UC ANR NEWS
Palm Springs area dog owners on high alert after coyote attack on pet. Here's what you should do
(Desert Sun) Ricardo Lopez, Aug. 30
…But coyotes are adaptable scavenger predators who often find suburban environments especially hospitable because of an ample food supply: rodents, cats and fruit trees. Dense shrubs are great for providing coyotes shelter and hiding spots, according to research by the University of California Cooperative Extension.
…Researchers say some coyotes have grown accustomed to people, associating them with food and protection. Coyotes at times have become aggressive toward humans, stalking or attacking children, adults or pets walked on leashes by their owners. More than 160 such attacks have occurred in California since the 1970s, according to Cooperative Extension research.
Macadamia growers to host field day, workshop
(Village News) Aug. 30
The University of California Cooperative Extension in conjunction with the California Macadamia Society and the Gold Crown Macadamia Association will hold their annual field day Saturday, Sept. 21, from 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the home of Jim Russell, 205 Calle Linda, in Fallbrook.
Free workshop Sept. 12 will cover restoring local rangeland, prescribed burns, fire-resistant plants
(Santa Maria Times) Aug. 30
Because the weather and wildfires have had major impacts on the livestock industry, the University of California and the USDA Agricultural Research Service will conduct a Central Coast Rangeland Workshop on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Why Are There So Many Palm Trees in the Bay Area?
(KQED) Daniel Potter, Aug. 29
… Foreign palms were originally brought to California's Spanish missions in the 1700s for religious services the Sunday before Easter, says Joe McBride, a professor emeritus of landscape architecture and environmental planning at UC Berkeley.
“They used the palm fronds for processionals on Palm Sunday once a year at their churches,” he says. “There was nothing like this growing in the vicinity of the missions.”
Can cannabis go green?
(Nature) Jyoti Madhusoodanan, Aug. 28
About four years ago, a flurry of headlines declared that cannabis cultivation was “sucking California dry”. The stories appeared in several major news outlets, many of which made the assertion that a single cannabis plant guzzles about 22 litres of water each day.
“Reading those stories made me wonder just how big an issue this was,” says Van Butsic, an environmental scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. He found that the cannabis plant had also been described as being unusually thirsty by many scientists — dozens of peer-reviewed publications had cited the same 22-litre-per-plant figure. “We used that number in our earlier papers, too, because it's the only one we could find,” Butsic says. “But we always wondered, where did it come from?”
Sierra Science Lecture Series Presents: The Natural Benefits of Prescribed Fire on Sept. 10
(YubaNet) Sierra College, Aug. 28
What type of fire do you want? Dr. Kate Wilkin presents the benefits of a prescribed fire. California is in a wildfire crisis. We will have fires near our community. Rather than unplanned wildfires, we can choose when the fires will occur and what their impact will be to our community. These prescribed fires protect communities from wildfire's flames and smoke, and have natural benefits for biodiversity and water yield. Come learn more about the natural benefits of prescribed fire and how people across the west are using prescribed fire on private and public lands.
UC ANR: Oaks in Vineyards a ‘Win-Win' for Bats and Growers
(Sierra Sun Times) Pam Kan-Rice, Aug. 28 (News release)
…To find answers, a UC Cooperative Extension scientist in San Luis Obispo County collaborated with a U.S. Forest Service scientist to study how bats use blue oak and valley oak trees in vineyards. UC Cooperative Extension specialist Bill Tietje, a co-author of the study, says they focused on bats that eat insects because bat populations have declined dramatically in some areas due to habitat loss and disease. “And bats don't hurt grapes. As a matter of fact, thanks to the huge number of bugs they consume—bats could be very good for a vineyard.”
Almond growers, marketers assess crop
(Ag Alert) Christine Souza, Aug. 28
… A few almond farmers in Turlock and Modesto began harvest with infestations of a relatively new pest, the brown marmorated stinkbug, an invasive insect from Asia. University of California Cooperative Extension integrated pest management advisor Jhalendra Rijal, who serves Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties, said the pest first appeared in commercial almond orchards in 2017.
"We've seen a couple of orchards that have pretty bad BMSB damage in almonds," said Rijal, who calls the stinkbug problematic because it can attack the crop throughout the season. "In terms of what percent of the almonds are damaged, we won't know until they've shaken the trees."
Making Sense of Sensors for Precision Agriculture
(AgriBusiness Global) Daniel Jacobs, Aug. 28
… We host a continuing education show called “Advances in Imagery.” On our most recent episode, UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor, George Zhuang argued that data is the single biggest thing holding back precision application. We agree with this view and think sensors will provide:
- Important input into pre-season nutrient VRA prescriptions and planning;
- A critical component for any in-season nutrient VRA prescriptions; and
- Critical data for non-nutrient related precision applications, including pesticide, fungicide, water, and growth regulator applications.
