Fitchette opened his story with the plight of ag research at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center near Five Points. Many of the farmers in the area will receive no surface water allocation this year; neither will the research center.
The facility can pull water from a deep well, but it is not enough nor is the water quality adequate for all the farming operations, said Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and center director. He said scientists at the station must cut back their water use this year by 25 percent.
“I can speak for myself: I have about a half dozen cotton projects and a sorghum project, along with a sesame project and a couple of other things I'm working on,” he said. “I'm downsizing most of them to the greatest degree I can and I'm going to cancel one of them.”
One trial that will not go forward at West Side is an almond variety trial. However, UC Cooperative Extension advisors in other areas are working with the Almond Board to keep the research underway. UCCE advisors Joe Connell will oversee the Chico State almond variety trial, Roger Duncan the Salida trial, and Gurreet Brar the Madera County trial.
The Western Farm Press Story included drought-related ag research news from myriad UCCE academics:
- Duncan said his work with fruit and nut crops has not been negatively impacted by the drought.
- David Doll, UCCE advisor in Merced County, said the increased reliance on groundwater has ruined several orchard nitrogen trials because the groundwater in northern Merced has high rates of nitrate nitrogen, which acts as a nitrogen fertilizer.
- Dan Munk, UCCE advisor in Fresno County, said he will continue putting off alfalfa trials at the WSREC “indefinitely until a more secure water supply is available.”
- Scott Stoddard, UCCE advisor in Merced County, reports positive and negative impacts from the drought. He won't do tomato research at West Side REC, but will continue work in sweet potatoes to determine how little water they need to produce a reasonable crop.
- Chris Greer, UCCE advisor in Sutter, Yuba, Colusa and Glenn counties, said some rangeland trials were impacted by the lack of rain.
- Bruce Lampinen, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, has seen his orchard trials in Arbuckle severely impacted by the drought.
On her way to Kearney, Napolitano viewed California cropland, rivers and reservoirs that have been impacted by three years of drought.
"There are areas that clearly are being allowed to remain fallow due to drought, there are hills that should be green that are brown, and there are reservoirs where you can clearly see the water mark," she said. "Through the extension service we will work with growers throughout the state to manage this the best way possible."
Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau executive director, said growers' relationship with the UC's extension field offices has historically played a big role in the success of the Valley's agricultural economy, Furfaro reported. Advances made in the lab quickly make it to the farms, he said, in large part because of how well regional centers work with farmers.
Alec Rosenberg of the UC Newsroom filed a detailed account of President Napolitano's visit to the San Joaquin Valley. The article said she met with the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources to discuss how to engage all 10 campuses in making UC the "go-to" institution in the world for all issues related to food, including sustainability and nutrition.
Napolitano toured the Kearney REC, where she learned about UC's role in helping establish a blueberry industry in the San Joaquin Valley, efforts to preserve the safety of pistachios and other nut crops, and work underway in the center's mosquito lab.
Napolitano noted that she recently made ANR vice president Barbara Allen-Diaz a direct report to her because agricultural issues matter to California and the world, Rosenberg reported.
“It's great to see the incredible depth and breadth of California agriculture, and show the link between UC research and extension and the development of agriculture in the state,” said Allen-Diaz, who accompanied Napolitano on the tour.
Napolitano, UC's Kearney center focus on drought relief
Benjamin Genta, UCLA Daily Bruin
Research Associate: Rice Breeding
Rice Experiment Station
California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation
Biggs, California 95917
Project Background and Position Description
We offer a position to work with the RES Rice Breeding Program in screening and evaluating tolerance of rice germplasm and available mutant populations to herbicides for weed control in rice. The successful candidate will be responsible for; developing herbicide testing protocols, screening rice for tolerance to different herbicides in the lab, greenhouse and rice field, and developing additional mutant populations using chemical or physical mutagens. If the search for herbicide tolerance is successful, the incumbent will develop population(s) for genetic analysis. Activities will be conducted in conjunction with the RES Rice Breeding Program, the RES DNA Marker Laboratory, and other activities done in cooperation with weed research by UC Davis at RES.
Salary and Duration
The position will be available immediately and with the project funding duration of 3 years. The salary is competitive, includes benefits, and will depend upon qualifications and experience.
Job qualifications include a degree in plant breeding, agronomy, plant science, or related field. Preference will be given candidates with MS or PhD degrees. Experience with rice and/or herbicide research is desirable. Individual will need to work in a diverse research facility with other professional and support staff. Working knowledge of DNA markers and rice genetics is an advantage. Verbal and written communication skills are essential. Individual must have immigration status or citizenship allowing them to work in the US.
All candidates must apply via email by sending the following attachments:
- letter of interest,
- curriculum vitae including a list of refereed publications,
- statement of qualifications and research experience, and
- contact information for three references, including professional and email addresses and phone numbers.
