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255 Perennial Crops Nematology Specialist (85% CE/15% AES)

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Status

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2012 cycle.

Comments

39 Comments

1
I am a 3rd generation vineyard farmer in Madera Ca. I cannot tell how much help it has been having ag scientists working nearby at the Kearney Ag Station to help us with our root disease problems and replanting advice. With the loss of most soil fumigants their work is even more important than ever. We truely owe our success to the longevity of our award winning vineyards which the Ag Stations research helped us develope.
Posted Jun 14, 2012 7:07 PM by STEVEN H. FICKLIN, FICKLIN VINEYARDS WINERY, MADERA,CA.
2
This is a letter of support for above position. I received my Nematology training from the University of California in the mid-1990s. Since then I held positions at Texas A&M University in South Texas, in the Midwest, at Purdue University, and currently as Nematologist at the Julius Kühn-Institut in Germany. During my education at UC, I had the opportunity to visit KARE to learn about nematode problems in perennial crops. The central role of plant-parasitic nematodes in the Central Valley of California became obvious. In the climate of Central California, plant-parasitic nematodes are prominent pests because of the highly conducive environmental conditions. Management of these pests is extremely difficult because of the extended periods of favorable soil temperatures and plant growth that are important for these soil dwelling microscopic roundworms. The continuous cropping of similar plant species further exasperates the plant health problem. Based on my work in very different crop species and climate regions, I can honestly attest that the role of a nematologist is crucial for the continued success of the high-value production in the Central Valley. The challenges in such position are unique for production conditions in Central California because of the extremely high value of the crop, and further because findings from other crops and production areas cannot easily be transferred to the special conditions of the Central Valley. Current policy changes of reduced chemical use for pest control further increase the challenges this fruit and nut industry is facing. I can only reverberate the outmost importance of this position as outlined in the position proposal. I shall be more than happy to provide additional comments if required. Thank you very much for the opportunity to comment on this position proposal.

i.A.
Andreas Westphal
Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants
Messeweg 11/12
38104 Braunschweig
Germany
Tel.: +49 531 299 3929
Email: andreas.westphal@jki.bund.de
Posted Jul 5, 2012 10:24 PM by Andreas Westphal, Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre fpr Cultivated Plants, Messewegt 11/12, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany
3
With the loss of methyl bromide and increasing regulations on fumigants, there are few management strategies left for soil born, plant parasitic nematodes. This position would provide support to almond, pistachio, grape, fruit tree, olive, fig, and walnut industries.
Posted Jul 16, 2012 7:15 PM by David Doll
4
Nematodes continue to be one of the largest pest problems we have in our walnuts, almonds, and other permanent tree crops. With the recent retirement of a great nematologist we are suddenly without a champion of our fight against this difficult problem.

I fully support fillin gthis position as soon as possible to continue the research towards solutions to nematode issues.
Posted Jul 20, 2012 2:51 PM by Bill Carriere
5
Some of California's largest agricultural crops are tree nuts and tree fruit. These comprise a large part of the bounty that has propelled California to be a multi-billion dollar exporter of agricultural commodities.

For orchardists throughout the state, there is an increasing need for solutions to plant-parasitic nematodes in newly-planted orchards as well as orchards that are being replanted with new trees. This position needs to be filled with a dynamic and forward thinking individual, in order to maintain the cutting-edge technology advantage that has kept California's leadership in agricultural production. Without the leadership of the Perennial Crops Nematology Specialist, growers would be left with no available resource to solve the enigmas of nematode predation and its resulting impact on crop yield.

The Perennial Crops Nematology Specialist also provides expert opinion for the nematode certification standards that govern the movement of nursery stock. As environmental regulation becomes more strict, the standards will be likely be rewritten, and it will be crucial for modifications to be based on solid data generated by the Specialist in California conditions.

Nurserymen and orchardists rely on the precise and unbiased work of the Nematology Specialist to keep them thriving in the face of decreased fumigant availability.
Posted Jul 26, 2012 3:38 PM by Chuck Fleck
6
I have been working with fruit and nut crops in California since 1971 and have had numerous oppertunities to take advantage if research and extension help relative to nematode and soil pest problems. Regulatory constraints and loss of existing fumigants is making it difficult for orchards and vines to be replanted in the same location. If we are to stay competative and yes stay in business we have to have help down the road with these pests. This position is critical to that effort. I strongly urge you to fill this position.
Posted Jul 30, 2012 12:02 PM by Gary Obenauf
7
The growing community in California central valley can ill afford to lose the nematology position now manned by Mike McKenry at the Kearney Field Station. Mike has been without peer in helping the tree and vine industry fight the battle of nematodes and regulatory requirements. We need to have this position filled by a canidate that will fill Mike's shoes and be a champion for the industry in our fight to provide income and jobs for a large population of the central valley and income for growers and the state of California as well. The loss of fumigants and the continued battle to keep those fumigants is needed by the California ag industry to provide food for the nation and untimatley the world. The ag industry needs a nematologists to help as Mike has, to allow the industry to be a sustainable force for food for generations to come and to perpetuate the California tree and vine industry.

