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Posts Tagged: Frank Mitloehner

ANR in the news April 19-30

CDFA awards grant for Proactive IPM program

(Morning Ag Clips) April 30

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has awarded funding for one project in the initial funding cycle for the Proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Solutions grant program. The project, titled “Proactive Biological Control of Spotted Lantern Fly, Lycorma delicatula (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae)” was awarded $543,936.

The three-year project will develop biological control agents for spotted lantern fly, an invasive pest that has not yet arrived in California but is spreading rapidly across the eastern US. This pest has the potential to affect many high-value California crops including grapes, walnuts, avocados, and pistachios. The project will piggyback on work that is already being conducted on the pest in the eastern US and abroad. Project leads are Dr. Mark Hoddle (UC Riverside) and Dr. Kent Daane (UC Berkeley). The biological control agent is a small (3 mm) stingless wasp, native to China, that parasitizes the eggs of the spotted lantern fly.

https://www.morningagclips.com/cdfa-awards-grant-for-proactive-ipm-program

 

Learn about sheep, shearing, and more at Barn to Yarn in Hopland this week

(MendoVoice) April 30

If you've ever wondered how a sheep's wool becomes a sweater, you might want to check out the "Barn to Yarn" event in Hopland this weekend. This popular springtime event will return to the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center this Saturday, May 4.

The Barn to Yarn event will feature farmers and ranches, shearers, spinners, weavers, and knitters, and other local experts involved in the Northern California sheep industry. There will educational activities, presentations, workshops, take-home craft activities, and more for all ages.

https://www.mendovoice.com/2019/04/learn-about-sheep-shearing-and-more-at-barn-to-yarn-in-hopland-this-week/

 

Moth caterpillars are back for a rare second bite in the Bay Area

To control western tussock moth caterpillars, “use pressure washers to push the larvae off the trees before they start wandering around,” Andrew Sutherland said.

(Mercury News) Cat Ferguson, April 29

…Andrew Sutherland, University of California Cooperative Extension's urban integrated pest management adviser for the Bay Area, recommends a simple preventive measure: reach for the hose.

Right after the bugs have hatched, “use pressure washers to push the larvae off the trees before they start wandering around,” he said. “In the late summer and fall, if you've got egg masses, you can wash them off and you won't have an issue next year on that tree.”

Bay Area pest control and horticulture experts say most caterpillar calls come from Santa Clara and southern San Mateo counties, which Sutherland linked to warm weather and high densities of host plants — the caterpillars are particularly fond of oak and fruit trees. Sutherland said he doesn't field nearly as many calls from the East Bay.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/04/29/san-jose-moth-boom/

 

Hopland Research Center holds BioBlitz for Mendocino County students

(Ukiah Daily Journal) Curtis Driscoll, April 26

The Hopland Research and Extension Center held its annual “BioBlitz” on Friday for over 200 students from across Mendocino County, giving them a chance to explore their interest in science by finding new species at the Hopland Research Site.

The BioBlitz went on at the same time as the 2019 City Nature Challenge, an international event where people find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. Although students in Mendocino County couldn't participate in the national event, the Hopland Research Center decided to have the BioBlitz as a way to allow students to explore nature in Mendocino County.

…Experts also helped the students learn more about the area in Mendocino County and the many kinds of unique species that are in the county. Anna Holmquist, an arachnologist from UC Berkeley, entomology students from UC Berkeley, and California Naturalists, people who have gone through a UC naturalist training program, were all available throughout the day to help students and guide them as they made different discoveries.

“We will be looking for species with them and searching and trying to add to the list, but there will be a bit more depth to it with the kids actually trying to build on their understand of our Mendocino habitats,” said Hopland Research Center Community Educator Hannah Bird.

https://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/2019/04/26/hopland-research-center-holds-bioblitz-for-mendocino-county-students/

 

Have the Tough Conversations: Koopmann Family Ranch Transfer

(Capital Press) Ashley Rood, April 26

… The next generation of Koopmanns, Carissa and Clayton, are well-poised to continue the family legacy of conservation and ranching. Both are building up their own cow herds on leased land while, as partners in the family LCC, they help make the big decisions. They also have full-time agriculture jobs off the ranch focused on grazing. Clayton is the range manager for the local water utility, the SFPUC, and has a grazing management consulting business. Carissa is a livestock and natural resources advisor for University of California Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County. Both Carissa and Clayton emphasize how hard it is to make a living ranching alone, even with all the advantages of the family ranch. But getting out on the land, despite the hard work, is a place of relaxation for both of them.

For others considering succession planning, Carissa says, “Get started early and don't ever make assumptions. It's vital to know what everybody truly wants. Ultimately, the end goal that is that you're still a family, regardless of what happens.”

https://www.capitalpress.com/specialsections/farm_succession/have-the-tough-conversations-koopmann-family-ranch-transfer/article_63adc54e-684b-11e9-b095-27e06217c1ae.html

 

Fresh, local and sustainable advice

(Marin Independent Journal) Jane Scurich, April 26 

Ah, spring! Time to visit the local farmers market for tender locally grown asparagus, luscious spring peas and great gardening advice. Wait — what's that last item — advice? Yes — and it's free!

Knowledgeable, UC-trained volunteers in the University of California Marin Master Gardener program officially open their market advice tables in May to provide research-based information on horticulture and sustainable gardening practices to Marin residents.

https://www.marinij.com/2019/04/26/fresh-local-and-sustainable-advice/

 

Love science? Free app allows you to assist in research!

(ABC10) Monica Woods, April 25

…In the words of Laci Gerhart-Barley, iNaturalist is "Instagram for biology and nature enthusiasts." The professor with the biological services department at the University of California, Davis, is even incorporating it into her classroom. 

… Each year iNaturalist users participate in a "competition" to see what region can upload the most photos in the matter of a few days. The City Nature Challenge started as a competition between the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and gradually grew to include regions all over the world. 

The Sacramento region is getting on board for the first time in 2019. [Sarah Angulo, community education specialist for the California Naturalist Program, is helping organize the challenge.]

The City Nature Challenge Sacramento will take place from Friday, April 26 to Monday, April 29. 

https://www.abc10.com/article/tech/science/love-science-free-app-allows-you-to-assist-in-research/103-6392309d-268a-438c-b93e-c650826bef3f

 

UC Extension head updates supervisors on programs and leaders

(Plumas News) Victoria Metcalf, April 24

The face of the Farm Advisor's office is changing.

Plumas and Sierra county Farm Advisor Director David Lile was before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors April 9, explaining just how much his staff has changed.

… Holding up a copy of the local University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources annual report for last year, Lile said, It's “easy to look at with plenty of pictures.”

…Lile then introduced Ryan Tompkins as the new forestry advisor. He replaces longtime representative Mike DeLasaux who retired in 2018.

…Natural resources and livestock liaison with local ranchers was introduced next. That's Tracy Scholr [Schohr].

…Most 4-H members and their parents already know 4-H Program Representative Kari O'Reilly.

… Tom Getts was also introduced as the technical assistance for Plumas and Sierra farmers and Susanville area land managers.

… And Barbara Goulet, as administrative assistant, provides support to the staff, but also works with local Master Gardener volunteers and 4-H volunteers, according to Lile.

http://www.plumasnews.com/uc-extension-head-updates-supervisors-on-programs-and-leaders/

 

Can California get cows to burp less methane?

(NBC News) April 24

California is now requiring the beef and dairy industry to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Some scientists are testing and growing a red algae seaweed that can reduce methane from cow burps.

https://www.nbcnews.com/leftfield/video/can-california-get-cows-to-burp-less-methane-1506967107599

 

How to Control Thrips in Blueberries

(California Fresh Fruit) Matthew Malcolm, April 24

Citrus thrips have been a major nuisance for California blueberry growers, but how do you keep them under control and when should you apply crop protection materials? Is there an organic treatment available? Watch this brief interview UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor David Haviland as he answers all these questions. Read more about blueberry pest management in California Fresh Fruit Magazine.

https://calfreshfruit.com/2019/04/24/how-to-control-thrips-in-blueberries/

 

UC: Older vineyards can be modified for mechanization

(Ag Alert) April 24

Saying they have proven that older vineyards can be converted to mechanization, University of California Cooperative Extension specialists say winegrape growers in the San Joaquin Valley do not have to replant vineyards if they want to switch to mechanical pruning.

Growers who want to make the switch can retrain the vines to make the transition, without losing fruit yield or quality, according to a UCCE study.

UCCE specialist Kaan Kurtural said the study found that "growers do not have to plant a new vineyard to mechanize their operations."

"We have proven beyond a doubt that an older vineyard can be converted to mechanization," he said.

There is no loss in yield during conversion, Kurtural said, "and post-conversion yield is better and fruit quality is equivalent to or better than hand-managed vines."

http://agalert.com/story/?id=12932

 

No replanting needed for mechanical pruning

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, April 24

University of California (UC) researcher Kaan Kurtural has gained recognition in recent years for automating a vineyard operation in the Napa Valley, which was planted at a density conducive to the practice.

Now Kurtural and other UC Cooperative Extension scientists are applying their knowledge in the San Joaquin Valley, where they say growers who wish to switch from hand to mechanical pruning to save labor won't have to replant to do so.

https://www.farmprogress.com/grapes/no-replanting-needed-mechanical-pruning

 

Wet winter in Sonoma County may have helped spread virulent oak disease

(Press Democrat) Derek Moore, April 24

Now that the North Coast is finally drying out from an unusually wet winter, concern is growing over the potential rapid spread of sudden oak disease, renewing calls for the public's help tracking the deadly forest pathogen.

“Now is when we might expect the pathogen to take off a bit,” said Kerry Wininger, a UC Cooperative Extension staffer in Santa Rosa.