UC offers hands-on look at alfalfa, forage research
(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Aug. 27
…The University of California's Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier is the site of the latest trials using winter surface-water runoff to flood alfalfa fields.
A team led by University of California (UC) of Davis integrated hydrologic science professor Helen Dahlke is testing the effect of modest and high amounts of water application on growing-season alfalfa yield in different soils and under different climate conditions, Dahlke has said.
The recharge effort “has a lot of geographical significance” in the Tulare Lake Basin, where land subsidence because of excessive pumping is particularly severe, notes Nicholas Clark, a UC agronomy and nutrient management advisor for Kings, Tulare and Fresno counties.
Studies show capitalism's role in saving planet
(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Aug. 27
…In one, University of California (UC) communications specialist Jeannette Warnert explains that the growing severity of wildfires in recent years has led to growing acceptance of “pyrosilviculture” – a new term coined by UC fire scientist Rob York to emphasize the importance of fire in silviculture, the management of forests for wood.
…“Fire is such an important ecological process, you can't manage for timber without fire,” York told her.
Prescribed burns are routinely done on public lands, but scientists say they're not enough to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire. Enter the UCCE, where scientists including forestry and natural resources advisor Susie Kocher has been working with landowners to encourage more prescribed burning to reduce risk.
In Humboldt County, UCCE advisors Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeff Stackhouse helped set up California's first Prescribed Burn Association, whose members will pool their resources to conduct burns to maintain productive grasslands, enhance wildlife habitat and ensure safer communities.
U.S. approval process for gene-edited livestock may hamper research
(AgriNews) Jeannine Otto, Aug. 26
A proposed U.S. regulatory framework for how the FDA treats gene-edited livestock may do more than put U.S. livestock producers at a disadvantage globally. It already has proven to be a source of food waste.
Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam knows firsthand how the proposed framework under which U.S. researchers must operate — which regards gene-edited livestock as a new animal drug and thus subject to the FDA's new drug approval process — is and will be a source of food waste on a major scale.
“Typically at the university, our milk and meat and eggs go into commerce. We sell our milk from the dairy to the creamery, we slaughter our animals and the meat goes in the food supply. That is part of what keeps the wheels running at the research establishment,” Van Eenennaam said.
After 2017 fires, Sonoma County residents, groups rally to protect large animals in disaster
(Press Democrat) Hannah Beausang, Aug. 25
…The agency is developing a program that would allow animal owners to apply for permits enabling them to enter evacuation zones during a disaster to check on or rescue their animals, he said. Animal Services also is working with the Sonoma County Horse Council and the UC Cooperative Extension Sonoma County to create a database with information about locations of large animals in the county, he said. Local groups are working to lobby for the implementation of a statewide training protocol for animal services agencies that would offer mutual aid during disasters.
Stephanie Larson, the county director and livestock range management adviser for the UC Cooperative Extension, said her organization is also educating residents about the importance of creating defensible space around livestock pastures. She is working to match ranchers with shepherds who have herds of goats or sheep available for targeted grazing, and to facilitate controlled burns that will help ranchers reduce the amount of flammable vegetation around their properties.
Burning issues fire up residents
(Ventura County Star) Colleen Cason, Aug. 24
…In Ventura County, we have one of the state's brightest researchers, Matthew Shapero of the UC Cooperative Extension, performing experiments to fully understand this suppression technique.
His conclusion: Fires in shrub-dominated landscapes burn hotter. And yet, between January 2014 and May 2017, the Ventura County Fire Department torched only about 450 acres. That's a third of what the state permitted, by the way.
Oak-killing beetle a threat to Chino Hills trees
(Chino Champion) Marianne Napoles, Aug. 24
…The pest has killed thousands of oaks in the Cleveland National Forest, said Mark Hoddle of the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside.
“The goldspotted oak borer poses an unprecedented threat to native oaks in southern California,” Dr. Hoddle said. “Hiking trails and campsites have been closed because of the risk of branches dropping from dead trees.”
Strawberry acreage still shrinking in California
(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Aug. 23
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 University of California-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.
Potential money troubles for the Fresno County 4-H Youth Development Program
(KSEE) Kaile Hunt, Aug. 22
You may recognize Fresno County 4-H when you go to the Fresno Fair. These boys and girls are the ones behind maintaining the show animals like cows, pigs, and goats.
However, recently University of California said they will soon pull all funding for this organization in Fresno County.