Please fill the nematology position as we cannot accomplish all that must be done without this position being filled with a candidate which will give the industry new tools and focus in nematology and the regulatory environment. Science is critical in all that we do in both arenas and we must continue the nematology role at the Kearney Field Station for the needed research for growers and regulatory organizations i.e., DPR, EPA, etc. Nematode problems will continue to challenge the agriculture indusry and we need help from the University of California in solving the various problems as they arise. The Ag industry cannot do it alone, we need the help of the university and a qualified nematologist who can identify the problem and help solve the problem.

Respectfully Submitted,
Posted Jul 30, 2012 5:42 PM by Duane Lindsay
8
Nematodes are and continue to be one of the most challenging pest in agriculture. With many if not all of the current chemical treatments being regulated out of use, the systematic evaluation of alternatives is critical! The specialist for this position will serve a vital role in the decades to come. As a grower of several types of trees and vines I strongly recommend filling this position.
Posted Jul 30, 2012 6:01 PM by Bill Tos
9
Nematodes are currently one of the most problematic, and difficult to control pests in the permanent crop industry. With very few alternatives to treatment, and questionable efficacy of current economically viable treatments, it is detrimental to find a qualified individual for the Nematology program to further research. With regulation and restrictions imposed on our only current options; the Orchard/Vine/Permanent Crop Industry will suffer greatly if this position is left vacant. I am in strong support of finding a well suited individual for the nematology program.

Todd Ramos, Ramos Farms, Walnut and Prune Farmer
Posted Jul 31, 2012 2:14 PM by Todd Ramos
9.1
"Correction" to my statement above: With very few alternatives to treatment, and questionable efficacy of current economically viable treatments, it is of extreme importance to find a qualified individual for the Nematology program to further research. Todd Ramos
Posted Jul 31, 2012 2:22 PM by Todd Ramos
10
County Farm Advisors rely heavily on nematology Specialists for technical guidance and assistance in conducting research. There are many research areas that this position could address. The rapid expansion of pomegranate & olive acreage in CA has caused us to realize that there is considerable need to do research on emerging specialty crops. Some industries are in desperate need of alternatives to traditional soil fumigation. Organic farmers have few alternatives and this position could work on those as well.
Posted Jul 31, 2012 4:37 PM by Maxwell Norton
11
As an independent Vineyard Consultant and Pest Control Advisor, I have used the research and advice of Mike McKenry for over 30 years.

We are constantly evaluating our rootstock decisions, especially as we enter another planting boom, and nematodes figure into our decision all of the time. Damage from nematodes to new and existing plantings is a constant problem, and this position is of extreme importance. Our lack of materials to adequately control these pests make it even more essential that we have this support.

I strongly urge the filling of this position.

Thank you,

Corky Roche
Roche Vineyard Consulting
Salinas,CA
Posted Jul 31, 2012 6:20 PM by Robert Corky Roche
12
This Nematology position has been a valuable resource for farmers and advisors throughout the San Joaquin Valley. This specialist position was valuable in helping advisors and growers determine nematode numbers and control measures and without it we would not have had a resource for such information. This position is even more critical because growers have lost many important chemicals such as methyl bromide that was commonly used to overcome replant disease problems when new orchards are planted. This position is extremely important to California Agriculture and for advisors working within the UC.
Posted Jul 31, 2012 11:19 PM by Brent Holtz
13
Plant parasitic nematodes are important management concern for tree and vine crops throughout the Central Valley and in some coastal production areas. These pests can be one of the most limiting factors affecting orchard replant success, especially in sandy soils, and can vector several economically important tree and vine diseases. Plant parasitic nematodes are also the primary concerns for production of high-quality, certified bare root tree and vine nursery stock. Diverse genera of parasitic nematodes have been managed for decades with preplant application of high rates of broad spectrum soil fumigants such as methyl bromide, 1,3-dichloropropene or non-fumigants nematicides in the carbamate and organophosphate classes. However, few if any non-fumigant nematicides are currently registered in the state and the fumigants are under intense regulatory scrutiny due to their effects on ozone (methyl bromide) or their contributions to ground-level ozone due to their high volatile organic compound emissions (all other fumigants). An applied nematology researcher focused on the biology, ecology, and chemical and non-chemical management of these pests is critical for California’s signature tree and vine cropping systems. There is a serious need for extension outreach in this area; fumigation decisions are not always based on sound science, and evolving VOC regulations will likely push applications to times of the year where efficacy may be compromised. Further, because of evolving regulations, non-fumigant (or minimum fumigant) approaches to managing plant parasitic nematodes will be essential for California growers in the future. In addition to the extension needs for this Specialist, nematology is a fruitful area for research (alternative fumigants, non-fumigant pesticides, cover crop and soil amendments, rootstock/scion evaluations, nematode biology/ecology, disease/vector relationships, etc) and there are a number of pomology and pest management Advisors, Specialists, and Faculty in the continuum that could support (and be supported by) this position. An applied, field-based nematologist located in the San Joaquin Valley would address critical needs for California agriculture and serve as a resource for clientele ranging from local growers to international scientists and regulators.