Kent S. McKenzie
Rice Experiment Station
PO Box 306
Biggs, CA 95917
Phone (530) 868-5481
Fax (530) 868-1730
Open until a suitable candidate is found.
Plant growth and development and herbicide efficacy, part 1
These scientists came up with an eight-day rule; after new bindweed shoots appeared you had eight days to cultivate again. If you waited longer than eight days, the shoots would be producing enough sugar through photosynthesis to replenish the rhizomes. In order to eradicate the bindweed you had to prevent any sugars from getting from new leaves to the rhizomes or root tissue.
They also discovered that pigs could do a very good job of rooting around in the soil and eating all of the rhizomes, but they cautioned that, “their snouts had to be in good working order”.
So how does this story relate to using herbicides, in particular glyphosate and imazapyr, to kill perennial species? In this case, these herbicides kill the plants by poisoning belowground tissues (i.e. roots, rhizomes, bulbs, tubers). But, and this is important, this only works if the herbicide reaches the belowground tissues.
The herbicide labels for glyphosate and imazapyr both say that they are most effective when applied in late summer/fall because that is when the sugar transport from leaves to soil organs is at its greatest. This is generally very good advice to follow, but sometimes it might be desirable to get some herbicide applied earlier in the year, say late spring. With regard to giant reed (Arundo donax), when does this shift happen; when is a shoot large enough to produce excess sugars? The photo below was taken on the Santa Ana River in 2007.
Actually, Bill Neill (a hard-working invasive plant warrior in southern CA) asked me to do research on this issue, he had been treating in spring and gotten good results, but this was not consistent with herbicide label recommendations. After four years of field experiments and lots of effort to get a paper published it was finally accepted by the Journal of Aquatic Plant Management (see below). The results from the research suggest that an April application can be just as effective as one in October if the re-growing shoots were tall enough. In one April trail location, the giant reed was about 4 to 6 feet tall and in the other April site the reed was 6 to 8 feet tall. The same herbicide treatments worked excellently on the taller plants, the following year there were few living shoots in any of the treated areas. In the trail with the shorter plants you couldn't tell the treated from the untreated control. The photo below is a treated plot from the successful site on the left and untreated on the right; it was taken when I collected biomass and density data 13 months after treating.
Is this paper definitive? Am I saying it will always work the same in every location? Not really, there could be other factors that I didn't discover or consider that influenced this result. But dead plants can't lie and I think the sugar transport idea is the most likely answer. It would be good to have this research replicated and backed up by laboratory work that could really explain what is going on and providing some tools that would allow you to make an informed decision on when a perennial plant is susceptible to control with one of these herbicides. Actually, Dr. Antonia Wijte did some work in this direction, so there is a place to start; her work can be viewed here.
Anyone got a good grad student that needs something to work on?
Bell, C.E. 2011. Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) response to glyphosate and imazapyr. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 49:111-113.
Original source: Invasive Plants in Southern California blog/h4>
In the winter (February) of 2013, a field of raspberries in Watsonville was discovered to be infected with Pseudomonas syringae, the causal agent of Pseudomonas blight disease. This was the first documentation of this disease on raspberry in our region.
As pictured below, the infection of raspberry plants is manifested by brown, angular-shaped, water-soaked spots on the developing leaves, petioles and emerging plants. The grower reported a sort of “sweating” of the infected plants early in the morning, which could be due to leakage from tissues broken by bacterial activities. Many of the smaller, emerging plants had died back, but thanks to the carbohydrate reserves in the crowns and roots, they grew back and recovered once the weather warmed up. Outside of the great delay in growth, the field bore fruit normally.
As is the case for most bacterial problems, once the weather becomes warm and dry, this bacterium becomes less active in raspberry and disease normally subsides. This field indeed improved with the warming and drying weather over subsequent weeks. However, it would be interesting to see if the disease again would develop in the fall with the return of cooler and wetter conditions and the presence of wounds created in the foliage from insects, wind, or cultural practices. Pseudomonas syringae survives the winter in the plant buds and also lives as an epiphyte (growing on the surface of the plant but not invading it).
Chemical control should be used with caution, since many of the chemicals recommended for treatment could also damage the plants, especially the delicate, early season foliage. However, if this disease is a significant problem, it is strongly recommended that the grower apply either a fixed copper or Bordeaux mixture to canes after harvest but before the fall rains. Such applications can reduce the bacterial inoculum on the canes and buds. We will be monitoring caneberry plantings for Pseudomonas blight so as to determine whether this will be an on-going disease concern for the industry.
As of the date of this blog (spring 2014), Pseudomonas blight has not yet been observed and reported for this current season on caneberry in our coastal region. If you see suspect symptoms, submit samples to our Cooperative Extension office for laboratory testing and confirmation.
Initial symptoms consist of a dark, water-soaked, or greasy looking infection on leaves.
In advanced stages, diseased leaves have irregularly shaped, brown to dark brown lesions.
Raspberry shoots infected with this pathogen exhibit a blight-like symptom.