Sunpreme Raisin Trial Returns to the Kearney Ag Center
(American Vineyard magazine) Aug. 21
It's human nature to point fingers, but let's face it — accidents happen, and we all make mistakes from time to time. What matters is how we respond to them. And despite an accident that setback the DOV Sunpreme raisin variety trial at the UC Kearney Ag Center, the trial continues on. Watch this brief interview with UCCE Viticulture Advisor George Zhuang as he explains their progress, and read more it in American Vineyard Magazine.
State Appoints Working Group To Help Growers Transition Away From Harmful Chlorpyrifos
(KVPR) Kerry Klein, Aug 20
Last week, the State of California took its first steps to fully ban the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos that can cause neurological problems and developmental delays in children. The ban means, however, that growers have to find alternatives for managing insects. Finding those alternatives is the goal of a new statewide group that includes members of the San Joaquin Valley agriculture community.
David Haviland is a farm advisor with the UC Cooperative Extension in Bakersfield. He's been helping farmers control pests for 16 years, and he's been appointed to the new Chlorpyrifos Alternatives Work Group established by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, or DPR. “This is an important topic,” he says. “Chlorpyrifos has had a lot of benefits to agriculture for many years. At the same time, it does have some negative issues associated with it that were the reason that the product has been proposed to be discontinued.”
A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires
(The New Yorker) Nicola Twilley, Aug. 19
…In 2004, one of Brown's colleagues at Berkeley, a fire scientist named Scott Stephens, came to Sagehen and took samples from the stumps of huge trees cut down during the gold-rush era. Examining tree rings and scorch marks, Stephens was able to construct a record of fires dating back to the sixteen-hundreds. His findings confirmed that, in pre-Colonial times, Sagehen burned regularly. Those fires sometimes occurred naturally, from lightning strikes, but they were also deliberately set by Native Americans. The consensus now is that the entire Sierra Nevada burned every five to thirty years.
The future of 4-H in California amidst the budget deficit
(Ukiah Daily Journal) Lindsay R. Peak, Aug. 19
… On July 22, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty became the Director of the University of California Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program. Dr. Shannon Horrillo resigned from the position. She is now the Associate Director of Cooperative Extension at the University of Nevada, Reno.
… “For the 2019 year, the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is short roughly 5 million dollars. If we had an additional 5 million dollars, we could stay where we are. We can't hire anyone new. We can't grow.”
… Individual counties are being asked to meet 6.25% of the deficit for employee's salary and benefits this fiscal year. Universities are contemplating initiating “user fees” in order to subsidize funds for research facilities. Additionally, an academic hiring freeze went into effect.
…According to 4-H Program Representative Jacki Zediker of Yreka, the County of Siskiyou will cover a percentage of their deficit. An education centered non-profit organization also invested.
The 20-year employee envisions 4-H in surrounding areas will evolve into more short-term type programming due to budget restrictions. 4-H clubs will not simply shut their doors. “We have a long history and viability of the program. We just have to become a lot more flexible,” says Zediker.
Climatologists Say Cabernet's Days as King in Napa are Numbered
(Wine Business) Larry Brooks, Aug. 19
…Four academics and Doug McKesson, general manager at Enologix, presented different facets of the problem. They are Dan Cayan, research meteorologist, Scripps Institute; Greg Jones, professor and climatologist, Linfield College; Daniel Sumner, director, UCD Agricultural Issues Center; and Elizabeth Wolkovich, University of British Columbia and Harvard University.
Sidebar: New Program to Support Climate-Smart Agriculture
A new $1.1 million program has been designed to spur climate-smart agricultural practices in 10 California counties. The program is a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The Advance of Almonds
(Sacramento Business Journal) Emily Hamann, Aug. 16
…"On the whole, it's pretty positive for the Sacramento Valley," said Richard Howitt, an environmental and agricultural economist. "The San Joaquin Valley, not so much."
…Demand is growing in the U.S. and Europe, as well, said Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center.
…But the investment comes with risks, said Katherine Jarvis-Shean, an orchard systems advisor at the UC Cooperative Extension. Because almonds are a permanent crop, it means farmers aren't able to be as dynamic season-to-season in deciding what to plant.
“Being with the same plants for a couple of decades, when prices aren't so good, you're stuck in it for the long haul,” Jarvis-Shean said.
The end of Cabernet in Napa Valley?
(SF Chronicle) Esther Mobley, Aug. 16
…Climate change isn't coming for Napa. It's here, explains S. Kaan Kurtural, UC Davis professor of viticulture and enology.
“Napa already has moved into another climate category,” says Kurtural. By “climate category,” he's referring to the Winkler Index, a Davis-developed scale that maps which types of grape varieties can grow within specific temperature bands.