Respectfully submitted:
Brad Hanson
Cooperative Extension Weed Specialist (tree and vine crops)
UC Davis
Posted Aug 1, 2012 9:01 AM by Brad Hanson
14
There must be a nematologist at the Kearney Agricultural Center. Period.
Posted Aug 1, 2012 9:21 AM by Kent Daane`
15
The retirement of Mike McKenry at the Kearney Field Station will leave a big hole to fill for the tree and vine industry in its fight understand & ultimately develop alternatives to the historical dependency on methyl bromide. We need this position filled by a very bright individual that can offer novel insights & ideas. The ag industry's push for sustainability requires a dedicated long term effort staffed by independent minded researchers.

Please fill this position. Nematode problems continue to challenge the agriculture industry and we need help from the University of California in solving the various problems as they arise and to act as an independent information source for the various government agencies as the industry faces mounting regulatory issues.
Posted Aug 1, 2012 3:18 PM by Joe Turkovich
16
Being an Industry (Ciba-Geigy Corp)researcher I have been associated with Mike McKenry for over 35 years as a nematologist, researcher, and friend.Through his efforts at the Kearney Station grape and fruit growers in CA.have learnt how to understand the complexities of control-
ing nematodes. This research has saved the growers millions of dollars. Which has permitted the state of California to export millions of pounds of fruit around the world. Agriculture remains one of the few productive industries in CA, it is time for the state to show its sincere support for the efforts of their researchers and fill the vacancy left by the departure of Dr. McKenry.
Posted Aug 2, 2012 6:58 AM by Vince Morton, PhD
17
Nematode problems continue and will become much worse without a replacement for Mike McKenry and his program. One of the most important reasons for this is the phase out of methyl bromide and increasing controls placed on other fumigants. The recent withdrawal of methyl iodide from the market as the most promising methyl bromide replacement insures continuing difficulties with nematodes for growers in California. There is a critical need for new ideas for the control of nematodes to sustain the fruit and nut industry. This position is the best way to supply this need.
Posted Aug 2, 2012 9:46 AM by Jim Sims
18
I own a diagnostic lab for nematodes in Central San Joaquin Valley. I have used the help and worked with Dr. Michael McKenry, since 1978. There a couple of major reasons for my need of a Nematologists working in this area.
1. Having a local centrally located UC Nematologist in our area gives us the much needed help and tools to solve our needs as a diagnostic lab working with a wide variety of grower's nematode problems. Over the past 3 decades we have not only used Dr McKenry's expertise in laboratory procedures but also diagnostics of nematode problems and how these problems relate to growers crops and cropping patterns. We help to disseminate Dr McKenry's scientific and working knowledge of nematode information to growers and consultants as a force multiplier. A local nematode specialist helps the information to flow between growers, consultants, laboratories and nematode research with practical understanding which is many times lost without local instruction.
2. What I see, is a major need for a "hands on" Nematologist who is centrally located in our area to meet with working farming operations at ground level to ascertain general and specific needs that occur from day to day farming operations concerning nematode problems for preplant, post plant and replant situations. Dr McKenry has been able to bring together a rather large amount of nematode information from many growers, consultants, support industries, and his own, hands on, ground knowledge to integrate science from UC education and local research to implement useful crop based nematode programs. This helps to incorporate the practical day to day workings of a modern farm operation with the science and backing of the UC system and field research to solve and stay ahead of many of the nematode problems that continually plague the crop production in our valley.

A UC Nematode Specialist is continually needed in our area to help guide our food prouduction through the continual nematode problems that arise in the day to day farming operations of one of the worlds most productive food production regions in the world.