Wininger is a local organizer of annual sudden oak death surveys known as the SOD Blitz. This year's survey occurs from April 25 to 28 across Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Organizers are hoping for a good turnout of volunteers, who will become educated spotters and collectors to help scientists slow the disease's spread.

https://www.sonomanews.com/lifestyle/9531662-181/wet-winter-in-sonoma-county

 

Young chefs: Local students prepare and taste international meals at fourth annual Culinary Academy

(Lompoc Record) Lorenzo J. Reyna, April 24

Twenty-one elementary school students spent part of their spring break learning to cook various international recipes inside Rice Elementary School's cafeteria Wednesday.

The fifth- and sixth-graders from 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council Clubs took part in the fourth annual Culinary Academy, spearheaded by six adults from UC CalFresh Healthy Living.

…Janelle Hansen helps oversee the 4-H SNAC Clubs as supervisor of the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo group.

She said Wednesday's five-hour event from 1 to 6 p.m. was much more than just students learning how to create various dishes.

“The hope is that they will learn the life skill of healthy living and nutrition — and that's really one of our goals,” Hansen said as the students were preparing their meals.

https://lompocrecord.com/news/local/education/young-chefs-local-students-prepare-and-taste-international-meals-at/article_7cefdc31-cf75-5a0e-92f0-74d37d6cec8b.html

 

Close to home or farther afield, visit California's native plants and gardens

(Los Altos Online) Tanya Kucak, April 24

If you're in the mood for some road trips, immerse yourself in an atmosphere of beautiful plants and enthusiastic people by attending the Going Native Garden Tour, now in its 17th year.

Sponsored by the California Native Plant Society in association with the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County, the tour offers an unparalleled chance to talk with gardeners and designers, view gardens of different types and compare gardens planted a year ago to those planted a couple of decades ago. More than 50 gardens are scheduled to be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4 and 5. Gardens in San Jose and other southern Santa Clara County cities will be open May 4, while May 5 will feature visits to northern gardens from San Mateo to Sunnyvale, including Mountain View. No Los Altos gardens will be on display this year.

https://www.losaltosonline.com/news/sections/magazine/59930-

 

AgriTalk: How Agriculture is Managing High-Level Issues

(Agweb.com) Ashley Davenport, April 23

Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California-Davis recently was awarded the 2019 Borlaug Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) award. He talks about what that award means for him, how he started on social media, and greenhouse gas emissions.

https://www.agweb.com/mobile/article/agritalk-how-agriculture-is-managing-high-level-issues/

 

Mechanical Vineyard Pruning Possible Without Replanting

(AgNet West) Brian German, April 23

One of the major concerns regarding mechanical vineyard pruning is the time and cost associated with replanting a vineyard in a manner that would accommodate the process.  However, a report from University of California Cooperative Extension researchers that was published in HortTechnology demonstrates that replanting is not necessary.  Research conducted in Madera County found that growers can mechanize their operations by retraining vines without suffering any fruit loss or decline in quality.

“The trial actually ran for three years,” said Kaan Kurtural, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.  “In the end, there was like no loss in yield even during the conversion years and the quality was actually much better in the mechanically managed plants.”

http://agnetwest.com/mechanical-vineyard-pruning-without-replanting

Is a small farm or ranch your dream? The Beginning Farming Academy is for you!

(Yuba Net) April 23

Is your dream to start a small farm or ranch? Are you ready to get started on your dream? Apply for the Beginning Farming Academy offered by the University of California Cooperative Extension on April 26th and 27th, 2019. The class is held in Auburn and runs from 8 AM to 8 PM on Friday, April 26th, and from 8 AM to 5 PM on Saturday, April 27th. April 23 is the application deadline for the April class.

The Academy is an intensive 2-day introduction to starting a small commercial farm or ranch and will help prospective farmers jumpstart their operations. “Participants will learn to assess their land and resources, research markets, and analyze the potential economic viability of their operation,” says Dan Macon, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor.

https://yubanet.com/regional/is-a-small-farm-or-ranch-your-dream-the-beginning-farming-academy-is-for-you/

 

California's high-value crops, like fruits and nuts, are the ones most vulnerable to climate change

(Fast Company) Larry Buhl, April 22

Agronomy, a peer-reviewed, open access scientific journal, laid out a stark future for California agriculture, predicting it will be vastly different by the end of the century. Led by Tapan Pathak of the University of California, Merced, the research team concluded that almost all of California's crops, together valued at more than $50 billion a year, will be endangered by rising temperatures and unstable weather patterns brought by climate change. The state will face wildly fluctuating precipitation patterns, leading to severe droughts and flooding, warming temperatures, more heat waves, and shorter chill seasons. The researchers wrote that the increased rate and scale of climate change “is beyond the realm of experience for the agricultural community,” and that changes in the state's crop output “would not only translate into national food security issues, but also economic impacts that could disrupt state and national commodity systems.”

https://www.fastcompany.com/90338329/californias-high-value-crops-are-the-ones-most-vulnerable-to-climate-change

 

Michael previews the UCCE Annual Spring Garden Tour

(Fox 26) Stephen Hawkins, April 22

The University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno County Spring Garden Tour & Plant Sale takes place this weekend.

Michael Ikahihifo spent the morning at Garden of the Sun on Earth Day to give us a preview.

https://kmph.com/great-day/michael-in-the-mix/michael-previews-the-ucce-annual-spring-garden-tour

 

California Has Farmers Growing Weeds. Why? To Capture Carbon

(KQED) Lauren Sommer, April 22

…“I think there's great potential for agriculture to play a really important role,” says Kate Scow, professor of soil microbial ecology at UC Davis, of the state's climate goals. She's standing in a large wheat field at Russell Ranch, seven miles west of the campus, where the university plants crops to study sustainable agriculture.

“Soil is alive,” she says. “There's farmers that know that.”

https://www.kqed.org/science/1940561/california-has-farmers-growing-weeds-why-to-capture-carbon

California farmers try new strategy to cut carbon

https://www.npr.org/2019/04/27/717756929/california-farmers-try-new-strategy-to-cut-carbon

 

Mitloehner To Receive CAST Award

(Drovers) Greg Henderson, April 19

Frank Mitloehner has been chosen by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) as 2019 Borlaug CAST Communication Award recipient. A professor and air quality extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis, Mitloehner is the 10th recipient of this award.

“I'm honored to be selected by CAST, an org I've long admired, and to be in the company of so many recipients who have inspired me during my career,” Mitloehner said. “Being recognized with the Borlaug CAST Communication Award is an affirmation of the importance of sharing research and academic pursuits well beyond labs, classrooms and universities.”

https://www.agweb.com/article/mitloehner-to-receive-cast-award/

ANR in the news April 1-18

How One Entomologist Found His Calling as an IPM Facilitator

Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia, UC IPM advisor, was featured in the Entomological Society of America's “Standout ECPs” series, which highlights outstanding early career professionals who are doing great work in the profession.

(Entomology Today) Lina Bernaola, April 18

Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia, Ph.D., is currently an IPM entomology advisor at the University of California Cooperative Extension. He serves the vegetable industry in the Central Coast region of California by conducting applied research on pest management and implementing an extension program for stakeholders.

Alejandro was born and raised in Lima, Peru, where he earned his bachelor's degree in agronomy from La Molina National Agrarian University. Then, he went to Washington State University, where he obtained his master's degree in entomology working on integrated pest management (IPM) in irrigated hybrid poplars. In 2016, he obtained his Ph.D. in entomology at North Carolina State University (NCSU). During his doctoral studies, he worked on proposing management practices for the kudzu bug, an invasive pest of soybeans.

https://entomologytoday.org/2019/04/18/how-entomologist-found-calling-ipm-facilitator-alejandro-del-pozo-valdivia/

 

America's leading animal geneticist wants to talk to you about GMOs

(Pacific Standard) Emily Moon, April 18

At 11 a.m. on a Thursday morning, Alison Van Eenennaam is sitting in a harshly lit lab room, surrounded by her graduate students, talking about cattle sex—sex that, unfortunately, has not gotten anything pregnant. With the gene-editing techniques she's using, there could be many factors to blame: the location in the DNA strand of the edit, the biopsy performed to check the results of the edit, the freezing and the thawing of the embryo, the embryo's journey from lab to farm in a thermos. Now, Van Eenennaam floats another idea. "No foreplay, the poor guy," she says, a cheeky grin on her face. "The candle and the lighting wasn't right."

https://psmag.com/environment/americas-leading-animal-geneticist-wants-to-talk-to-you-about-gmos

 

UCCE Marin Creates Online 'Story Map' Annual Report

(Patch) Susan C. Schena, April 16

The University of California Cooperative Extension team in Novato has created an online "story map" that capsulizes in an interactive way its ongoing programs and key 2018 accomplishments, instead of a written annual report.

https://patch.com/california/novato/ucce-marin-creates-online-story-map-annual-report

An Inviting Summary of UCCE Marin's Exploits
https://postnewsgroup.com/2019/04/18/an-inviting-summary-of-ucce-marins-exploits/

 

Why bees swarm and what you should – or shouldn't – do about them

(San Jose Mercury News) Rebecca Jepsen, April 16

…Last year was a particularly bad year for honey bees. Some bee keepers reported up to a 90 percent loss in their hives in 2018. Causes for this include varroa mite infestations, increased pathogens due to the warm weather, increased use of pesticides and a decrease in diversity of food sources.

So, what can we do about a swarm? “If you leave the bees alone, they will leave you alone.,” said Dr. Elina L. Niño, honey bee expert at UC Davis. “It only takes a few hours or at most a day or two for them to find and settle into their new home.”

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/04/16/why-bees-swarm-and-what-you-should-or-shouldnt-do-about-them/

 

Santa Maria expects big strawberry crop

(The Packer) Carol Lawrence, April 16

…Two of the three top-yielding varieties in production yield studies conducted in Watsonville by the University of California, Davis, include the monterey variety, producing 10,554 cartons per acre, and the san andreas variety, which yielded 10,414 cartons per acre. O'Donnell said the commission has noticed those varieties as well as some proprietary ones from growers.

“We're seeing more fruit per acre from when these fruits are planted,” she said.
A newer variety, the cabrillo, was reported as producing 11,605 cartons per acre in recent tests.

https://www.thepacker.com/article/santa-maria-expects-big-strawberry-crop

 

These California communities could be the next Paradise. Is yours one of them?