…On Aug. 15, Kurtural directed a planting of 3,600 new Cabernet plants at Beckstoffer's Lake County vineyard, representing 100 different combinations of rootstock and clone. (A clone is a distinct but genetically identical version of a grape variety.) The scale of this is enormous: Normally, Kurtural says, an ambitious project might look at two or three different combinations, not 100.
Spraying Antibiotics to Fight Citrus Scourge Doesn't Help, Study Finds
(NY Times) Andrew Jacobs, Aug. 16
…James Adaskaveg, a plant pathologist at the University of California, Riverside who specializes in the agricultural application of antibiotics, cautioned that the results should not be interpreted to mean that spraying a tree's leaves with oxytetracycline is useless in the fight against citrus greening.
“The good news is that oxytetracycline is definitely inhibiting the pathogen,” he said. “They just need to figure out how to deliver it in the most effective way.”
Tree-killing beetle discovered near Big Bear; second time in San Bernardino County
(Victorville Daily Press) Martin Estacio, Aug. 16
… “This find is a big deal. GSOB is a very destructive oak pest and as it kills oaks, people cut them down, sell them for firewood, and the pest is moved into new areas,” said Dr. Mark Hoddle, biological control specialist, in an email.
Hoddle is also the Director of the University of California Riverside's Center for Invasive Species Research and has studied the insect.
A great climate comes from happy soil. Could happy soil come from California?
(Popular Science) Ula Chrobak, Aug. 15
…Agencies, especially the Natural Resources Conservation Service, have promoted healthy soil practices for decades, but these actions have only recently become valued for their climate benefit. One that Allison Rowe, climate smart community education specialist at Ventura County's UC cooperative extension offices, is especially excited about is cover cropping. “Cover cropping is one of my favorite topics of all time,” she says. “What I love about cover crops is that they utilize the most ancient, tried-and-true carbon capture and storage technology out there, which is photosynthesis.”
‘Radical' tree trimming: Critics say PG&E's rush to stop fires may hurt California forests – SFChronicle) Kurtis Alexander, Aug. 15
…Bill Stewart, a forestry specialist at UC Berkeley, said the aggressive tactics are generally a smart way to reduce fire danger, even if they ruffle some communities.
“PG&E was probably too lax over the past few decades when homeowners wanted less clearance,” he said. “The contractors (now) are often having to make up for decades of branch infringement.”
Prune Harvest Around The Corner, Considerations from UCCE
(AgNetWest) Aug. 15
Prune harvest could start as early as this weekend. University of California Cooperative Extension Advisors Katherine Jarvis-Shean and Emily Symmes put together a checklist of pre and post-harvest considerations for growers to be prepared.
New program offers basics for beginning farmers
(Morning Ag Clips) Aug. 14
…“We wanted to be sure that students of the course could benefit from the latest scientific knowledge relevant to organic farming, so we include resources from researchers around California. Also, the content of every module is closely reviewed by a team of scientists and extension experts from across the state,” says Sonja Brodt, who oversees the course's content creation at UC SAREP.
Homeowners Are Increasingly Relying on Last-Resort Fire Insurance Plan
(Voice of San Diego) Ry Rivard, Aug. 14
…Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist at the University of California's cooperative extension, has another idea. Make sure that the FAIR Plan isn't providing any sort of backstop to new developments that are too risky for other insurance companies to cover.
“There is no reason why the FAIR Plan should cover a new home,” he said.
Rainy winter, spring affects coastal vegetable harvest
(AgAlert) Kevin Hecteman, Aug. 14
… Although the Salinas Valley started late due to the wet winter, "we've had a pretty nice stretch of weather," said Richard Smith, a University of California Cooperative Extension vegetable crops advisor in Monterey County.
Smith said he's seen some of the usual disease issues, such as downy mildew.
"We have abilities to handle those problems," he said. "The things that are a little more scary are the soilborne diseases, Verticillium and Fusarium. Those are big concerns that the growers have, because if you get those issues in your field, they're there forever."
Hull split underway as harvest season begins
(Farm Press) Logan Hawke, Aug. 14
…David Haviland, University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor and entomologist, warned earlier this year that 2019 could be another heavy year for navel orangeworm.
“As a result of winter weather, navel orangeworm sanitation was not as good as it generally should be,” Haviland said in a telephone interview in the early spring season.
4-H member crushes goal and donates over 300 backpacks and supplies to foster kids
(KRCR) Colton Chavez, Aug 13
…The 15-year-old Antelope 4-H member living in Tehama County teamed up with Robin Freisheim, from Children First Foster Family Agency. Once the duo gained momentum there was no stopping.