Sincerely,
Douglas Anderson
Nematodes, Inc.
Selma, CA
Posted Aug 2, 2012 6:42 PM by Douglas C Anderson
19
The pistachio, almond, and walnut marketing order research boards have been discussing our research and extension needs and nematology is consistently ranked among the most important needs. While pistachios have not experienced major problems due to nematodes, the California Pistachio Research Board recognizes that this is a discipline that we do not want to be without. With the retirement of Mike McKenry, if this position is filled quickly, there is still a chance for a reasonably smooth transition. Consequently, this should be considered among the highest of priorities.
Posted Aug 3, 2012 1:12 PM by Bob Klein
20
Nematodes are a severe problem for many tree crops. There are several exciting new technologies becoming available to address these problems and a Specialist located at KAC would be near the major production areas and therefore well positioned to develop these methods for California crops. This should be a high priority position.
Posted Aug 3, 2012 3:35 PM by Mikeal Roose
21
The California Walnut Board (CWB) strongly supports this critically needed position. If this position is not filled, there will be no one either in UC or USDA-ARS to conduct the field-oriented research with phytoparasitic nematodes so urgently needed for walnuts. It is clearly the industry's highest priority.

The California walnut industry is hugely impacted by the root lesion nematode which is severely damaging to root systems in orchards in all growing regions of the state. Many years of research with walnut have been devoted to the development of alternatives to methyl bromide with limited success. Given the inadequate performance of alternative treatments in walnut soils (medium to fine textured soils and deeper rooting), there appears little likelihood of finding a suitable replacement for MB other than nematode resistance/tolerance. In the past 10-12 years, the focus has been on looking for nematode tolerance/resistance in walnut rootstocks. CWB has been supporting this research with annual funding that to date totals nearly $500,000.

In June we learned our proposal to the FY 2012 USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)program entitled "Development of Disease Resistant Walnut Rootstocks: Integration of Conventional and Genomic Approaches" was rated in the "outstanding" category and will be funded. We have been granted $1,142 million for two years with a high probability of receiving continuation funding for the remaining two years of our original request. The development of new clonal walnut rootstocks resistant to phytoparasitic nematodes is a key component of this four-year comprehensive rootstock improvement program which will provide additional support for the person filling this position.

We have been discussing our research and extension needs with the almond and pistachio industries and they agree with the need to fill this position.
Posted Aug 3, 2012 5:01 PM by David Ramos
22
As a 4th generation farmer of tree nut and fruit crops, I am hard pressed to think of any other area of plant protection that has such a critical need for continuing research and education. With the loss of methyl bromide, restrictions on Telone, and the devastating losses that can result from infestation, having a well qualified and dedicated nematologist at Kearney is simply a must-have for permanent crops agriculture in California. Filling this position should receive the very highest priority. Thank you for considering my thoughts.
Posted Aug 4, 2012 10:02 AM by Brent Barton
23
Stuke Nursery Co is a third generation walnut nursery serving the California Walnut industry since 1924. Over the past 85+/- years, the Stuke family has worked closely with many, many walnut industry researchers regarding numerous pest and disease problems. As both a Nursery and Walnut Producer, Stuke was very fortunate to have Mike McHenry lead the industry through the current phase out of methyl bromide. Mike performed numerous trials on Stuke property and many other properties. Mike truly was a follow threw man with no hidden agenda's. What he found in his trials is what we know today regarding the most deadly pest the industry has to deal with, the lession nematode. There are very few, if any alternatives found to date that will combat this pest in many soils though out the heart of California's Walnut Production areas. The future of the industry depends on this position both as a Nursery and Grower. With MeBr soon to be lost and Telone's efficacy in the heavier soils, we have to have this position continue with someone that has worked closely with Mike.
Please consider this position to be your highest priority.
Thank you

Posted Aug 4, 2012 1:44 PM by Leslie Nerli
24
Stuke Nursery Co is a third generation walnut nursery serving the California Walnut industry since 1924. Over the past 85+/- years, the Stuke family has worked closely with many, many walnut industry researchers regarding numerous pest and disease problems. As both a Nursery and Walnut Producer, Stuke was very fortunate to have Mike McHenry lead the industry through the current phase out of methyl bromide. Mike performed numerous trials on Stuke property and many other properties. Mike truly was a follow threw man with no hidden agenda's. What he found in his trials is what we know today regarding the most deadly pest the industry has to deal with, the lession nematode. There are very few, if any alternatives found to date that will combat this pest in many soils though out the heart of California's Walnut Production areas. The future of the industry depends on this position both as a Nursery and Grower. With MeBr soon to be lost and Telone's efficacy in the heavier soils, we have to have this position continue with someone that has worked closely with Mike.
Please consider this position to be your highest priority.
Thank you

Posted Aug 4, 2012 1:47 PM by Leslie Nerli
25
The California Specialty Crops Council (CSCC) is a grower supported 501(c)5 non-profit organization and considered a trusted source of field based information spanning horticultural crop production, pest management and stewardship activities in fruit, root, vegetable, vine, nut and berry crops (fresh, dried, and processed); also included are beekeepers and pest control advisors. CSCC growers generate over $5 Billion annually on approximately 600,000 acres of California farmland.

