

…The experts are funded through the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources division. The state budget for the program has been flat or decreasing over the past two decades. Most recently, the allocated funding stayed the same despite mandatory pay raises amid University-wide budget cuts. That's meant that many positions have been staying empty once vacated and new positions requested by staff have gone unfunded.

Recruitment has just started again for six state-wide positions after a months-long delay, according to an Ag Alert article, but they are not in Butte, Glenn or Tehama counties. The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources division is also raising money from other sources, like grants and donations, to continue supporting staff.


For years, Death Valley fought a losing battle against wild burros. A nonprofit seeks to change that

(Las Vegas Weekly) Miranda Willson, Jan. 10

…While Meyers' organization emphasizes the humanitarian side of wild burro management, the ecological arguments are equally significant for the NPS. Burros damage vegetation near the park's desert springs, which support rare and endemic fish, plants, invertebrates and insects, Ainsworth says. They also compete with native grass-eating mammals—like endangered desert bighorn sheep—for food and access to increasingly rare watering holes, says Laura Snell, livestock and natural resource adviser at the University of California Cooperative Extension.

“We've seen quite a bit of competition at watering holes throughout Nevada and northeast California,” says Snell, who has studied burros' ecological impacts. “All of those animals need water, and there's maybe only one watering hole available year-round.”


Weed management in citrus is important

(Farm Press) Travis Bean, Jan. 10

Proper weed management is important for several reasons, but in general younger orchards are much more susceptible to the negative impacts of weed overgrowth. 


CDFA awards $1.5 million for nutrient management projects

(Farm Press) Jan. 10

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) announces more than $1.5 million in grant funds are being awarded to agricultural organizations and universities as a result of the FREP Grant Program 2019 grant cycle.

These grants will fund seven research projects to improve the efficiency of nitrogen (N) fertilization in California agriculture, reduce the associated environmental impacts, and advance farmers' understanding and implementation of best management practices (BMPs) for fertilizer application in farmlands.

Funded Research Projects:

1. Developing a Nitrogen Mineralization Model for Organically Managed Vegetable Farms on the Central Coast – Joji Muramoto, University of California Cooperative Extension.

This project will create a database of organic fertilizers and amendments, crop residues and soil organic matter, cataloguing the rates at which N becomes available as these materials decompose. The principal investigators (PIs) will use this information to develop an N mineralization model for organic vegetable production in coastal California that can be integrated into CropManage, a decision-making tool for irrigation and nutrient management.

2. Immobilization of Nitrate in Winter-Fallow Vegetable Production Beds to Reduce Nitrate Leaching – Richard Smith, University of California Cooperative Extension.

To enhance the process of immobilization during the winter-fallow period in vegetable production beds, this project will study the application of green waste materials that can sequester residual soil nitrate and reducing leaching. This green waste application should stimulate soil microbial activity to keep excess N in the surface layers of soil.

3. Next Generation Nitrogen Management Training for Certified Crop Advisors (CCAs) – Doug Parker, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR).

The goal of this training program is to communicate best N management practices and increase the ability of CCAs to make informed recommendations to growers, thereby improving both environmental quality and crop productivity. This project will develop exam and study materials as well as a video series for the next evolution of the UCANR/FREP CCA Training program.

4. Irrigation and Nitrogen Management, Monitoring and Assessment to Improve Nut Production while Minimizing Nitrate Leaching to Groundwater – Thomas Harter, University of California, Davis.

The efficacy of high-frequency-low-concentration (HFLC) fertilization will be demonstrated in this project under real world conditions as an economically and environmentally promising practice. This work will also compare three water quality monitoring approaches for regulatory compliance.

5. Developing Nutrient Budget and Nutrient Demand Model for Nitrogen Management in Cherry – Patrick Brown, University of California, Davis.

This project will develop nutrient demand curves to guide the quantity and timing of fertilizer application in cherry. Through this work the PIs will develop and extend nutrient BMPs for cherry cultivars.

6. Promoting the Adoption of CropManage to Optimize Nitrogen and Irrigation Use through Low-Cost Data Loggers and Cellular Modems for Spanish-Speaking Growers in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties – Gerry Spinelli, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County.

The focus of this project is the development of affordable data loggers. These data acquisition devices will be designed to work with the CropManage tool. The PIs will also work closely with growers to increase the adoption of CropManage usage in the Central Coast.

7. Achieving Efficient Nitrogen Fertilizer Management in California Wheat – Mark Lundy, University of California, Davis.

This project will demonstrate best N management practices in California wheat on field-scale plots in combination with site-specific measurements of the soil, plant and canopy to guide real-time N management decisions. The PIs will provide customized decision-support information produced by a dynamic web-based tool and California-specific models.