Their goal was to reach 200 before the first day of school. On Tuesday, Makaylie reported that her grand total was over 300 backpacks with school supplies for each of them.
High elevation climate favors alfalfa quality
(Farm Press) Todd Fitchette, Aug. 13
…Tom Getts, a farm advisor with the University of California, says the high elevation climate with its cooler nights tends to slow the growth of alfalfa in the region, giving it a higher leave-to-stem ratio. This produces lower lignin hay, which is coveted by dairy farmers for its digestibility.
Strawberry growers seek a sustainable path forward without go-to fungicides
(Science) Emily Monosson, Aug. 13
In her new book, Wilted, Julie Guthman explores the strawberry industry, from its origins in the mid-1800s to our kitchen tables today. But her focus is not limited to the berries themselves. She also examines the influence of pathogens and chemicals on the human shippers, growers, and workers that underlies the berry industry, all while revealing how planting, tending, and harvesting berries in California can cost a grower more than $60,000 per acre (1).
… REFERENCES AND NOTES
1. M. P. Bolda et al., Sample Costs to Produce and Harvest Strawberries (University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Issue Center, UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2016).
UC advisors create Calif.'s first Prescribed Burn Association
(Farm Press) Jeannette Warnert, Aug. 12
…Two UC Cooperative Extension advisors in Humboldt County believe the best way to bring back natural equilibrium on the land is by bringing back fire, and they believe it can be done in a way that is safe, effective, affordable and even fun.
Book Club of California to Consider "From Cows to Concrete" in Los Angeles County
(Pasadena Now) Andy Vitalicio, Aug. 12
...Authors Rachel Surls, a sustainable food systems advisor for UC's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Judith Gerber, a farm and garden authority, will discuss their book, “From Cows to Concrete: The Rise and Fall of Farming in Los Angeles,” and sign copies of their tome.
Rosé Berries Have Arrived
(The New Yorker) Dana Goodyear, Aug. 11
…At the University of California, Davis, the public source for new strawberry varieties, the mandate is to fight for the crop's survival. Breeders there are selecting for disease-resistance and testing their plants on hotter, hillier inland farms, off the coastal plain. “I personally believe that the climactic changes we're experiencing right now are real, and the world's heading in that direction,” Steve Knapp, a plant geneticist who runs the Davis program, told me. “We're out breeding in these environments, and, whatever's changing in those environments, we're adapting to.” The names of some of the varieties that Davis is releasing to farmers this fall suggest an industry girded for battle with the elements: Victor, Valiant, Warrior.
‘Devastator' plaguing Butte County ranchers
(Oroville Mercury-Register) Brody Fernandez, Aug. 9
…Could they travel to Butte County?
Experts say it's very possible, as this type of grasshopper is resilient and moves fast to eat. These pests can be “very problematic”, said UC Cooperative Extension Livestock and Natural Resources adviser Tracy Schohr.
“We recently just got back from the area and did some tests, along with taking live samples of the specimen in order to determine which species of grasshoppers was responsible for causing this devastation up there. The culprit was confirmed to be the clear-winged grasshopper.”
These grasshoppers can grow exponentially and have major population bursts if warm weather conditions permit, Schohr said.
Dairy farms have more problems than the trade war
(NPR Marketplace) Justin Ho, Aug. 9
…Daniel Sumner, an agricultural economist at UC Davis, said farms should be designed to withstand price swings.
“Farm prices go up and down,” he said. “That's part of the business.”
What's unusual this time, Sumner said, is how long prices have been low. It's not just dairy — prices for a lot of agricultural commodities have been down for several years. By now, he says, they should have recovered.
OPINION: Farmers Don't Need to Read the Science. We Are Living It.
(New York Times) Alan Sano, Aug. 9
…We and other farmers here are constantly experimenting with new approaches to keep soils healthy. We're part of a work group at the University of California, Davis, Cooperative Extension, where we learn about the science and share successes and failures with other farmers. Research and education like this are essential for farmers who are too busy growing food to keep up with the latest science and technologies.
Ranchers dispute UN report that links cows to climate change
(CBS News) Adriana Diaz, Aug. 8
…“Forty percent of all food produced in this country goes to waste and you know who the main culprit is? You and I,” UC Cooperative Extension animal science specialist Frank Mitloehner said. “So if you're really concerned about your personal environmental footprint around food, well, waste less.”
UC Cooperative Extension celebrating 101 years in Mendocino County
(Ukiah Daily Journal) Curtis Driscoll, Aug. 8
Members of the UC Cooperative Extension of Mendocino County recently celebrated 101 years of service in Mendocino County, and on Tuesday provided the Board of Supervisors with updates on various programs and what they plan to do in the county in the future.