The Perennial Crops Nematology Specialist is a vitally important position to protect the interests of California agriculture.This position must be supported to reduce future potential losses from nematode pests (current and new speciies) and to help growers and PCAs find new cultural, chemical and biological ways to manage severe crop losses. With the loss of many fumigant tools, increased regulatory restrictions on chemical use, and general environmental concerns about farming, it is extremely important that this position be funded.







Posted Aug 5, 2012 4:39 PM by Lori Berger
26
As current Chair of the UC ANR Nematology workgroup I would like to stress the need for a Nematology Specialist working on nematode problems in perennial fruit crops. Specially at the current time, with the use of fumigant nematicides being restricted, it is essential that alternative nematode management methods are being developed and evaluated. Plant-parasitic nematodes are important parasites of the range of perennial fruit crop, causing substantial economic damage. Dr McKenry has very effectively worked on this issue, but much work remains to be done. Given the long-term cycles of these crops, it is a given that a long-term research commitment is required to address such problems. Furthermore, to maintain the high quality of this industry, effective ways to allow production of nematode-free nursery stock are also a prerequisite. Perennial fruit crop commodities, that include grapes, walnuts, almonds, pistachio's, plums, peaches, nectarines, etc. are major contributors to the California economy, and as such there are ample possibilities for support for nematode-related research in these crops.
To conclude: a perennial crops nematology specialist is addressing a very important subject, and as chair of the nematology workgroup I urge you to provide support necessary to fill this position.
Posted Aug 6, 2012 9:46 AM by antoon ploeg
27
As Vice Chairperson of the California Walnut Board Production Research Committee, and, a long time nurseryman and orchardist, I would like to add my comments of support for filling this important position.

California's permanent tree crop industries have greatly benefited from the knowledge base and practical application of a dedicated specialist. Now that Mike McKenry is retiring we need to acknowledge that his job is not done. Parasitic nematodes and replant disorders continue to be a problem for orchardists planting second and third generation orchards while we are losing the weapons that we once used. New nematode methodologies need to be developed and advanced in order for California to remain the world leader of tree fruit and nuts.