(Sacramento Bee) Ryan Sabalow, Phillip Reese and Dale Kasler, April 11

…“There's a lot of Paradises out there,” said Max Moritz, a fire specialist at UC Santa Barbara.

California's state-of-the-art building codes help protect homes from wildfire in the most vulnerable areas, experts say. But the codes only apply to new construction. A bill introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wood would provide cash to help Californians retrofit older homes.

“This will go a long way toward these different municipalities (in showing) that they deserve funding,” Moritz said.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article227589484.html

 

U.C. Davis Animal Science Professor Discusses Agriculture's Contribution to Climate Change

(Cornell Sun) Stacey Blansky, April 11

On Monday afternoon, Prof. Frank Mitloehner, animal science and Air Quality Extension Specialist at the University of California, Davis, discussed the latest research surrounding animal agriculture and its “surprisingly modest” contribution to global greenhouse emissions. Mitloehner pointed at food waste as the largest contributor to environmental damage.

https://cornellsun.com/2019/04/11/u-c-davis-animal-science-professor-discusses-agricultures-contribution-to-climate-change

 

Scientists studying smoke taint as next fire season approaches

(Farm Press) Lee Allen, April 10

…A Los Angeles Times report on the subject put it this way - “Smoke taint rears its head when grapes, kissed by environmental smoke as they're growing, eventually yield a wine with unexpected smoldering flavors…, ‘like drinking from a well-used ashtray,'” using the words of University of California-Davis enology specialist Anita Oberholster. The story noted: “It's a vintner's worst horror movie nightmare - the smoke is coming from inside the grapes.”

Says Oberholster: “Compounds that are responsible for smoke taint are naturally present in grapes at low levels, they add complexity to the wine. Research into the subject is a slow process and to date, I can say there is very little you can do to prevent extracting smoke taint compound from grapes.  We are currently in the process of evaluating different amelioration techniques from finished wines and there is some promise there, but research is still on-going, and I have no data yet.”

https://www.farmprogress.com/grapes/scientists-studying-smoke-taint-next-fire-season-approaches

 

The farmer that saw his budding California tea farm go up in smoke

(San Francisco Chronicle) Jonathan Kauffman, April 8

…What Mike Fritts didn't know in 2010 — what almost everyone had forgotten, in fact — was that the UC Extension Service planted California's first modern test plot of Camellia sinensis in Fresno in the 1960s, when it partnered with Lipton.

Jacquelyn Gervay Hague, a chemist at UC Davis who conducts studies of tea-growing in Taiwan and is active in the university's Global Tea Initiative, said she learned about the plots just a few years ago when the director of UC Extension's Fresno office gave her a call.

“It blew my mind,” Hague says. She pored over the records, which covered 1963 to the early 1980s, when Lipton pulled out of the study. “It was concluded that we could grow tea very well,” she said.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/article/The-farmer-that-saw-his-budding-California-tea-13745160.php

 

Goats are the latest weapons in the war against wildfire

(CNN) Sarah Lazarus, April 8

… Lynn Huntsinger, professor of range ecology and management at the University of California, Berkeley, says that California has seen an increase in "fuel" -- the term fire experts use to describe "dead plants."

Huntsinger, who used to keep goats in the backyard of her Bay Area home, says the fire problem has its roots in history.

In the past, Native Americans lit fires to control the vegetation, she says. These deliberate burns created a landscape of open grasslands, so wildfires were smaller and less frequent.

That changed with the arrival of colonial settlers. They did not understand how "using fire prevented fire," and banned deliberate burns from around the turn of the 20th century, says Huntsinger.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/08/americas/goats-and-wildfires-intl/index.html

 

The Age of Robot Farmers

(The New Yorker) John Seabrook, April 8

…To get an idea of what might be possible, I arranged to visit Professor David Slaughter in his office at the University of California at Davis. Slaughter leads the university's Smart Farm Initiative, which explores how future farmers might employ emerging technologies. Drones, for example, can automate the inspection of fields for pest or weed outbreaks, and can use high-resolution cameras and algorithmic processing of the images to pick up incipient problems before a farmer or a hired hand might spot them. Another possible application is plant breeding. Breeders currently rely on humans to evaluate seedlings produced by new combinations of already existing varieties.

…If the future of fruit-and-vegetable farming is automation, farmers will not only need the machines, and the funds to afford them, they will also require a new class of skilled farm workers who can debug the harvesters when something goes wrong. Mary Lou de Leon Siantz, a colleague of David Slaughter's at the University of California at Davis, is trying to ensure that domestic farmworkers' children have the STEM skills to compete for those jobs. De Leon Siantz is the daughter of Mexican immigrants; she has a Ph.D. in human development and focusses on migrant health in her research. She hopes to use existing Head Start and 4-H programs to teach math and engineering.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/15/the-age-of-robot-farmers

 

Regional sustainable groundwater management forum hosted in Corning

(Red Bluff Daily News) Julie Zeeb, April 5

Tehama and Butte counties teamed up Friday to host a Northern Sacramento Valley forum on sustainable groundwater held at Rolling Hills Casino.

The event was a collaboration between the Tehama County UC Cooperative Extension and Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation.

Allan Fulton, a Tehama County farm advisor, served as moderator.

“We're four years into Sustainable Groundwater Management Act that went into affect Jan. 1, 2015,” Fulton said. “There's been a lot of organizing (of groundwater management agencies). Now the governance structure and planning is underway. This venue is perfect for people to learn about the act and what is going on locally. It's a chance to see, as landowners and water operators, how to engage in the process and give feedback on what they think about it.”

https://www.redbluffdailynews.com/2019/04/05/regional-sustainable-groundwater-management-forum-hosted-in-corning/

 

The worst fire in California history illuminates fire preparation needs

(Yuba Net) April 5, 2019

Four months have passed since the Camp Fire, the worst wildfire in California history, ravaged bucolic communities in the Butte County foothills, including Paradise, Concow, Butte Creek Canyon, Cherokee, Yankee Hill and Magalia. Eighty-five people died, many of them elderly and unable to safely evacuate from an area where a wind-driven fire raced from home to home.

The unspeakable loss of human life and the serious challenges being faced by survivors has dominated the Camp Fire conversation. Now, UC Cooperative Extension is beginning a dialog with many agencies involved to understand how such tragedies can be prevented in the future.

https://yubanet.com/regional/the-worst-fire-in-california-history-illuminates-fire-preparation-needs

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/18122-uc-anr-the-worst-fire-in-california-history-illuminates-fire-preparation-needs

 

UC course helps landowners track water use

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, April 5

On a recent morning, Jim Edwards and about 70 of his fellow farmers and ranchers from Northern California went back to school. Each was handed a binder full of worksheets as they embarked on a three-hour course to learn how to measure and report their own water diversions – a state requirement now for landowners with rights to draw water from a river or stream.

There were lectures by University of California Cooperative Extension advisors and were even quizzes at the end of each unit so the landowners could demonstrate what they'd learned about open-ditch flow readings, measuring weirs, in-pipe flow meters, the calibration and accuracy of measuring devices, and measuring reservoir diversion quantities.

“I think it's great,” said Edwards, who takes water from Antelope Creek near Red Bluff to raise cattle, orchards and hay.

… “I think this is a good crash course to get people to understand flow measurements and what is required of them to report,” says Khaled Bali, a UCCE irrigation specialist who helps lead a course unit on device accuracy.

https://www.farmprogress.com/extension/uc-course-helps-landowners-track-water-use

 

DIY with classes at the UC Cooperative Extension in gardening and food preservation 

(New Times SLO) Camillia Lanham, April 4

A soft-hued planter full of pale gray-greens and purple flowers waits just through the gate of the Garden of the Seven Sisters off Sierra Way. Those winter colors will soon be replaced by flora made just for spring. This "curbside garden" is the first of 15 demonstration plots manned by Master Gardener Program volunteers at the UC Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo.

If you're a newbie like I am—or an oldie looking for some new tricks—the UC Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo County has got something just for you. Whether you're trying to figure out what to do with all of that extra produce on your kitchen counter or trying to decide exactly what to plant and when, there's probably a class for that either through the extension's Master Gardener Program or Master Food Preserver Program. You can become certified as a master and volunteer for either program or both programs, or you can dabble with a class here or there.

https://www.newtimesslo.com/sanluisobispo/diy-with-classes-at-the-uc-cooperative-extension-in-gardening-and-food-preservation/Content?oid=8169737

 

Backyard chickens hit hard by a long-gone, extremely contagious disease

(New Food Economy) Tove Danovich, April 4

In California, backyard birds are in lockdown. County fairs are canceling their poultry shows. Veterinary hospitals aren't accepting chicken appointments. Local 4-H leaders are telling chicken owners to keep their birds sequestered. Some poultry breeders are even worried their birds will need to be euthanized.

… There are approximately 100,000 backyard flocks in California according to Maurice Pitesky, Cooperative Extension poultry specialist with the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. “They don't focus so much on biosecurity, which is just a fancy word for disease prevention,” he says. Backyard poultry owners regularly mock the CDC's advice to avoid snuggling or kissing their chickens, but that's not the worst of it: 25 percent of urban poultry owners reported not even washing hands after handling their birds.

https://newfoodeconomy.org/virulent-newcastle-disease-poultry-backyard-chicken-coops

 

Dr. Monica Cooper to be honored at ASEV in Napa June 19

Monica Cooper

(Napa Valley Register) April 4

Dr. Monica Cooper, farm adviser of UC Cooperative Extension, Napa Valley, is the recipient of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture's (ASEV) Extension Distinction Award for 2019.