A World Without Water (start at 30 min mark)
(1A) Kathryn Fink, Aug. 8
What would happen if we ran out of water?
Betsy Otto Director, Global Water Program, World Resources Institute
Veena Srinivasan Fellow, Water, Land and Society Program, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology; @veenas_water
Doug Parker Director, California Institute for Water Resources, University of California - Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Climate Change May Shrink Northern California Oyster Habitat
(KQED Forum) Michael Krasny, Aug. 8
A UC Davis study published this week found that human-caused climate change will likely shrink the habitats of oysters in Northern California. Focusing on native Olympia oysters and commercially grown Pacific oysters, the study monitored the growth and health of the bivalves and their habitats. We'll talk with the study's lead author about what this means for the future of oysters in Tomales Bay, Humboldt Bay and other Pacific estuarine and bayland habitats.
Edwin Grosholz, professor, department of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Davis; lead author, "Effects of seasonal upwelling and runoff on water chemistry and growth and survival of native and commercial oysters"
Study Suggests New Climate Threats to California's Oysters
(KQED) Kevin Stark, Aug.8
…For years, scientists have warned that ocean acidification threaten oysters, but new research from UC Davis suggests that climate change ravages the creatures in a multitude of ways.
Ted Grosholz, a marine biologist at the university, studies California's oyster habitats in this pastoral part of West Marin County. He led a team of researchers who found changes to salinity and dissolved oxygen levels could have an even greater impact on California's oyster growth than acidic water. The team published their findings this week in the journal Limnology and Oceanography.
We're eating this planet to death
(Wired) Matt Simon, Aug. 8
…But the promise of a lab-grown meat that replaces livestock in a significant manner is still far off. No one has a fully operational facility churning out the stuff. That means there also isn't much data to show how, exactly, it stacks up against factory farming. “If you're growing cells, you have to provide them with oxygen and heat and food and clean their waste and all the rest of it,” says Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal geneticist at the UC Davis. “That won't come free. A cow is keeping its body temperature and doing its own waste removal.”
… Robots, if deployed widely, could help fill in labor gaps and grow fruits and vegetables more efficiently, for example using machine vision to determine optimal ripeness. All great ideas that are still very young.
“The products are coming out faster than the science,” says Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer of the University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources division. “But there's definitely a lot of promise there.”
New IPCC report shows how our abuse of land drives climate change
(Wired) Matt Simon, Aug. 8
…Alternative protein options, such as lab-grown meat or plant-based meat, might help wean the developed world off livestock, at least partially. Even a relatively simple fix, like feeding cattle seaweed to cut down on their methane emissions (nearly half of humanity's global methane output comes from agriculture and other land use), might help. “The more we can optimize feed for the health of the cow and milk production and methane emissions, that's the golden trifecta on the animal side,” says Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer of the University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources division.
Newsom, Humiston to appear at economic summit
(Farm Press) Jeannette Warnert (news release), Aug. 12
Vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Glenda Humiston, is part of the summit steering committee and the team lead for the event's Ecosystem Vitality and Working Landscapes section.
“The San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada are ground zero for developing resilient strategies to make our regions prosperous, equitable, and sustainable," Humiston said. "The summit is the forum for aligning and advancing triple-bottom-line policies that work.”
OC's Urban, Suburban Youths Are Down With the Farm
(Voice of OC) Amy Depaul, Aug. 8
…In 2015, the University of California's 4-H Youth Development Program, which oversees statewide 4-H, launched a push to boost enrollment in ethnic communities in seven counties, including Orange. The results were dramatic.
Enrollment of Latinos in Orange County 4-H, largely in the afterschool programs, grew from 302 in the 2014-15 school year to 1269 the next, peaking at 2177 in 2017-18.
California Pot Researchers' Hands Tied By Feds
(East Bay Express) Dan Mitchell, Aug. 7
When cannabis researcher Van Butsic meets with a pot grower, it usually happens at a neutral location, like a restaurant or a coffeeshop. That's because Butsic, co-director of the UC Berkeley Cannabis Research Center, doesn't want the feds coming after him.
"I talk to a ton of growers, but usually not in their fields," Butsic said. He talks to them about their water usage, minimizing pests, and other environmental issues. But he's careful not to get near any actual cannabis plants. "I have to be cautious about that kind of interaction," he said.
Power outages could cut off livestock water
(AgAlert) Ching Lee, Aug. 7
...In her region, Theresa Becchetti, a University of California Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resource advisor for Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, said many ranchers rely on surface water from creeks or stock ponds, but those with irrigated pasture need pumps to supply drinking water for livestock and for irrigating pastures.