Imperial County welcomes new 4-H representative

(Imperial Valley Press) Jan. 9

The University of California Cooperative Extension has hired a new 4-H program representative to oversee the 4-H Youth Development Program for Imperial County.

Anita Martinez started her position on Jan. 2. Her responsibilities will include oversight, compliance, marketing and growth of the current 4-H program. She will also focus on major outreach to underserved populations in Imperial County and on working with the business community for partnership opportunities.


UC works to fill gaps in its corps of farm advisors

(Foothills Sun-Gazette) Kevin Hecteman, Jan. 8

After a months-long holdup, the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources division will start looking for people to fill six Cooperative Extension advisor openings.

UCANR said recruitment for the jobs had been on hold since July because of budget constraints.

Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said in a statement that while the jobs need to be filled, “there are many more needs for both UC Cooperative Extension specialist and advisor positions that continue to wait for additional funding.”


These Rain Gardens Clean City Stormwater with Flowers and Trees

(Sunset) Dakota Kim, Jan. 8

…The word is out on bioswales, and their popularity is spreading. The University of California, Santa Barbara has installed rain gardens in their biodiversity and ecological restoration center. Patagonia has installed bioswales at its headquarters in Ventura, CA. The San Luis Obispo UC Cooperative Extension has transformed its parking lot into a bioswale demonstration. And Westwood in Los Angeles has created bioswales in order to improve water quality in the Santa Monica Bay.


California Rice: Tadpole Shrimp – Getting a Handle on Pyrethroid Resistance

 (AgFax) Ian Grettenberger and Luis Espino, Jan. 7

Want to help make sure your freshly planted rice fields don't look like the muddied mess on the left below (vs. clear on right) following a pyrethroid application? Wondering if your tadpole shrimp are becoming less susceptible to pyrethroids? We do too! Pyrethroids are widely used for managing resistance and resistance seems to be a growing issue.

We are looking for additional fields where we can sample tadpole shrimp to test for pyrethroid resistance. We will be gathering soil/shrimp and then using these samples to run laboratory bioassays and measure susceptibility.


EcoFarm Bus Tour: Organic Farming on the Central Coast

(TPG Online) Jan. 6

Bus Tour 2020 Kicks Off the 40th EcoFarm Conference. This all-day field trip goes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on January 22 and will take you on an exploration of the following farms:

 … Sam Earnshaw of Hedgerows Unlimited, Jo Ann Baumgartner of Wild Farm Alliance, and Richard Smith of UC Cooperative Extension will lead the tour.


Placer/Nevada 4-H Program Seeks to Transfer Woodchuck Camp Ownership

(YubaNet) Jan. 6

 The Placer and Nevada County 4-H programs are seeking a new owner for a camp facility at Woodchuck Flat on the Tahoe National Forest near Cisco Grove, California. The facility, which includes a well, kitchen, showers, toilets, and tent platforms is operated under a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service.

“Placer and Nevada County 4-H members have enjoyed the Woodchuck Flat camp for many years,” says Dan Macon, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor and Co-County Director for the University of California Cooperative Extension, which oversees the 4-H program. “Unfortunately, since we only use the camp two weeks each year, we don't have sufficient funds to pay for upkeep of the facility.”

Napa's growers ahead of state-wide ban on harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos

(Napa Valley Register) Sarah Klearman, Jan. 5

…Agricultural Commissioner Humberto Izquierdo attributes the decline to an increased focus on sustainability.

“We have pioneered sustainable practices in partnership with the U.C. cooperative extension,” Izquierdo said. He noted that the county has looked into vine mealybug mating disruption trials as well as other natural population disruption methods. Safer, alternative pesticides for mealybugs have also entered the market over the last few years, he said.


Acreage increases fuel optimism for strawberry industry

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Jan. 3

… The acreage drop reflects the increasing difficulty of producing strawberries amid persistent labor shortages and the elimination of methyl bromide. So growers are gravitating to more prolific varieties developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension, other agencies and private companies.

Among the more popular new varieties are the UC-developed Monterey and San Andreas strawberries, both of which are “day-neutral” varieties that are more tolerant of summer heat and more resistant to diseases.

Latest Report Highlights the Impact of UC ANR on California Communities

(AgNet West) Jan. 3

A new report highlights the value that the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) provides to the state.  The new publication, Working for the Benefit of All Californians: 2018 UC ANR Annual Report, details some of the ways in which UC ANR's impact is felt across the state.  Some of the examples cited in the report include helping to promote economic prosperity through working with growers to adopt superior varieties of crops, as well as implement new practices to ensure the health of livestock.


