ANR in the news Jan. 1-15, 2020

Jan 28, 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).

By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach