Posts Tagged: UC Desert Research and Extension Center
Giant King Grass is a fast-growing, high-yield grass that grows under a variety of soil conditions, according to Viaspace Green Energy Inc. It is propagated vegetatively and, with sufficient rain or irrigation, can grow 15 to 18 feet high in six months.
At the UC Desert Rec, scientists compared two planting processes:
- Planting single nodes that grow into individual plants with some space between them.
- Planting whole stalks continuously end to end, which results in a dense row of plants about six inches apart.
Preliminary results showed the whole stalk planting germinated earlier and grew more quickly. The individual plants had a significant number of skips where the nodes failed to germinate.
Two harvesting regimens were tested:
- Harvest when the plant is 6 to 8 feet tall every two months for animal feed and to produce biogas for anaerobic digestion.
- Harvest when the plant is 15 to 18 feet tall for bioenergy applications, such as direct combustion in a power plant, energy pellets or cellulosic biofuels.
"It was 108 degrees when I arrived in Holtville last Monday evening (Sept. 8, 2014) at 6 p.m.," said Carl Kukkonen, CEO of Viaspace. "Giant King Grass is planted in the worst soil at the University of California site, and still the results are good. I am pleased that Giant King Grass grows well in this extremely hot and dry environment."
When Khaled Bali looks at ice cream he thinks about alfalfa, wrote Alejandro Davila in the Imperial Valley Press. The story highlighted the research contributions of UC's Desert Research and Extension Center, which this year is celebrating its centennial.
The director of UC Cooperative Extension in Imperial County and an irrigation farm advisor, Bali said that for some people the connection between ice cream and alfalfa is not quite clear. Since alfalfa feeds dairy cattle, it is an important "ingredient" of ice cream.
“Alfalfa is grown here 365 days a year,” said Bali, and uses most of the irrigation water in the Valley and the state.
The article also mentioned entomology farm advisor Eric Natwick's work on sweet potato whitefly and staff research associate Brent Boutwell's work on registering pesticides as part of the UC EPA's IR-4 program.
Ice cream makes UC advisor think of alfalfa.
The USDA, in conjunction with scientists at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in El Centro, are crossbreeding carrots from around the world to blend benefits in a native California variant, according to an article in the Imperial Valley Press.
“Each variety was pretty unique,” Caywood was quoted. “Some were more tubular, others had thick crowns, and still others had long roots.”
USDA researcher Rob Kane told reporter William Roller that yellow carrots from France, red from China and purple from Turkey may have traits that make the vegetable healthier than common orange varieties and may allow farmers to produce a healthy crop with reduced chemical use.
Colorful carrots contain antioxidants, natural plant compounds that can help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. A Brazilian carrot being studied by USDA researcher Phil Simon may impart natural resistance to nematodes, microscopic, soil-borne pests that can cause stunted growth, forking or swelling of the vegetable.
To control the effects, farmers typically fumigate the soil, Simon said.
“We’re in the process of proving we can farm without nematicides,” Simon was quoted. “The industry will save money not using fumigants and we can benefit the environment.”
Carrots come in various colors and shapes.