From Blaze to Bottle: Smoke gets in your wine

(Wine Business Monthly) Glenn McGourty, Jan. 1

The River Fire started around noon on a hot and breezy day July 27, 2018 on Old River Road between Hopland and Ukiah in Mendocino County about 150 yards from the Russian River.  Bright orange flames moving quickly up the hillsides along the road igniting the dry vegetation,  sending up huge clouds of smoke. The fire spread rapidly east with prevailing winds into steep brushy terrain with little road access hindering fire fighters from stopping its spread. Almost simultaneously, the Ranch Fire began just to the north along Highway 20 near Potter Valley burning very fast north and east to Lake County. The two fires were named   the Mendocino Complex Fires, and by the time they were official over on October 4, 2018, they had burned around 450,000 acres making it the largest wildfire in California history (Cal Fire Incident Reports).

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 3:58 PM

Untreatable fungus giving almond producers pause

An airborne fungus from Europe, ganoderma adspersum, has been killing almond trees in the San Jaoquin Valley since it was discovered in the area five years ago, reported John Cox in the Bakersfield Californian.

The fungus rots wood from the inside out, usually weakening the trunk a ground level. 

Three kinds of ganoderma fungus infections were identified recently in California almond orchards; University of California researchers say 94 percent of the cases were of the adspersum variety.

"We are seeing those trees collapsing at 11, 12, 15 years old,” said UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor Mohammad Yaghmour. The infections have results in the removal of orchards at less than half their typical 20- to 25-year life span.

Spraying for the fungal disease is ineffective. Yaghmour believes that in time researchers will identify a root stock that is resistant to the fungus.

A fallen almond tree that was weakened by Ganoderma fungus. (Photo: Bob Johnson)
Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 9:19 AM
Tags: almonds (29), ganoderma (1), Mohammad Yaghmour (3)

Non-native wild burros cause natural resource damage

The National Park Service has contracted with Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue to humanely remove 2,500 to 4,000 burros in Death Valley National Park, a particularly challenging effort because the Bureau of Land Management, which manages adjoining land, does not consider the non-native equines a problem, reported Miranda Willson in the Las Vegas Sun.

The rescue organization rounds up the burros and puts them up for adoption.

A group of burros in Death Valley National Park. (Photo: National Park Service)

Experts say the burros damage vegetation near the park's desert springs, which support rare and endemic fish, plants, invertebrates and insects. They also compete with native grass-eating mammals — like endangered desert bighorn sheep — for food and access to increasingly rare watering holes, according to Laura Snell, livestock and natural resources adviser at the University of California Cooperative Extension.

“We've seen quite a bit of competition at watering holes throughout Nevada and northeast California,” Snell said. “All of those animals need water, and there's maybe only one watering hole available year-round.”

Executive director of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue Mark Meyers said wild burros are a part of American history that people can experience and preserve by adopting them.

“We used them for the Spanish Trail, we used them for Catholic mission systems, we used them for the railroad, we used them for mining. We used them for all these capacities, and then we said, ‘We don't need them anymore,' ” Meyers says. “These animals built our country, yet they're the ones that aren't supposed to be here.”

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2020 at 9:25 AM
Tags: burros (1), Death Valley (1), Laura Snell (2)
Focus Area Tags: Natural Resources

Turn food and garden waste into rich fertilizer with worms

UC Master Gardeners in Stanislaus County presented an all-natural, sustainable solution to disposing garden and food waste during a session for the community on worm composting, reported John Holland in the Modesto Bee.

All it takes is an 18-inch deep bin, equipped for drainage, and a supply of red worms. Provide the worms a substrate that contains a mix of high carbon materials - like shredded paper, dry leaves or sawdust - and kitchen scraps - such as fruit and vegetable cores and peels, leftover grains and coffee grounds. A few months later, the worms will have transformed the contents into a rich organic fertilizer ready to be applied to garden plants.

"It's a great fertilizer," said UC Master Gardener Dennis Lee. "It's very inexpensive for you to produce. You can do it indoors. There's very little odor - actually, no odor.

A red wiggler worm moves through substrate during composting process. (Photo: Holger Casselmann, Wikimedia Commons)

Learn more:

Orange County UC Master Gardeners created a video series on worm composting 

Vermicomposting - Composting with Worms, from San Joaquin County Master Gardeners 

Posted on Monday, January 6, 2020 at 9:44 AM

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