Cooper will receive the award at the 70th ASEV National Conference on June 19 in Napa, where she will be presenting, “Building Effective Extension Networks to Support Data-Driven Decision Making.”

https://napavalleyregister.com/wine/dr-monica-cooper-to-be-honored-at-asev-in-napa/article_3a1f97b4-9735-56a8-b89c-c98f0e1acbb3.html

 

It Wasn't Just the Soda Tax That Dropped Berkeley Soda Sales by 52 Percent

(The Inverse) Emma Betuel, April 3

University of California, Berkeley professor Sofia Villas-Boas, Ph.D., and Ph.D. candidate Scott Kaplan show in the new paper that soda purchases fell between 10 and 20 percent on Berkeley's campus directly after the soda tax was passed but before the prices officially increased in 2015. They also used Nielsen data to show a similar pattern: soda purchases at local stores decreased by 10.8 percent even before the higher prices went into effect.

“The election outcome caused a 10-20% reduction in sales of regular soda beverages before consumers faced higher prices anywhere, on campus or in stores off-campus,” Kaplan tells Inverse, “This suggests that you might not witness these types of effects if a sugar-sweetened beverage (or soda) tax was implemented without a preceding campaign and public vote.”

https://www.inverse.com/article/54577-soda-taxes-and-changing-social-norms

 

UC IGIS to host DroneCamp 2019 in Monterey

(Santa Cruz Tech Beat) Sara Isenberg, April 2

The Informatics and GIS Program (IGIS) of University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is pleased to host the second offering of DroneCamp. This three-day intensive workshop covers everything you need to know to use drones for mapping, research, and land management, including…

http://www.santacruztechbeat.com/2019/04/02/uc-igis-to-host-dronecamp-2019-in-monterey/?fbclid=IwAR2K9bo4twJ7wJIsieWfjOMJUIdQqb9VyQHzaichB8DAfJVKBOM5jeSWzi4

 

Tiny whiteflies seem to be bugging people across the Central Coast, but why are there so many this year?

(KSBY) Megan Healy, April 1

A master gardener from the SLO University of California Cooperative Extension says dozens of people from south SLO County called asking why there are so many.

“It's probably a reflection of the increasing temperatures coming on top of all that nice water we have had, so we have had a flush of vegetation and the flies that came from eggs originally have just all hopped out,” said Cathryn Howarth, a master gardener a the SLO County UC Cooperative Extension.

According to the UC Agricultural and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, signs of whitefly manifestation include…

https://ksby.com/news/2019/04/01/tiny-whiteflies-seem-to-be-bugging-people-across-the-central-coast-but-why-are-there-so-many-this-year

 

Inside the race to build the burger of the future

(Politico) Michael Grunwald, April 1

…Conglomerates like Walmart, McDonald's and General Mills have been setting emissions reduction targets for their suppliers, which will ratchet up pressure on farmers and ranchers to green their operations. But at a time when they're already getting squeezed by a handful of giant agribusinesses that process their animals, as well as the economic fallout from President Donald Trump's trade wars, they're hoping for government incentives to reduce their emissions. Frank Mitloehner, a professor of animal agriculture at the University of California-Davis, believes farmers and ranchers deserve to be paid for their ecological services—and recently said so to an Ocasio-Cortez staffer. For example, California is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help them manage their manure in cleaner ways, which makes more sense to Mitloehner than demonizing them for the messes they make while putting food on people's tables. Many of them are conservative Republicans who deny climate science, but they're also pragmatic businesspeople—Mitloehner says they could store tremendous amounts of carbon on their lands if the price and the politics were right.

“Politically, farmers tend toward the Trump camp, and when they hear all this finger-pointing about farting cows, they just shut down,” Mitloehner says. “It troubles me, because I know how urgent this climate discussion is.”

… “There's such an enormous opportunity to reduce emissions in meat production, if you didn't hear all this counterproductive talk about how everything about it is terrible,” says Mitloehner, the Cal-Davis agricultural scientist. “Let's not alienate the people we need the most on our quest for a climate solution.”

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/04/01/meat-politics-226342

ANR in the news March 13-28

New Series of Nitrogen Management Advice Available

(Cal Ag Today) March 28

California growers can download a new series of publications summarizing efficient nitrogen management practices from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. The publications are designed to assist growers in complying with state regulations for tracking and reporting nitrogen fertilizer applied to crops, in an effort to prevent nitrogen from leaching into groundwater.

https://californiaagtoday.com/new-series-of-nitrogen-management-advice-available

 

UC helps growers comply with new regulations

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, March 27

A few months ago, while I was working with Todd Fitchette on a special package we were doing (or, he was doing and I was pitching in on) that focused on the 50th anniversary of the Citrus Research Board, I wrote a column about the benefits of land-grant universities such as the University of California (UC).

It's not an overstatement, I wrote, that the vast network of UC Cooperative Extension offices and research facilities has enabled agriculture in the Golden State to survive amid daunting challenges.

https://www.farmprogress.com/commentary/uc-helps-growers-comply-new-regulations

 

Communities come together to reforest Middletown Trailside Park

(Record Bee) Lucy Llewellyn Byard, March 27 

Outdoorsman Greg Gusti, a University of California cooperative extension director emeritus who specializes in forests and wild lands ecology, addressed the crowd and gave them instructions on how to plant the trees 20 feet apart; showed them what 20 feet looked like on a tape measure, told them to plant the green side up and to keep the roots straight.

… Students dug in groups, sharing shovels and gloves. Sofie Hall and Elissa Holyoke worked with Michael Jones, a UC Cooperative Extension Forestry Advisor to plant their saplings.

https://www.record-bee.com/2019/03/27/communities-come-together-to-reforest-middletown-trailside-park

 

The science and politics of genetically engineered salmon: 5 questions answered

(The Conversation) Alison Van Eenennaam, March 27

A Massachusetts-based company earlier this month cleared the last regulatory hurdle from the Food and Drug Administration to sell genetically engineered salmon in the U.S. Animal genomics expert Alison Van Eenennaam, who served on an advisory committee to the FDA to evaluate the AquAdvantage salmon, explains the significance of the FDA's move and why some have criticized its decision.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/The-science-and-politics-of-genetically-13719679.php

 

Students learn about insects at Farm Day in the City

(ABC 23) Amanda Mason, March 26

David Haviland, UCCE advisor in Kern County, taught students about good bugs and bad bugs at Farm Day in the City.

"Every single insect plays a role, even if it's only purpose is to get eaten by something. Everything is important," said Haviland.

David Haviland an entomologist at the University of California's Extension who studies insects and helps farmers manage agricultural pests, spent Tuesday at the Kern County Fairgrounds teaching students about good bugs and bad bugs at Farm Day in the City.

https://www.turnto23.com/homepage-showcase/students-learn-about-insects-at-farm-day-in-the-city

 

Expert: Speak up now about agriculture's carbon footprint

(Leader Telegram) Brooke Bechen, March 25

Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a professor and air quality extension specialist in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California-Davis, isn't afraid to speak up, particularly on Twitter where he writes under the handle @GHGGuru. He sees 2.5 million people visiting his Twitter account each month, which provides accurate information on air emissions and busts myths distributed by those looking to attack animal agriculture.

“Being in California is like being at Ground Zero,” he said. “There are urban centers of people who think they're food experts, but most of these people have never set foot on a farm and don't know anything about agriculture.

https://www.leadertelegram.com/country-today/farm/expert-speak-up-now-about-agriculture-s-carbon-footprint/article_888717c3-9cae-58c1-b004-e245cc7e2dc4.html

 

Wildfire Speaker Series Tonight: Fire Resistant Homes & Defensible Space

(YubaNet) March 25

…Dr. Kate Wilkin is the new Forest and Fire Adviser with UC Cooperative Extension in Butte, Nevada, Sutter, and Yuba Counties. She recently moved here from Berkeley, CA where she was postdoctoral researcher focused on wildfire emissions and fire-forest-water relations. Her PhD, also at UC Berkeley, focused on the efficacy of fuel treatments in Northern California shrublands to reduce fire hazards and on mixed conifer forest-fire-water and fire-biodiversity relations. Before moving to California, Kate grew up in rural Appalachia and then explored other fire-prone regions of the US as a natural resource manager and prescribed fire burner on public and nonprofit lands. Based on these experiences and more, she knows that we need to use solutions responsibly, both old and new, to solve our forest health crisis. Kate will be focusing on incorporating fire safe concepts into residential landscaping.

https://yubanet.com/regional/wildfire-speaker-series-tonight-fire-resistant-homes-defensible-space

 

UC Cooperative offers water-measurement class

(David Enterprise) March 25

California water rights holders are required by state law to measure and report the water they divert from surface streams. For people who wish to take the water measurements themselves, the University of California Cooperative Extension is offering training to receive certification April 4 in Redding and Woodland.

 https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/press-release/uc-cooperative-offers-water-measurement-class

Costa Mesa designates April as Coyote Awareness Month and approves further informational efforts to manage them

(Los Angeles Times) Luke Money, March 20

…In the past 30 days, about 20 coyote sightings or encounters in Costa Mesa were logged with Coyote Cacher, an online reporting system [created by Niamh Quinn, UCCE advisor, and IGIS].
https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-cm-coyote-plan-20190320-story.html

 

UCCE Biologicals Conference Introduces New Crop Protection Tools for Growers

(Vegetables West) Matthew Malcolm, March 19, 2019

Biocontrol agents, beneficial microbes, entomopathogenic fungi and bacteria that can enhance crop production — these were all topics of discussion at the recent UC Cooperative Extension Ag Innovations Conference in Santa Maria, led by UCCE Entomology & Biologicals Advisor Surendra Dara.  Watch this brief interview with Surendra as he shares more about what was discussed.

https://vegetableswest.com/2019/03/19/ucce-biologicals-conference-introduces-new-crop-protection-tools-for-growers

 

Landowners aim to fight fire with fire

(Benito Link) Blaire Strohn, March 19, 2019

The 2018 wildfire season in California was devastating, which left local landowners to consider how future blazes can be prevented. Their solution: more fire.

On March 14, The San Benito Working Landscapes Group and the UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) hosted a meeting to discuss prescribed burning on San Benito County rangelands.

…UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor Devii Rao said the meeting also looked at Cal Fire funding and prescribed burn associations. She mentioned that last year former Gov. Jerry Brown signed two pieces of legislation related to prescribed burning:

Senate Bill 901 provides Cal Fire $1 billion for forest health, fuel load, and prescribed burns over five years, including $35 million a year for prescribed fire and other reduction projects.

Senate Bill 1260 requires Cal Fire to collaborate with public and private landowners on prescribed burns. They must also create a program for pre-certification for a “burn boss,” a private contractor that has experience in prescribed burning.

…In June, Rao will co-host a meeting with Lenya Quinn-Davidson and Jeff Stackhouse from UCCE Humboldt County. The meeting is expected to focus on how to develop a prescribed burn association, in addition to a small burn demonstration on a local private ranch.

https://benitolink.com/news/landowners-aim-fight-fire-fire

 

A More Humane Livestock Industry, Brought to You By Crispr

(Wired) Gregory Barber, March 19

Hopes were running high for cow 401, and cow 401 serenely bore the weight of expectations. She entered the cattle chute obligingly, and as the vet searched her uterus, making full use of the plastic glove that covered his arm up to his shoulder, she uttered nary a moo. A week ago, Cow 401 and four other members of her experimental herd at UC Davis were in the early stages of pregnancy. But now, following a string of disappointing checkups, it was all down to her. Alison Van Eenennaam, the animal geneticist in charge of the proceedings, kept watch from off to one side, galoshes firmly planted in the damp manure, eyes fixed on a portable ultrasound monitor. After a few moments, the vet delivered his fifth and final diagnosis. “She's not pregnant,” he said. Van Eenennaam looked up. “Ah, shit,” she muttered.

https://www.wired.com/story/crispr-gene-editing-humane-livestock

 

Climate change is hurting migrating waterbirds across the West. It could get worse

(Sacramento Bee) Andrew Sheeler, March 18

…Some birds, like the black-necked stilt and the sandhill crane, which breed early in the season, have thrived in the warming climate, said Mohammad Safeeq, a hydrologist with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and an adjunct professor at UC Merced.

But others suffer. That includes the killdeer, the Wilson's snipe, the black tern, and the western and Clark's grebe.

“We have looked at 14 species and among eight open-water and shoreline foraging species that have undergone significant population declines, five were negatively associated with temperature increases,” Safeeq said in an email interview.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article227983859.html

 

Group seeks healthy, resilient forests and communities

(Plumas News) March 18

…A public workshop was held at the Quincy Library on Jan. 15th. Presenter Jeff Stackhouse, the Livestock and Natural Resources advisor for the U.C. Cooperative Extension in Humboldt, presents case studies from the prescribed burn association.

http://www.plumasnews.com/group-seeks-healthy-resilient-forests-and-communities

 

US researchers moving abroad to avoid FDA's CRISPR-edited animal regulations

(Genetic Literacy Project) Cameron English, Alison Van Eenennaam, March 14

One day soon, farmers may be able to raise food animals immune to deadly diseases and spare them painful but necessary procedures like horn removal. These innovations, made possible by CRISPR and other gene-editing techniques, could cut the cost of food production, reduce antibiotic use in agriculture and dramatically improve animal welfare. But federal regulation may very well stifle these developments in the US.

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a plan to regulate gene-edited animals as veterinary drugs under the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, because their DNA is “intentionally altered.” The proposal has drawn harsh criticism from animal scientists, some of whom are packing up their labs and leaving the US to avoid the FDA's rules. Food animals, these experts say, should be regulated based on the risk they pose to human health, not the breeding method that produced them.

https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2019/03/14/us-researchers-moving-abroad-to-avoid-fdas-crispr-edited-animal-regulations

 

Corky Anderson's energy, innovation helped save California's pistachio industry

(Bakersfield Californian) Steven E. Mayer, March 13

"Corky was an important player in the early pistachio industry," said  a Kern County farm adviser with the UC Cooperative Extension who specializes in citrus and pistachios.

"And he was a great cooperator," Kallsen said. "He allowed lots of test trials on his properties."

… In 1980, Anderson and Puryear's first patented rootstock changed the industry, said Kevin Blackwell, general manager of Pioneer Nursery, the wholesale business founded by the two entrepreneurs.

 "In our heyday, we were selling a million trees a year," said Blackwell, who said he has known Anderson for 47 years.

No one does it alone, Kallsen noted. Anderson built and refined his patented rootstock based on earlier research by the University of California. 

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/corky-anderson-s-energy-innovation-helped-save-california-s-pistachio/article_51dff8d4-46a7-11e9-b960-b3bf5d47742f.html

 

Farmers protect crops in rain's aftermath

(Ag Alert) Ching Lee, March 13

Franz Niederholzer, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties, said though cold weather does reduce the risk of most fungal diseases, other problems such as bacterial blast and jacket rot—also a fungal disease—are more prevalent during cool weather.

Cooler weather, however, does help to extend the bloom, he said. That allows farmers more time to apply fungicide, which is recommended at the beginning of bloom and again at full bloom, he said.

Brent Holtz, UCCE farm advisor in San Joaquin County, said he hasn't seen too many problems with fungal diseases at this point, because of how cool it's been, but there have been more incidents of bacterial blast, which can infect trees under stress. In orchards with high nematode populations, the bacteria can enter wounds on the surface of the plants created by frost, he noted.

"It blights the blossoms, and if the blossom is dead, they don't produce fruit," Holtz said.

 http://agalert.com/story/?id=12801

 

Michael learns about 4-H in Fresno County

(KMPH) Stephen Hawkins, March 13, 2019

The 4-H Youth Development Program is preparing for events all over the Central Valley and you are invited.

Michael Ikahihifo spent the morning at Dry Creek Park in Clovis to see what the local 4-H has planned.

https://kmph.com/great-day/michael-in-the-mix/michael-learns-about-4-h-in-fresno-county

 

The City of Cypress calls for its residents to be “Coyote Aware”

(OC Breeze) March 13

The Cypress City Council recently adopted a coyote management plan to address community concerns about the presence of coyotes in Cypress. While coyotes are generally reclusive animals who avoid human contact, it is important to be aware of their presence and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of your property and pets.

…Residents are encouraged to reportcoyote activity on Coyote Cacher:

ucanr.edu/sites/CoyoteCacher/

Coyote Cacher allows the City to monitor all reported encounters.
Residents can also use Coyote Cacher to view a map of reported
encounters and sign up to receive email alerts.

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2019/03/13/136176_the-city-of-cypress-calls-for-its-residents-to-be-coyote-aware

 

California's super bloom attracts swarms of migrating butterflies

(CNN) David Williams, March 13

"I saw more butterflies in the last 10 minutes than I've seen my entire life," Jason Suppes of UC South Coast REC wrote on Twitter.

This year's wildflower super bloom is not only filling California deserts with eye-popping displays of color -- it's also providing a feast for swarms of painted lady butterflies making their way north from Mexico.

"This is the biggest outbreak since 2005," said Art Shapiro, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who's been studying the migration of butterflies in the state since 1972.

…"I saw more butterflies in the last 10 minutes than I've seen my entire life," Jason Suppes wrote Tuesday on Twitter. Suppes is an education specialist at an agricultural research facility in Irvine.

http://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/california-butterflies-trnd/index.html

 

Grape growers continue push to mechanize

(Western Farm Press) Lee Allen, March 13

…In Fresno, growers affiliated with the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association met to discuss the latest UC research on incidents of disease and machine injury to trunks and rootstock.

… “Growers are having a hard time finding workers to maintain their vineyards and increasing labor costs are challenging grape-farming's economic sustainability,” says UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor George Zhuang.  “We're studying the use of machines to reduce the number of people needed to perform tasks like pruning.

“Because canopy architecture and yield characteristics involving mechanically-pruned vines are much different from those that are hand-pruned, water and fertilizer requirements for the mechanically pruned vines can be quite different. Performance of different rootstocks in mechanical pruning systems is critical for both yield and fruit quality of grape production in the San Joaquin Valley.”

…Kaan Kurtural, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist in the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Department, whose research involves improving vineyard production efficiency through canopy and crop load management via mechanization, says the case for switching out hand labor with machines gets stronger with growers using such mechanization for pruning, suckering, and removing shoots and leaves.

“Mechanical pruning can produce more stable year-to-year fruit yields of better quality than traditional and more costly hand pruning spurs or canes.” His comments were based on a Kern County two-year research trial looking for ways for growers to reduce both cost and water use.

https://www.farmprogress.com/grapes/grape-growers-continue-push-mechanize

 

As Wildfires Devour Communities, Toxic Threats Emerge

(Reuters) Sharon Bernstein, March 13

At U.C. Davis, where researchers are studying eggs from backyard chickens that may have breathed smoke and pecked at ash in areas affected by wildfires, the work is complicated.

"In an urban fire you're dealing with contaminants that don't go away – arsenic, heavy metals, copper, lead, transformer fluid, brake fluid, fire retardant," said veterinarian Maurice Pitesky, who is leading the study.
https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2019-03-13/as-wildfires-devour-communities-toxic-threats-emerge

 

DR. GLENDA HUMISTON: Managing our Lands to Manage our Water

Maven's Notebook, March 13, 2019

Dr. Glenda Humiston is Vice President of Agriculture & Natural Resources for the University of California. At the 2019 California Irrigation Institute conference, Dr. Humiston was the opening keynote speaker, and in her speech, she talked about work being done to address drought vulnerability, the importance of managing watersheds, the goals of the California Economic Summit, and the promising future of biomass.

She began by saying that we have known for a long time that water insecurity is a huge issue, and not just due to climate change or droughts; it's also policy, regulations, allocations and technology – there are a lot of issues and managing the effects of it are very challenging.

 https://mavensnotebook.com/2019/03/13/dr-glenda-humiston-managing-our-lands-to-manage-our-water/

 

Hearing planned to examine the future of development in California's most fire prone regions

(Lake County News) March 13

…The hearing, led by Senators Henry Stern and Mike McGuire, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, respectively, titled “Living Resiliently in the New Abnormal: The Future of Development in California's Most Fire Prone Regions” will be held Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the State Capitol in Room 4203. 