I strongly support filling this important position.
Posted Aug 6, 2012 11:37 AM by Robert Driver
28
Over the last 30 years, I have benefited greatly and in many ways from Dr. Mike McKenry's research and extension program in nematology, based at UC's Kearney Ag Center. As a worker in commercial agriculture, my first detailed knowledge of nematodes, their management, and groundwater pollution issues came from extension presentations and workshops delivered by Mike. As a Kern County Farm Advisor, I was trained further in nematology by Mike, benefited from diagnostic assays conducted by his lab, and enjoyed collaborative field trials involving him and his staff. As a Research Plant Pathologist at Davis with USDA-ARS, I have benefited greatly from the decades of research Mike has devoted to alternatives to methyl bromide. Currently, many USDA and UC scientists are depending on nematology expertise provided by Mike for development of improved fruit and nut tree rootstocks that tolerate soil borne pathogens with less reliance on soil fumigation. His position also provides essential research and extension nematology expertise to countless other categories of stakeholders including scientists in diverse biological, chemical, and engineering disciplines; nurserymen; regulatory personnel; and, ultimately consumers. I realize that the State of California is dealing with unprecedented financial limitations, but it is also very clear that as a state, nation, and world we all face unprecedented long-term food demand and environmental challenges. With the unique and irreplaceable role that California plays in producing food, I cannot understand how we can afford not to continue or increase strategic investment in the nematology position from which Mike McKenry retired. I sincerely hope that the University of California can move forward quickly in refilling the position and thereby maintain the vital contributions that it makes in nematology to strategic production of California fruit and nut crops.
Posted Aug 6, 2012 1:35 PM by Greg Browne, USDA-ARS, Davis, CA
29
I would like to offer my support to fill the position of Perennial Crops Nematology Specialist. The retirement of Dr. Mike McKenry will undeniably leave a significant void in one the most critical and applicable areas of production agriculture- nematode research. Growers of perennial crops have benefitted tremendously from the real-world research, practical applications, and resulting management strategies that have been refined over the decades under Dr. McKenry’s focus. The need to fill this position has never been greater as growers continue to confront challenges in the field from nematodes and plant-back disorders while at the same battling further regulations and the loss of critical tools such as methyl bromide. Additionally, to have a strong technical resource centrally located and dedicated to furthering the understanding and betterment of control practices will further distinguish California growers and their products worldwide. Thank you for your consideration.
Posted Aug 6, 2012 2:44 PM by Eric Heidmam
30
Nematodes are one of the largest pest issues in tree crops today, and one of the most difficult to control. Nematodes affect almonds, walnuts and prunes alike. Not only are they direct pests, but their damage leads to secondary and tertiary problems for the plant.
Current control methods have questionable efficacy and are very expensive.
This is not a pest that one can simply see on a leaf with a handlens, they really need to know what they are looking for.
With a specialist in nematology, steps would be made in the control of a virulent pest, a pest which causes growers huge financial burden in both alternatives. The first alternative is treatment, which carries a huge expense and unknown results. The second alternative, non treatment, will lead to yield loss, loss of tree vigor, and eventual decline and death of the tree.
As a PCA dealing with nematodes throughout each year and appreciating the importance they have in our industry, I support a specialist in this area.
Posted Aug 6, 2012 4:30 PM by Lee Heringer
31
Nematodes are one of the largest pest issues in tree crops today, and one of the most difficult to control. Nematodes affect almonds, walnuts and prunes alike. Not only are they direct pests, but their damage leads to secondary and tertiary problems for the plant.
Current control methods have questionable efficacy and are very expensive.
This is not a pest that one can simply see on a leaf with a handlens, they really need to know what they are looking for.
With a specialist in nematology, steps would be made in the control of a virulent pest, a pest which causes growers huge financial burden in both alternatives. The first alternative is treatment, which carries a huge expense and unknown results. The second alternative, non treatment, will lead to yield loss, loss of tree vigor, and eventual decline and death of the tree.
As a PCA dealing with nematodes throughout each year and appreciating the importance they have in our industry, I support a specialist in this area.
Posted Aug 6, 2012 4:30 PM by Lee Heringer
32
Dr. Mckenry UCR Nematology completed over 40 years of contribution to applied Nematology and is now retired. His work will continue to come to fruition well into the future. I have worked for Dr. Mckenry for 30 years and I am in full support of ANR funding this critically needed position at the Kearney Ag Research and Extension Center (K.A.R. E.).
This position is synchronized with many of the initiatives within the UC ANR strategic vision and is primed to fit the continuum from what has been learned to date. I list a few examples to make the case for this statement.
Initiative: Improve water quality, quantity, and security
Methyl Bromide Replacements:
Gas-forming fumigants such as Methyl bromide, Telone, and Vapam have been implicated with off-target issues, therefore, have come under review and regulation to the point of becoming cost prohibitive and less available as tools for the agriculturalist.
Evaluation of water soluble nematicides without contaminating shallow water aquifers have been screened. More than100 treatments were evaluated over the last 3 decades. New methods and equipment for water soluble nematicide delivery was developed and is currently deployed successfully today, mostly applicable to annual crops. Perennial crop soil must be cleansed to a five foot depth bringing a greater challenge. Nematologists are waiting for new chemistry in the pipeline to evaluate across a broad spectrum of soil types without contamination of our water supply.

DBCP replacement evaluations:
DBCP is a contaminant of many valley aquifers and carbon filtration has been the solution at great costs. Using products with a shorter half-life prevents water aquifer contamination.
Post-plant products such as Nemacur, Furadan, Enzone, Cordon, and Movento placed and timed strategically to control nematodes became available agricultural tools for growers. Some of these are no longer available due to regulatory action. Movento, a known insecticide with nematicidal activity is derived from new chemistry that moves to plant root tips where it disrupts nematode infection for months of protection. Interestingly, the method of delivery is simply a spray to the foliage at the appropriate time of the year to reduce both insect and nematode pressure. Nematologists are eager to find more of this type of chemistry to screen across different crops and nematode species.

Enhance Competitive, Sustainable Food Systems
Nematologists have learned that there are abiotic and biotic factors that are detrimental to plant growth especially following the same perennial crop generation after generation. Fumigants are soil and root cleansing tools but have been regulated and reduced from the growers toolbox. In order to give growers a competitive edge, Nematologists have begun studies that include changing the genetic source of the replanted rootstock. These studies are imparting good information that will add to the growers strategy for replanting without the use of fumigants. These choices are relevant to the nematode pest that is in the given environment. The list of perennial rotation crops must be generated and evaluated. For example,Vitis to Prunus, or Citrus to Prunus, Prunus persica to (Prunus amygdalus x Prunus persica), (Juglans hindsii x Juglans regia) to (Juglans cathayensis x Juglans microcarpa) to name just a few. Knowing this information will add significantly to the competitive and sustainability of perennial crop production. Plant resistance has the best chance for long term sustainability relative to nematodes and other causal organisms of disease. The current nematologist has transferred to the ag industry 3 grape rootstocks with broad nematode resistance and 1 walnut rootstock with tolerance to P. vulnus. This work was accomplished over the last 3 deacades. Walnut genetic sources are currently being screened and there is a treasure trove of sources to evaluate by nematologists.