"My guess is there are many more horse people who would be affected than large ranchers," Becchetti said.
Sprayer answered: new tech makes applications easier
(Farm Press) Les Allen, Aug. 7
From the church of the California vineyard comes the request — “Let us spray”.
…Supported by a Pest Management Alliance grant from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisers Lynn Wunderlich and Franz Niederholzer are making growers aware of available tools and aspects like ground speed and air volume as assessment of coverage accuracy.
“With all our rain, growers are working with full canopies this year and that means a lot of leaf area to cover,” Wunderlich told Grape Line. “Because we're further ahead than usual, its veraison time and growers are either into or just out of powdery mildew spraying or combatting spider mites, and either way, they need good coverage on the underside of the leaves.
Veraison on the horizon for grape growers
(Farm Press) Les Allen, Aug. 7
There's the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, the return of swallows to California's Mission San Juan Capistrano, and the yearly turning of the colors in Golden Gate state vineyards — the latter event, a benchmark in the grape growing season — now underway depending on where your vines are located and how cooperative Mother Nature has been.
“The transformation happens anywhere from July through August, depending on your region,” says Mark Battany, University of California Cooperative Extension for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.
New System More Accurately Estimates Vineyard Crop Yields
(Wine Business) Kerana Todorov, Aug. 6
…Kaan Kurtural, the assistant cooperative extension specialist in viticulture at UC Davis, has designed the 1-acre fully-mechanized vineyard in Oakville, where Strong has tested the Terroir AI unit. The block includes 1,349 vines that are spaced 1.5 meters by 2 meters - or about 5 feet by 6.5 feet.
Kurtural collaborated with Strong and his team to improve Terroir AI's computer vision system, including figuring out a way to deal with occlusion from leaves, a common problem found in other automated crop yield systems. Terroir AI's technology resolved the occlusion issue in part by positioning cameras inside the enclosed unit to shoot the vines from different directions.
Certified seed now required for California rice growers
(Farm Press) Todd Fitchette, Aug. 6
… Since its discovery in a northern California rice field in 2003 the University of California has surveyed 14,000 acres of rice checks that have some level of weedy rice infestation.
“It's how we count the fields,” said Whitney Brim-DeForest, Cooperative Extension rice advisor for the counties of Sutter, Yuba, Placer, Butte and Sacramento.
For instance, a 40-acre check identified with several weedy rice plants will be counted as 40 acres, even though there may be a small patch of red rice in the field.
Weedy rice is the same genus and species as cultivate rice, according to Luis Espino, Cooperative Extension rice advisor in the counties of Yolo, Glenn and Colusa. This creates several challenges related to identification, rice quality at milling, and control. Current herbicides used in rice cannot control it. Hand rogueing is the only effective method to control its spread as seed can lay dormant in the soil for years, Espino said.
HSU president, K-12 teachers explore sustainable forestry at Scotia Mill
(Times Standard) Aug. 4
Humboldt State University President Tom Jackson, Jr. recently joined kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers from across the state to tour a lumber mill in Scotia.
The visit was part of the Forestry Institute for Teachers professional program, which is designed to provide K-12 teachers with the knowledge and skills to teach their students about forest ecology and sustainable forest management practices.
The program is organized by Yana Valachovic, who is the county director and forest adviser of UC Cooperative Extension and an HSU faculty member. She also brings together dozens of resource professionals and HSU faculty who help put on the program.
Central Valley Radio Station Stands In As A Cultural ‘Town Hall' For Local Hmong And Punjabi-Speaking Communities
(CapRadio) Julia Mitric, Aug. 1
As host of the Hmong Agriculture Show, Michael Yang provides farming advice for roughly a thousand Hmong farmers in the Fresno County area who took up agriculture after coming to the Fresno area as refugees from Laos and Vietnam.
…Yang, 50, grew farming alongside his parents. He says the radio show is his way of passing on skills, guidance and encouragement to a younger generation of Hmong farmers. The program, which he's hosted for 20 years, is intertwined with his day job as Hmong Agricultural Assistant with the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Prepare For The Robot Invasion
(Cotton Farming) Vicky Boyd, Aug. 1
…About a half dozen manufacturers gave a glimpse of the future at the University of California's third annual Drone/Ag Tech Field Day held recently at Bowles Farming in Los Banos, California.
…Steve Fennimore, a University of California Cooperative Extension weed specialist in Salinas, California, has conducted extensive studies with the Robovator from Danish manufacturer F. Poulsen Engineering. A number of large California vegetable growers on California's Central Coast are now using the rig, which is towed behind a tractor.