…Testifying at the hearing are:
· Mark Ghilarducci, director, California Office of Emergency Services;
· Bob Fenton, regional administrator, FEMA Region 9;
· Dr. Max Moritz, statewide wildfire specialist, University of California Cooperative Extension;
· Jeff Lambert, director of planning, city of Oxnard, past president, American Planning Association, California Chapter;
· Chief Kate Dargan, California State Fire Marshal (retired), Cal Fire;
· Chief Ken Pimlott, director (retired), Cal Fire;
· Scott Lotter, former mayor, city of Paradise;
· Tim Snellings, planning director, Butte County;
· Chief Michael McLaughlin, Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department;
· Ty Bailey, California Professional Firefighters, president, Sacramento Area Firefighters, Local 522, fire captain, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/17849-hearing-held-today-wednesday-will-examine-the-future-of-development-in-california-s-most-fire-prone-regions

ANR in the news March 1-11

Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, explores innovative options to control pests using microbials as biological controls.

Western Innovator: Putting biologicals to work

(Capital Press) Padma Nagappan, March 11

Early in life, Surendra Dara decided that no matter which field he chose, he needed to make an impact on it. Always interested in science, he chose agriculture and specialized in entomology.

“It attracted me because it dealt with arthropods and there are a lot of physiological similarities to the human world,” Dara said. “It was also critical for growing food and feeding humans.”

Dara is now an entomopathologist with the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources in San Luis Obispo, and has an established reputation for exploring innovative options to control pests using microbials as biological controls, and showing growers how they can also help with plant growth, drought resistance and fighting diseases.

https://www.capitalpress.com/ag_sectors/research/western-innovator-putting-biologicals-to-work/article_8c651204-41f3-11e9-b34b-bf15d317bffd.html

 

Group linked to Ocasio-Cortez seeks ag input after Green New Deal backlash

(Politico) Helena Bottemiller Evich, March 11

After watching that drama unfold, Frank Mitloehner, a leading scientist on agricultural emissions at the University of California, Davis, was thrilled when two outreach staff affiliated with AOC's network reached out to set up a call to discuss the potential for climate mitigation efforts in agriculture. The call, held earlier this month, lasted more than an hour, Mitloehner said.

“I was very glad to inform of what I know, and they were very receptive to it,” Mitloehner said on Agri-Talk last week. During the segment, he urged agricultural producers to not dismiss the left-wing climate effort.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/11/aoc-linked-group-seeks-ag-input-after-green-new-deal-backlash-1252568

 

Sudden surge in an unusual crime in Fresno County: Goat theft

(LA Times) Hannah Fry, March 11, 2019

…Picquette's two sons have been raising goats for the last five years as a 4-H project. Losing their animals has been especially hard for the boys, Picquette said, adding that they had planned to use money won during competitions to pay for college.

“They feel very violated. They don't understand how somebody could just come and take something they worked so hard for,” she said. “The bond we have with the goats is incredible. I'm just heartbroken. I don't know if they're scared or hungry. … They've always been treated so well.”

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-fresno-goat-theft-20190311-story.html

 

California's ambitious plan to stop deadly wildfires may not be enough, experts say

(SF Chronicle) Kurtis Alexander, March 9

… “It's not fair to say that fuel treatments won't do any good,” said Max Moritz, a UC Cooperative Extension wildfire specialist at UC Santa Barbara. “It may provide some protection in some places. But most of us studying this agree that you can't just do this and (expect to) make much headway.”

The plan by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, comes at the request of Gov. Gavin Newsom. On his second day in office, Newsom asked the agency to develop a proposal to address the increasingly destructive fire seasons that have rattled the state and are expected to worsen with climate change.

…In the meantime, many researchers say the most effective approach to fire protection is not in the forests, but in communities. They recommend making homes more resistant to fire with hardier construction materials, and clearing the vegetation around them.

“You have to address the home vulnerabilities themselves,” said Moritz at UC Santa Barbara. “If you don't, you're just not going to make a lot of progress on fire.”

https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/California-s-ambitious-plan-to-stop-deadly-13675194.php

 

After more than 140 years, a massive fig tree gracing the plaza where Los Angeles was founded collapses

(LA Times) Matthew Ormseth, March 9

… The four figs were planted at El Pueblo by agriculturalist and City Councilman Elijah Hook Workman, KCET reported in 2013. The Ficus macrophylla was brought from Australia to Southern California in the 1860s and 1870s, probably to provide shade and ornamentation, said Donald Hodel, a horticulture advisor for the University of California's Cooperative Extension.

Hodel described the Moreton Bay fig as a commanding breed of tree with an enveloping canopy that threw plenty of shade.

His reasons for admiring the Moreton Bay fig: “Their grandeur; their size — they have an imposing habit; their root structure is incredible; the spreading nature of their branches.”

Hodel said he last saw the El Pueblo figs about six years ago.

“I wasn't too impressed by their health or their size, considering they're 140-something years old,” he said.

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-pueblo-tree-falls-20190309-story.html

 

California's 2018 Was the Worst Ever Recorded for Wildfires

(Gizmodo) Tom McKay, March 9

University of California, Santa Barbara UC Cooperative Extension wildfire researcher Max Moritiz told the Chronicle, “It's not fair to say that fuel treatments won't do any good. It may provide some protection in some places. But most of us studying this agree that you can't just do this and (expect to) make much headway.”

https://earther.gizmodo.com/californias-2018-was-the-worst-ever-recorded-for-wildfi-1833180368

 

4-H leader who taught lost Benbow girls outdoor skills being flown to Washington, DC for recognition

Kym Kemp, March 7

When Leia Carrico, age 8, and her sister, Caroline, age 5, disappeared into the woods around their home near Benbow on March 1, the whole nation held its breath for the next 44 hours until they were found. But, though their 4-H leaders were worried, too, they say they also knew the girls had something many other children don't–they had survival skills from a class taught by their Outdoor Adventures 4-H project leader, Justin Lehnert.

Lehnert is being honored in Washington, DC, on Tuesday for his role in teaching Leia and Caroline outdoor skills.

http://kymkemp.com/2019/03/07/4-h-leader-who-taught-lost-benbow-girls-outdoor-skills-being-flown-to-washington-dc-for-recognition

 

Researchers highlight plan to eat healthy on a budget

(Consumer Affairs) Kristen Dalli, March 7

Following a healthy diet can come with a hefty price tag, but a team of researchers has outlined a way for consumers to stick to a healthy diet -- and also stick to their budgets.

According to the team, consumers -- and their families -- can have healthy meals if they focus on buying items in bulk and planning meals in advance.

“This study determines the likelihood that families living in low-income households could create meals that meet the USDA dietary guidelines presented in MyPlate nutrition education materials,” said researcher Karen M. Jetter, PhD. “In addition to food cost, the other factors considered were access to stores, time for meal preparation, and whether the menus included culturally appropriate foods.”

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/researchers-highlight-plan-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget-030719.html

Healthy eating is possible on a limited budget, study shows

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190307/Healthy-eating-is-possible-on-a-limited-budget-study-shows.aspx

Study: Eating healthy on a budget is possible

https://www.upi.com/Study-Eating-healthy-on-a-budget-is-possible/9951551904010/

Eating Healthy Is Possible on a Small Budget, Says Study

https://www.askmen.com/news/sports/eating-healthy-is-possible-on-a-small-budget-says-study.html

 

Sorry, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but “farting cows” aren't the problem

(New Food Economy) Sam Bloch, March 7

…As it turns out, neither side was accurate. Republicans are likely to continue linking Green New Deal priorities to a supposed hamburger ban. But if you don't hear about cow farts anymore from AOC, it may not be because of GOP criticism. Frank Mitloehner, an animal scientist and air quality specialist at the University of California, Davis, insists cattle flatulence isn't the problem it's made out to be, and says he helped set the record straight.

Here's what seems to have happened. On February 4, shortly before Ocasio-Cortez announced the Green New Deal, she was speaking to school children in Queens, New York. When one asked how they could “combat” climate change, Ocasio-Cortez offered two practical options—stop using disposable razors, and skip meat and dairy for one meal.

Mitloehner tweeted at her.

“Dear @AOC: we all try to help the climate,” he wrote. “However, the two options you offered have low impacts compared to the 800lb gorilla, which is to reduce fossil fuel use. About ⅔ of greenhouse gas emissions in the US stem from transport and energy prod&use. Meat/milk = 4 % of total GHG,” referring to findings in a recent EPA report.

… “I give her team a lot of credit for reaching out,” Mitloehner says. “If we really are serious about making a difference in carbon emissions, you cannot do this without agriculture involved.”

https://newfoodeconomy.org/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-green-new-deal-livestock-cow-greenhouse-gas-emissions-climate-change

 

California supplies a quarter of the world's sunflower seeds

(Capital Press) Padma Nagappan, March 7

…Khaled Bali is a University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources statewide water and irrigation specialist who has been working since 2016 on a four-year trial on sunflower varieties.

He was asked by the University of Georgia to help ascertain which varieties were drought resistant. He chose to conduct his trial in the low desert region of the Imperial Valley, since it gets little rain during the growing season between February when it's planted, and June when it's harvested. This would make it easier to control and measure the actual water applied to the crop varieties.

