February 15, 2019
CASI's long-term NRI Project was the site of a very nice visit on February 15th by two USDA ARS soil scientists as part of the site's ongoing Friday Public Open House program. The two visitors were Drs. Suduan Gao and Lauren Hale of the San Joaquin Valley Water Management Research Laboratory in Parlier, CA. Gao is a veteran soil chemist at the Lab and Hale is a recently-hired soil microbiologist who began her work in November of 2018. They met with CASI's Jeff Mitchell for a tour and examination of the NRI Project field and then the three also had a very good discussion of possible future collaborations that might stem from the long-term study. Gao and Hale were also invited to become a part of several groups that Mitchell is working with including the CIG organic no-till farmer group and Mitchell's ongoing work on cover crop water use at California orchards and tomato farms. CASI welcomes Gao and Hale as new Workgroup members and looks forward to very good interactions and collaborations with them in the near future!
USDA ARS Water Management Research Lab soil scientists, Suduan Gao (left) and Lauren Hale, visit CASI’s NRI Project field in Five Points, CA February 15, 2019
CASI’s Jeff Mitchell (right) showing ARS soil microbiologist, Lauren Hale, evidence of enhanced soil biology in diverse multi-species cover crop that is part of the no-till cover crop system in the NRI Project in Five Points, CA
CASI once again paired with the California NRCS to host an outdoor display and information site at the 2019 World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA from February 12th through the 14th. This year's joint sponsorship of the display presence was by far our best year ever as measured by the sheer number of passersby we attracted and the total number of live soil health demonstrations that we provided. The CASI / NRCS educational event was coordinated by Sheryl Feit, NRCS Associate State Soil Scientist in the Davis, CA State Office, along with Brook Gale of the Fresno Area Office, Mira Dick, DC of the Merced Office, Caleb, Conservation Planner in Kern County, and Javier, an NRCS Earth Intern also in the Kern County office. Jeff Mitchell was also on hand from UC's CASI Center and Dan Munk and Scott Stoddard, also UCCE CASI members, contributed to our Workgroup's presence at the UC ANR site at the Tulare show.
Over 80 individual demonstrations of various aspects of soil health and soil care were provided during the three-day event. Roughly thirty new Workgroup members were added to our ranks and good educational information, not to mention good dialogues and interactions were also provided to a diverse array of folks who stopped by. A video showing some of the activity at the show is available at https://youtu.be/6kxUJQxZhHM
Family visiting the CASI / NRCS information display site at the 2019 World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA
Mira Dick, USDA NRCS Merced (far left) and Sheryl Feit, USDA NRCS Davis (far right) conduct soil health demonstation at the joint CASI and NRCS display site at the 2019 World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA
UCCE's Mohammad Yaghmour, UCCE Kern County (second from right) and Jaime Solorio, UC West Side REC, Five Points, CA (far right) visit the CASI / NRCS display site at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA - February 13, 2019
Happy Presidents' Day. It's day we honor not only George Washington and Abraham Lincoln but all...
A monarch on the American flag. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Avocados in some parts of coastal California have been blooming. Some of them got hit by the cold weather in the first part of February. In the coldest areas there was a little bit of new leaf damage, but this has been minimal.
Some browning of some flowers and stems (pedicels - the little stalks the connect the flowers to the larger raceme/panicle) may have occurred, but I haven't heard of major flower damage.
It's early days for flowering, though, and most ‘Hass' trees are not very far along, but seem like they area about to burst. A recent visit on a 40 acre farm in Saticoy had trees in a whole range of stages, some with no flowers pushing, some with panicles just starting to open individual flowers and many trees on their north sides' completely quiet. Many are still just pushing into the cauliflower stage,
which is the ideal time is for applying Pro-Gibb to improve fruit set in healthy orchards.
Application time is when 50% of the trees in the block have 50% of their bloom in the cauliflower stage. This is a judgment call when there can be such huge variation in bloom across and orchard. It's going to be a best estimate call for when to do the application. As usual with a new technology/practice don't apply to the whole orchard so that you can see whether the application is warranted.
For a more detailed discussion of gibb application, read Carol Lovatt's article:
Tardigrades, also known as the water bears, are microscopic animals but they're...
Charlotte Herbert Alberts, an entomology doctoral student. The Bohart has its own bear "water bear" flag! (Photo by Fran Keller)
The California Bear Flag features a grizzly bear, while the Bohart Republic flag features another bear, a water bear. The California State Legislature adopted the official version of the Bear Flag in 1911 in a law signed by then Gov. Hiram Johnson in 1911.
The Professors: Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College, and Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, are surrounded by hooded sweatshirts available for sale at the Bohart Museum. Keller, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, designed the hoodies. Bond, a spider expert, will be presenting displays at the Bohart Museum's open house on March 9. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)