Increase Science Literacy in Agriculture
Nematologists add to Science literacy by publishing their results in varied journals, compendiums, IPM manuals, newspapers, Farm Press, and social media outlets. The best transfer of information is during field days. Stakeholders get to visit the actual layout of field trials and capture the relevance of agricultural research in action. Students from many educational institutions come through the K.A. R. E. gate every year. Local students as well as international students from the S.E.E.D. program at Reedley College do internships with the center scientists and staff.

Manage Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases
Nematodes are microscopic and many times not visible at all in plants. The complexity of detecting invasive nematode pests moving through plants, soil, or machinery in California is difficult. Nematologists have deployed a huge effort in this arena and have been successful in this initiative. We currently have a nursery certification program that has served all constituents very well for many years. Nursery plants must be sold clean of nematodes and diseases in California. This preventative measure is profound and highly valuable. Nematologists have contributed to various fumigation methods used at nurseries by custom applicators approved by the state of California. Monitoring, tracking, and surveillance of neighboring agricultural areas known to be infested with invasive species need to be placed on the agricultural radar so that outbreaks can be quickly eradicated.

Endemic nematode species can be managed by knowing the host-pest relationship and changing the perennial crop that follows in this given environment. Changing the rootstock genetics of the following crop will give the new plant an edge over the biology that lived on the previous crop. This strategic area is wide open for the new nematologist to develop and expand. Plants grown in steamed soil substrate within containers has reduced the chance of dispersing nematode infected plant material.

Dr. Mckenry's program fits many of the initiatives relevant to the future of California agriculture. The new nematologist has the infrastructure available at Kearney. Long term study areas currently exist to screen pre-plant and post-plant nematicides. There are orchards and vineyards coming out of production for perennial crop rotation or replanting studies. Nematodes and the associated biology are within many of these soils and it will be a fast transition for the new nematologist to add to these initiatives. The new nematologist will fit the role of a public scientist with an unbiased approach to scientific discovery and innovation which we all know leads to education and economic growth.

The citizens of California have taxed themselves through bonds for infrastructure improvements at Kearney with the confidence that the University of California has the commitment to keep agricultural research at the forefront. A two story building with labs and offices, a state of the art greenhouse, and a high pressure water system have added value to this facility. Now is the time to fill this facility with a new generation of scientist to replace the impeccable work of retiring scientists.

Last year UCR listed employees from the following disciplines compared to nematologists in the following ratios, based on the division of ag personnel. The number of nematologist is shrinking so these numbers are probably doubled by now.

Entomologists 3.8 to 1 Nematologist
Botany and Plant Science 5.5 to 1
Environmental Science 2.7 to 1
Plant Pathology 2.7 to 1

The point here is to demonstrate that many of these disciplines will bring a perspective from above the soil surface most frequently. In contrast, a nematologists of perennial crops will bring a perspective from below the soil surface. These two contrasting perspectives will enhance thought within the think tanks of agricultural issues.

Respectfully,

Thomas R. Buzo
Research Associate-UCR Nematology
Posted Aug 7, 2012 10:12 AM by Thomas R. Buzo UCR Nematology
33
This is clearly an area of critical need due to retirement and lack of personnel and the severity and extent of nematode problems. The position is well justified and a good fit for ANR. It has extremely strong support from industry, growers, stakeholders, and UC. I rank it very high priority.
Posted Aug 7, 2012 10:27 AM by Jodie Holt
34
This position was identified as a high priority by a review of research capacity needs conducted by the California Tree Nut Research and Extension Planning Group (almonds, pistachios & walnuts). For both almonds and walnuts it was a very high priority and pistachios wants the skill set available should it be needed. Currently for perennial crops there is no one in California in the UC, CSU, or USDA system dedicated to understanding nematodes and their relationships to other soil organisms and tree/vine growth. Plant-parasitic nematodes are both an issue in nursery stock and in orchards, causing significant yield losses in almonds, other Prunus species, and walnuts.

The skill set has become more critical with the continuing extreme regulatory pressure on soil fumigants which have been the primary tool for control. EPA is starting registration review of all the soil fumigants in 2013 having barely finished the reregistration process. When asked where almonds are most vulnerable in pest management, I point to soil pest management because of our reliance on soil fumigants with no good alternatives currently available. And when recently asked what I would like for the industry if I had a “magic wand”, nematode resistant Prunus rootstock was very high on my list.