“We're looking at 285 varieties of sunflowers, to see which ones do well under stress,” Bali said. He has tested different plantings each growing season for the past three years, and will finish the trial this year.

https://www.capitalpress.com/specialsections/seed/california-supplies-a-quarter-of-the-world-s-sunflower-seeds/article_07f424e6-3079-11e9-97b7-b7d9fc02b12a.html

https://plantingseedsblog.cdfa.ca.gov/wordpress/?p=17375

 

Livestream coverage of fire protection panel discussion in Nevada City

 (Sierra Sun) March 7

…Following the films, the community is invited to join an ongoing conversation around the new reality of living with fire in the wildland urban interface. Panelists represent a diverse cross-section of the wildfire prevention community including: Cal Fire, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, Nevada County Resource Conservation District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Tahoe National Forest and University of California Cooperative Extension. The panel discussion will be moderated by YubaNet Co-founder Pascale Fusshoeller. [Kate Wilkin, UCCE fire advisor, participates on the panel in the last hour of the video.]

https://www.sierrasun.com/news/livestream-coverage-of-fire-protection-panel-discussion-in-nevada-city 

 

Bees, blooms off to slow start

(Western Farm Press) Logan Hawkes, March 6

…This year, almond bloom started around a normal time, with some early varieties showing a few open flowers in the first week of February,” reported Franz Niederholzer, UCCE farm advisor for Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba Counties. “For most of the month bloom progressed very slowly,”

By the middle of February, he says, “bloom for Nonpareil was at least two weeks behind, and bee hours were limited until the last week of the month. Last year, between Feb 1-20, we accumulated 130 bee hours of good honey bee flying weather [55 F., no rain, and wind less than 10 mph]. For the same interval this year, we had around 10 hours and only six of those occurred with open flowers in the orchard.”

On the positive side of the slow start, Niederholzer says, the colder weather tends to suppress activity of key bloom diseases such as blossom brown rot and anthracnose. “However, cold weather at bloom was conducive to blossom blast (pseudomonas) bacteria, and some growers were considering adding materials to their normal bloom fungicides with bactericide activity.”

https://www.farmprogress.com/tree-nuts/bees-blooms-slow-start

 

Wet winter aids groundwater replenishment

(Ag Alert) Christine Souza, March 6

… Helen Dahlke, a hydrology expert and professor with the University of California, Davis, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, has been working with farmers, studying on-farm groundwater recharge locations and suitability for various crops.

"In many regions, we can definitely do more actively recharging our groundwater aquifers," said Dahlke, who currently has trials on alfalfa at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center. "It really depends on what region, how much surface water is available for recharge, what kind of sediment structure or hydrogeology we have underneath and whether it's suited for conveying large amounts quickly."

Despite abundant precipitation in recent weeks, she said the timing is not the best for studying impact of recharge on certain crops.

"We prefer on-farm recharge to happen in January and February, just because that is considered the dormancy season for most crops," Dahlke said. "With almond trees already blooming, often there is a greater risk of applying water on those crops."

She said recent precipitation has helped groundwater recharge overall, but there is "very little way of estimating how much it is helping."

http://www.agalert.com/story/?id=12797

 

Drip irrigation improves yields of Imperial sugar beets

(Ag Alert) Padma Nagappan, March 6

Halfway through a two-year irrigation trial to test furrow irrigation versus drip on sugar beet in California's Imperial Valley, Ali Montazar is looking for ways to boost yields with as little water consumption as possible in a region where furrow irrigation is the common practice.

Montazar, irrigation and water management advisor with the University of California department of agriculture and natural resources (UCANR) in Imperial County, is comparing and evaluating sugar beets for crop water use, sugar percentage, and yield, using both furrow and drip, since growers are now thinking of switching to subsurface drip.

Preliminary results from year one of the trial show that yield and crop water use are better with drip. Yield was 21 percent higher, and water use was a few points lower.

http://www.agalert.com/story/?id=12782

 

NFU says “No” to Green New Deal

(DTN) Jerry Hagstrom and Chris Clayton, March 6

Frank Mitloehner, an animal-science professor and air-quality Extension specialist at the University of California-Davis, reached out to Ocasio-Cortez's team about agriculture and the Green New Deal after seeing social media posts late last month about “farting cows” that drew a great deal of attention.

“I appreciate her interest in climate-change mitigation, but the 800-pound gorilla is the use of fossil fuels, and I told her that even the notion of cow flatulence makes this whole thing sound silly, and that's not what we need this discussion to be,” Mitloehner told DTN in an interview.

https://www.wlj.net/top_headlines/nfu-says-no-to-green-new-deal/article_6444641e-405e-11e9-aba1-8320a30a52af.html

 

From Farting Cows to More Beans; Anti-Livestock Claims Fall Short

(AgriTalk) Jennifer Shike, March 5

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health is backpedaling as industry leaders and scientists poke holes in its “planetary diet” released in mid-January that is supposed to improve human health and planet health. 

Air Quality Extension Expert Frank Mitloehner of the University of California Davis joined Chip Flory on AgriTalk Monday to discuss EAT-Lancet and Green New Deal in more depth. 

https://www.agweb.com/mobile/article/from-farting-cows-to-more-beans-anti-livestock-claims-fall-short/

 

4-H instructor who taught NorCal sisters how to survive in wilderness speaks out

(ABC7) Dion Lim, March 4

ABC7 News spoke exclusively to the 4-H instructor who taught two young girls the life-saving skills they needed to survive a weekend lost in the woods.

… Their mom, Misty Carrico, says she's not sure her daughters would have survived, if not for their 4-H program.
"The group leader Justin has taught them fire making skills and wilderness survival skills."
Justin Lehnert, the girls' 4-H leader, said, "I'm ecstatic that they did the job that they did. They're very strong girls and they stayed calm."

… Nine-year-old Caroline Gelormini has been a member of the San Bruno-South San Francisco 4-H Program for five years. Thanks to 4-H, she feels like she'd have a shot at surviving in the woods too.

https://abc7news.com/society/exclusive-instructor-who-taught-norcal-sisters-how-to-survive-in-wilderness-speaks-out/5168327

 

Ocasio-Cortez Seeks Ag Data on Green New Deal

(Drovers) John Herath, March 4

When freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released her Green New Deal plan, social media lit up with talk of her plan's mentions of “farting cows.” That drew the attention of agriculture's preeminent expert on air quality, Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California at Davis, who tweeted back at the congresswoman. 

“I don't know whether my tweet was the reason, but a few hours after I tweeted her, all mentioning of cow flatulence were taken off the web pages and of all social media outlets and was never to be heard again,” Mitloehner told Chip Flory on the AgriTalk Radio Show Monday.

https://www.drovers.com/article/ocasio-cortez-seeks-ag-data-green-new-deal

 

2 missing Humboldt County girls found — ‘absolute miracle

(SF Chronicle) Michael Cabanatuan, March 3

…Little additional information was available on how the girls went missing or how they survived, but Honsal said they had been trained in outdoors survival as members of a 4-H program.

 https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Absolute-miracle-as-missing-Humboldt-County-13659375.php

http://www.ktvu.com/news/sheriff-2-young-humboldt-co-sisters-found-alive-in-good-spirits-after-frantic-3-day-search

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/04/699998181/in-absolute-miracle-girls-found-safe-after-2-days-in-california-woods

 

Organic farm east of Denair does its part on climate change. It's getting an award

(Modesto Bee) John Holland, March 2

…The family won in the farmer/rancher category of the Climate Leadership Awards. The others:

  • Researcher: Tapan Pathak of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Merced, who helps farmers adapt to climate change.
  • Policymaker: Ken Alex, who was director of former Gov. Jerry Brown's Office of Planning and Research
  • Legislative staff: Brett Williams, office of Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks
  • Agricultural professional: Ruth Dalquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno

https://www.modbee.com/news/article226956529.html

 

Eructation Inflation: Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Livestock

(Science for the Rest of Us) March 1

Put your nerd hat on -- we cover a lot of ground in this fast-paced discussion with Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California-Davis about the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the meat and dairy we consume.  We consider how livestock emissions compare to other sectors of the US and global economies, the carbon footprint of vegetarian diets and what is the most effective way to reduce individual carbon emissions.

http://scienceforus.libsyn.com/eructation-inflation-greenhouse-gas-emissions-of-livestock?tdest_id=766265

 

Keeping the Carbon Footprint of Livestock in Perspective

(AgNet West) Brian German, March 1

…“It is irresponsible and it's misguiding the public to believe that the true sources of pollution are downplayed, and the impacts of animal agriculture are grossly inflated,” said Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Specialist in Cooperative Extension in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. 

http://agnetwest.com/carbon-footprint-livestock-perspective/?fbclid=IwAR0u4SZqYGtNxCj-9C3vTgiD83ZFCpWuA7J0lmUnTUe-2G5mkKKWT9kVsK0

Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 2:55 PM

February 2019 news clips

Above average rainfall in February benefits strawberry crops in the Central Valley

(ABC 30) Reuben Contreras, Feb. 28

…Above average rainfall in February will help this year's harvest last through October. 
"It looks like it is in full bloom right now and it looks like it is going to rain. So we need the water as much as we can right now," said Michael Yang, University of California Cooperative Extension. 
He works with small farms and specialty crops in the Hmong community, including a strawberry field in Northeast Fresno near Willow and Behymer. 
Yang said the rain will add to the groundwater supply most farmers use to grow their crops plus it will help make the strawberries sweeter. 

https://abc30.com/society/above-average-rainfall-in-february-benefits-strawberry-crops-in-the-central-valley/5161437/

Ventura County Helps Keep Farming Alive in Southern California

(KCET) Teresa O'Connor, Feb. 27

…Connecting the community to the food system is vitally important for the health of individuals and the survival of local farms, according to Rose Hayden-Smith, Ph.D., who is the editor of the UCFoodObserver.com, an online publication for the University of California (UC). A long-term county resident, Hayden-Smith was previously sustainable food systems initiative leader for UC's Ag and Natural Resources division.