Worst fire in state's history illuminates preparation needs
(Farm Press) Jeannette Warnert (news release), Aug. 1
…Because of the Camp Fire tragedy, the partner agencies learned many lessons that can inform future maintenance and treatments to improve fire resilience in Butte County and other wildland areas. Kate Wilkin, the UC Cooperative Extension fire advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Butte, and Nevada counties, is able to point to projects implemented in the Camp Fire zone that saved lives and structures.
Wildfire risk fuels growing acceptance of 'pyrosilviculture'
(Farm Press) Jeannette Warnert (news release), Aug. 1
...The event also raised awareness of “pyrosilviculture,” a new forest management term coined by UC fire scientist Rob York to emphasize the importance of fire in silviculture, the management of forests for wood.
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has formed a work group to find alternatives to the pesticide chlorpyrifos that will help farmers manage insect pests when a state ban on the chemical goes into effect, reported Kerry Klein on Valley Public Radio.
Klein interviewed David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension entomology advisor and a member of the work group.
“This is an important topic,” Haviland said. “Chlorpyrifos has had a lot of benefits to agriculture for many years. At the same time, it does have some negative issues associated with it that were the reason that the product has been proposed to be discontinued.”
Chlorpyrifos is a common insecticide used under the trade names Lorsban, Lock-on and generic formulations to control ants, stink bugs, aphids, whiteflies and other pests. UC IPM coordinated a comprehensive report on chlorpyrifos in 2014, commissioned by DPR, outlining critical uses of the pesticide in alfalfa, almonds, citrus and cotton. The report details the insecticide's use patterns as compared to other pest control tactics, such as resistant varieties, mating disruption, field sanitation and other insecticides.
The new work group will develop short-term and five-year action plans to identify safer, more sustainable pest management tools, practices, and alternatives in a wide array of crops. They will seek solutions that are safe for workers, communities and the environment, able to adequately control targeted pests, and cost effective. In addition, the work group will consider the issues of efficacy, soil health and climate change.
The solutions might include combinations of other pesticides to help protect the dozens of crops on which chlorpyrifos is used. Haviland says the group will prioritize the most urgent needs first: “Who's really going to take a hit from the ban, and from there, what is the best way to go forward,” he said.
A group of trained and dedicated volunteers have been tasting avocado samples at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier to determine whether the GEM avocado variety can stand up to the tried-and-true Hass in grocery stores, reported Dale Yurong on ABC 30 Action News.
Yurong visited the sensory lab at Kearney where nine tasters have been meeting for months to help inform UC and USDA research that may enable commercial production of avocados in the San Joaquin Valley, an area believed to be unsuitable because of hot summers and cold winters.
The panellists identify avocado characteristics like nutty, stringy and buttery. "You're getting into the texture, you're getting into a lot of different nuances of flavor," said taster Shannon Aguilar.
GEM avocados grow on smaller trees than Hass and GEM has a tear-drop shape, while Hass is more pear-shaped. But the real test will be comparable flavor and tolerance to valley conditions.
"We believe it has a little more heat tolerance and a little more cold tolerance," said UC Cooperative Extension specialist Mary Lu Arpaia.
The GEM may give local farmers a new crop option. One has already planted two acres of GEM.
"It's something that we probably need in this area. Something we can do and we wouldn't have to import it from other parts of the country or the world," said Marvin Flores, environmental health and safety specialist at Kearney and a member of the avocado taste panel.
Keeping global warming below 2 degrees C (3.6 F) can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors, including land and food, said the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a report released Aug. 8, 2019.
The panel of scientists said agriculture, deforestration and other land use - such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands - generate about one-third of human greenhouse gas emissions and 44% of methane emissions. The panel suggests that farmland be reduced and forestland increased to keep the earth from getting more than 1.5 degrees C hotter than in the pre-industrial era. Global temperatures have already risen about 1 degree C in the past 150 years.
Currently, about 50% of the globe's vegetated land is dedicated to agriculture — and about 30% of cropland is used to grow grain for animal feed. Given how much land it takes to grow food to feed livestock, meat production is a leading cause of deforestation, reported National Public Radio.
Cattle ranchers dispute the UN report that links cows to climate change, said a story on CBS This Morning, which quoted UC Cooperative Extension animal science specialist Frank Mitloehner. Mitloehner studies livestock and air quality. He told the news station that Americans should focus on the energy wasted on food they don't consume.
“Forty percent of all food produced in this country goes to waste and you know who the main culprit is? You and I,” Mitloehner said. “So if you're really concerned about your personal environmental footprint around food, well, waste less.”