Almond growers have been funding a variety of research in an effort to find alternatives as well as mitigate the use of soil fumigants. Almost all of those research projects need a nematologist to help assess the efficacy or impact of a modification in the treatment. For example, one of the key foci of the current Prunus rootstock breeding program is nematode resistance. For evaluation or to help identify traits that might be useful in conferring resistance, the skills of a nematologist are needed. Also, in the long run to develop a truly IPM-based soil pest management system a lot more biological knowledge is needed about the various nematodes and their roles in the soil ecosystem. And we need the skill set to continue to assess the efficacy of various soil pest management tools.

In addition to the possibilities for collaboration mentioned in the position proposal, we would like to add working closely with plant pathologists in USDA-ARS at the Davis campus along with the collaboration opportunities down the road with USDA-ARS personnel in Parlier. From a breeding perspective we have projects with UC-Davis and with USDA-ARS that could use the collaboration of a nematologist.
Posted Aug 7, 2012 2:25 PM by Gabriele Ludwig
35
I know of no crop that has a deeper or more expansive root system than walnuts. Our family has been producing walnuts continuously for 99 years. First generation orchards have been follwed by second and third generation plantings on the same land. This would not have been possible without the excellent research of Mike Mchenry. The loss of methyl bromide, and the needed research to find and equal fumigant is imperative.

This position must be filled.

Jerry Barton
Posted Aug 7, 2012 2:58 PM by Jerry Barton
36
The position of Perrenial Crops Nematology Specialist must be filled; the collaborative efforts and the research findings are vital to helping nurseries and growers continue to produce high yield and high value crops. Agriculture is costly and over-regulated with high density soil pests and diseases because we are losing our best fumigant and the alternatives are soil-type and location specific with varying degrees of effectiveness. Nematodes cause massive plant and economic damage; we need continued research to combat these very tough problems. I support ANR funding for this very vital position at Kearny Research Station
Posted Aug 7, 2012 3:43 PM by JoAnn Stuke Diethrich , Stuke Nursery Co Inc
37
There is a critical need for the continuance of a Perennial Crops Nematology Specialist at the Kearney Agriculture Center, University of California, Riverside. Plant parasitic nematodes continue to be one of the most limiting causes threatening the production of California’s specialty crops, including fruit tree, vine and nursery crops. The need to protect and ensure the State’s clean and viable production of more than 50% of the nation’s fruit, nuts, and vegetables against economically damaging plant parasitic nematodes is of critical concern to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The need to meet demands for nematode-free specialty crops for domestic and international markets cannot be underrated. California provides suitable climate and long growing seasons not only for these crops but also for their associated nematode pests. The current restrictions on nematicides, the on-going need for effective alternate methods of nematode management, and the production of nematode free nursery stock are some critical areas requiring further research, effective communication and application of results both at private grower and industry levels. Dr. McKenry excelled in all these areas and more. The State of California and the nation will always be indebted to him for his invaluable contribution in applied Nematology, Now, on his retirement, the need for a continuing perennial crops Nematology specialist is imperative and must not be overlooked. California and the nation need a Perennial Crops Nematology Specialist. To not have one would be a major loss to the State’s agricultural industry, and a gross error of judgement.

John Chitambar
Nematologist
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Posted Aug 7, 2012 4:06 PM by John Chitambar
38
As the CEO of a bare root nursery that has depended on fumigants for many years, I urge you to make this position your top prioroty. I am also the current chair of CANGC, which has sponsored CUE's for MB since the begining. Have also served on the Pacific Area Wide for MB replacements. Not only is it vital to the conintuation of "clean" nursery stock to the grower community, it is also vital to the grower community to have continuing work in this area to give them the maximum tools to continue the strong industry that we currently have in California. Having worked with both the UC system and ARS for more years than I care to count, we have learned information that has helped the grower community in the transisiton away from MB. There is much more to learn to make the transition smoother and more benificial to both the growers and the community at large. Mike has been instrumental in starting us down this path. We need to continue it, both from biological aspects and hopefully, chemical tools for the future as well. We need choices in tools, not a one size fits all, becasue it will not work. Without this position, it will not be possible to have a strong CA agriculture in the future.


David H. Cox
CEO, L. E. Cooke Co
Chair, CANGC
Posted Aug 7, 2012 4:45 PM by David Cox
39
This is one Specialist position that California perennial crop agriculture cannot live without. Alternatives for nematode control are constantly becoming more limited. Effective controls are essential to maintain productivity. This position must be filled sooner rather than later.
Posted Aug 7, 2012 8:29 PM by Joseph Connell

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