“Everyone eats: everyone is a stakeholder,” says Hayden-Smith. “I would like people to be engaged with the food system, and to advocate for positive change. Think about where your food comes from and ask critical questions about the supply chain. Meet people who are involved in producing, processing, distributing and preparing the food you eat. Honor them with questions about and interest in their work.”

https://www.kcet.org/shows/la-foodways/ventura-county-helps-keep-farming-alive-in-southern-california

Gene-edited animal creators look beyond US market

(Nature) Heidi Ledford, Feb. 20

…It isn't always easy to pick up a research project and move it to a different country. About ten years ago, difficulties finding funding for his research drove animal geneticist James Murray to move his transgenic goat project from the University of California in Davis to Brazil. The goats were engineered to produce milk that contained lysozyme, an enzyme with antibiotic properties. Murray hoped that the milk could help to protect children from diarrhoea.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00600-4

Newly discovered nematode threatens key crops

Peach root-knot nematode-infected almond tree in a two-year-old orchard. Photo by Andreas Westphal

(Farm Press) Logan Hawkes, Feb. 20

“The arrival of this nematode (Meloidogyne floridensis) in California is a little surprising — it has the potential to infect many of California's economically important crops,” says UCCE Kern County Advisor Mohammad Yaghmour. “Root samples had been collected from an almond orchard in Merced County last year, and confirmed at the California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) Nematology Lab as M. floridensis.”

Yaghmour facilitated the second discovery of the nematode in a Kern County orchard a month after the first was uncovered in an almond orchard in Merced County.

https://www.farmprogress.com/tree-nuts/newly-discovered-nematode-threatens-key-crops

Ag Innovations Conference and Trade Show returning to Santa Maria for third event

(Santa Ynez Valley News) Mike Hodgson, Feb. 19

The Ag Innovations Conference and Trade Show will return to Santa Maria for its third event, this time focusing on biologicals, on March 5. The deadline for discounted early registration is next week.

… Considering the growing interest in biologicals and the demand for sustainably produced food, organizers selected topics on biocontrol agents, biostimulants and botanical and microbial pesticides and fungicides for the third conference, said organizer Surendra Dara, UC Cooperative Extension adviser for entomology and biologicals.

“The use of biocontrol agents, biopesticides, biostimulants and other such tools is gradually increasing in our efforts to produce with sustainable practices,” Dara said.

https://syvnews.com/business/agriculture/ag-innovations-conference-and-trade-show-returning-to-santa-maria/article_a8b9804e-46de-5938-a664-f646d51fa0c1.html

Almond Update: Orchard Recycling Research Showing Strong Results

(AgNet West) Taylor Hillman, Feb. 14

Orchard recycling research has been going on for over 10 years. UC Cooperative Extension Advisor Brent Holtz has been leading the project and said they continue to see positive results. There is an expense that comes with the practice but Holtz said their longest trial is making that cost back in added production.

http://agnetwest.com/almond-update-orchard-recycling-research

NASA tech helps agriculture

(Hanford Sentinel) Julissa Zavala, Feb 13,

…In keeping with the expo's theme, “Harvesting Technology,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine visited the International Agri-Center in Tulare and spoke about how technology originally developed for space exploration is now being repurposed and used to improve numerous aspects of agriculture around the world.

…The measurement, also taken with LIDAR, can be used to calculate precise irrigation needs of plants and crops. Bridenstine said this pilot program, in partnership with the University of California Cooperative Extension and other agencies, is only being used in California.

https://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/nasa-tech-helps-agriculture/article_def7a974-938d-55cb-966f-f3e603dc942a.html

UC Davis, wine industry cultivate relationship

(Fruit Growers News) Robin Derieux, Feb. 13

Under the hot summer sun of the San Joaquin Valley, just south of Merced, Miguel Guerrero of The Wine Group is trying a new high-wire act. In collaboration with University of California-Davis Cooperative Extension, Roduner Ranch vineyard manager Guerrero is experimenting with Cabernet Sauvignon vines and other varieties elevated by a single wire at 66 inches – plantings that are 2-3 feet higher than the traditional winegrape canopy.

…“The beauty of the high-wire system is that the fruit zone is really defined – a solid wall of grape clusters – and the pruning machine can just zip right alongside the vines,” said Kaan Kurtural, a UC Davis Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist. “We can carry more crop, and with mechanical leaf removal, we get that sun-dappled exposure that feeds the fruit. Less leaf cover means the vines require less water, and the grape quality is much better.”

https://fruitgrowersnews.com/article/uc-davis-wine-industry-cultivate-relationship

There's Still So Much We Need To Learn About Weed—And Fast

(Wired) Matt Simon, Feb. 11

… But late last month, UC Berkeley opened the Cannabis Research Center to start tackling some of these social and environmental unknowns. With its proximity to the legendary growing regions of Northern California, the center can start to quantify this historically secretive industry, measuring its toll on the environment and looking at how existing rules affect the growers themselves. The goal is to create a body of data to inform future policies, making cannabis safer for all.

… So for the past few years Van Butsic, codirector of the Cannabis Research Center, and his colleagues have been sifting through satellite images to pinpoint those unaccounted-for farms. “We have an army of undergraduates who look at high-resolution imagery and digitize how big the farms are, how many plants we can see,” Butsic says. Because cannabis plants love light, growers usually keep them out in the open. The researchers still miss many trespass growers, however, who tend to hide their plants in the brush to avoid detection.

https://www.wired.com/story/theres-still-so-much-we-need-to-learn-about-weed

Cultured meat: Good or bad, promise or peril?

 (Agweek) By Jonathan Knutson, Feb. 11

…To Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California-Davis Extension specialist in animal biotechnology and genomics, proponents of cell-based meat are "overhyping the environmental benefits" and providing an incomplete, misleading case for it.

https://www.agweek.com/business/agriculture/4568613-cultured-meat-good-or-bad-promise-or-peril

Broomrape Weed Spreads Quickly

(AgNet West) Taylor Hillman, Feb. 8

By the time you see broomrape weed in your fields, it may be too late. There has been a resurgence of broomrape reports over the last decade in California. Retired UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Gene Miyao said although the parasitic weed is far from widespread, it could become so quickly. “The seeds are very small, the growth is primarily underground until it starts sending up shoots and then it very quickly starts setting seed,” he said. “A single seed attached to a tomato plant may send up half-a-dozen shoots, and each shoot might have 1,000 seeds or more.”

http://agnetwest.com/broomrape-weed-spreads-quickly/

New CA Bill Aims to Help Prepare Farmers for Extreme Weather, Changing Climate

(YubaNet) CalCAN, Feb. 7

The state and University of California have made significant investments in research to better understand agriculture's unique vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies to a changing climate, including in the state's recently released Fourth Climate Change Assessment. But not enough has been done to translate climate risks to the farm level and assist farmers in adapting to climate change.

…The bill would also fund trainings for technical assistance providers and agricultural organizations. According to a 2017 survey of 144 University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources staff, 88% of respondents believe it is important to incorporate climate change information into farm extension programs, but only 43% actually do. Respondents cited a lack of access to climate information relevant to farmers and expressed interest in education on technical tools and information resources.

https://yubanet.com/california/new-ca-bill-aims-to-help-prepare-farmers-for-extreme-weather-changing-climate/

Top administrators from UC ANR visit Imperial Valley

Imperial Valley Press

They were also briefed about UCCE and DREC projects, accomplishments and barriers by the directors, county advisors and CES representatives.

https://www.ivpressonline.com/news/local/agriculture/top-administrators-from-uc-anr-visit-imperial-valley/article_27a72db4-2a80-11e9-ac25-03956b66b2b4.html

Drought concerns loom for California farmers, ranchers despite recent rain

(KSBY) Dustin Klemann, Feb. 6

Even with the onslaught of rainy weather, the U.S. Drought Monitor states San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County remain in a moderate drought.

On Wednesday, the UC Cooperative Extension held a workshop in Solvang titled “Weather, Grass, and Drought: Planning for Uncertainty.”

“Leave it to a drought workshop to bring the rain,” Matthew Shapero joked. He is a livestock and range advisor for UCCE.

Shapero pointed out a call he received questioning the monitor's accuracy on a local level.

“He said ‘I really don't think the drought monitor accurately reflects what I am seeing on the ground.'”

… “We Californians are constantly accused of not having seasons. We do,” said Dr. Royce Larsen, an advisor of the UCCE. “We have fire, flood, mud, and drought. That's what we live with. And it's getting more and more so every year.”

https://ksby.com/news/local-news/2019/02/06/drought-concerns-loom-for-california-farmers-ranchers-despite-recent-rain

California legislators honor Summit's Steward Leader Award Winners

(California Economic Summit, Feb. 5

Monday, February 4 was a red-letter day for stewardship in California. Not only was the California Legislature celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year and “National Wear Red Day” as a symbol of support for women's heart health, but members of both houses also paused to recognize Glenda Humiston and Paul Granillo as recipients of the California Economic Summit's 2018 Steward Leader Awards.

http://caeconomy.org/reporting/entry/california-legislators-honor-summits-steward-leader-award-winners

Revealed: how big dairy pushed fattier milks into US schools

(Guardian) Jessica Glenza, Feb. 4

…A nutritionist for the University of California called the idea that chocolate milk could help athletes “preposterous”.

“Milk is a very healthy beverage, it's got protein, calcium, vitamin D – there's a reason we are mammals and grow up drinking milk,” said Lorrene Ritchie, the director of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California. “There's nothing about adding chocolate to it that's going to help an athlete.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/03/revealed-dairy-lobby-fat-milk-trump-sonny-perdue

California's water paradox

(Morning Ag Clips/The Conversation) Faith Kearns and Doug Parker, Feb. 4

These days, it seems everyone is looking for a silver bullet solution to California's drought. Some advocate increasing supply through more storage, desalination or water reuse. Others propose controlling demand through conservation or restriction of water use by urban and agricultural users.

https://www.morningagclips.com/californias-water-paradox

Camp Fire: When survival means shelter

(Mercury News) Lisa Krieger, Feb. 2

“We have to talk about it, as a community, to reduce vulnerability – especially for citizens who don't drive,” said Scott Stephens, co-director of UC-Berkeley's Center for Fire Research and Outreach. “In the Camp Fire, people didn't die because they wanted to stay. They had to stay. All of a sudden, the fire was at their front door step.”

For Australia's policy to work in California, residents must be physically and mental trained, said wildfire specialist Max A. Moritz with UC's Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources. In Australia, which conducts formal training,  “there is active participation from homeowners … so both homes and people are better prepared.”
https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/02/02/wildfires-when-survival-means-shelter/

 

Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 6:25 PM

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