Rodrigues initiated a new standard operating procedure (SOP) at Hopland early this year for predator animal control. The policy involves guard dogs, improved fencing and pasture management to protect sheep from coyotes, rather than shooting the predators. Jim Lewers, senior animal technician at HREC, said the "losses have declined" since the new policy was put in place.
Hannah Bird, HREC community educator, said 10 sheep at the center were killed by coyotes in 2015, while 43 were killed in 2014.
Rodrigues told the reporter that it is hard to attribute declines in animal deaths to a single strategy. She hopes to eventually make Hopland a hub for research and information sharing with local landowners on wildlife control.
That effort begins next week. On Dec. 1 and 2, HREC will offer two separate workshops on wildlife management. The first day will include representatives from USDA Wildlife Services, the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and Defenders of Wildlife. On the second day, local ranchers and UC ANR representatives will speak about their chosen methods of wildlife management. Registration is $30 per day. Registration for the two days is separate, and the deadline is Saturday, Nov. 28.
Using organic herbicides in production fields and non-crop areas.
The forecasts call for rainy winter and that means a lot of weeds. During dry times perennial weeds tend to grow better than annual weeds, since perennial structures such as underground rhizomes or tubers can support them and give competitive advantage. Seed of annual weeds in dry soil may have been losing viability, senescing or eaten during this time, but many have remained dormant and look forward to the wet winter us much as the rest of us.
Controlling weeds ‘organically' is always an extra challenge whether you are in a certified field or in an area where synthetic herbicides are not desired. Hand-weeding, already expensive, is even a greater burden with limited labor availability, and frankly not much fun either. Of course sanitation and prevention, mechanical and cultural management are essential in organic systems. That requires time and commitment and can quickly become your not-so-favorite pastime.
Organic herbicides have traditionally been contact materials with no systemic activity. This means that they only affect tissue that they contact and do not translocate through the plant like most synthetic herbicides. Thus, good coverage is critical for these contact materials. Many years ago the first herbicides were sulfuric acid and diesel fuel, current organic materials are often acids or oils too, although a lot more benign.
Recent trials by the University of California weed scientists showed that several organic herbicides provided decent control of easy to control pigweed and nightshade when they were small. When weeds were 12 days old, a mixture of 45% clove and 45% cinnamon oil, 20%-acetic acid and d-limonene gave 61-89% control; however only d-limonene controlled 19-day old weeds and none was effective on one-month old ones. As weeds get bigger they also develop a protective cuticle that minimizes efficacy of these herbicides.
This year we conducted trials with a recently OMRI approved herbicide for row crops, trees and vines that is a mix of caprylic and capric acids. It disrupts cell membranes of plans and causes the contents to leak and plants to desiccate. It worked well at 6 to 9% by volume mixture with water and gave 90% control of little mallow and >95% of annual sowthistle compared to untreated checks. We have also tested it in organic strawberry furrows before planting the crop to prevent potential injury from drift. Furrow cultivation does not get close to the plastic mulch that covers the beds to prevent tears, so the weeds in that zone are good target for the herbicide. This fatty acid herbicide provided excellent control of common lambsquarter, reduced the growth of common purslane but didn't do much for yellow nutsedge - one of our notoriously difficult to control perennial weeds (Figure). The bigger weeds need higher rates (9% is the maximum labeled rate) and better coverage. When you have multiple layers of weed leaf canopy and diverse architecture some plants or their parts may be protected by others that intercept the deposition of the herbicide. When on target, this contact material acts fast – you can see results within 2-3 days, however, it does nothing to weed propagules in soil and has no residual activity against wind-dispersed weed seed that fly in after application. This means the control does not last and you will need additional applications or other control measures. Repeated application is not a problem in a non-crop area and is a great way to deplete your weed seedbank, but crop protection from drift, such as shielded sprayers, is necessary to avoid off target plant injury.
Figure. Weed control in strawberry furrows prior to planting with 9% by volume of fatty acid herbicide (top) and weeds in untreated check (bottom)
organic herbicide dead
organic herbicide live
If passed, the TPP would open up ag trade with countries like Vietnam, Japan, Australia and Malasia, who are clamoring for California fruit, vegetables, nuts and wine. China is not part of the proposed trade deal.
Wayne's story featured clips from a lengthy interview with the director of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Agricultural Issues Center Dan Sumner, who explained why Pacific rim countries want to purchase California agricultural products.
"We're good at it," Sumner said. "They want our stuff. The governments get in the way. The more we can get the governmental barriers out of the way, the more their consumers can take our stuff."
The vote last month gave the president the ability to "fast-track" negotiations with the Pacific Rim countries. Congress can still reject the deal.
Sumner said it is a shame that the $9 billion dairy industry was left out of the TPP.
"Asia and other Pacific rim countries want our products," he said. "We left some barriers in place that should have come down further."
Sumner said California farmers and their allies are pushing to get TPP approved.
Are you a staff supervisor or manager who is ready for a leap in your professional development? If so, apply for the Management Skills Assessment Program (MSAP). The next MSAP will take place April 18-21, 2016, at the UCLA Conference Center in Lake Arrowhead.
This program is designed to assess the management skills of high-potential, early-career staff supervisors and managers for future leadership opportunities at the University of California (academics are not eligible).
UC ANR has one seat for the April 2016 program,and we are seeking applicants. Applications are due Jan. 20, 2016.
We strongly recommend that unit leaders and program directors discuss the program with supervisors and managers who exhibit potential for management development and encourage them to apply.
Eligibility requirements for staff participants include:
- Full-time career status with a current, satisfactory (or better) performance evaluation
- Career Tracks job classification as a supervisor or manager
Participants will be selected based on an evaluation of the applicant's (1) career goals in management, (2) level of skills essential for performing management functions, and (3) demonstrated career path and/or strong commitment to management skill development.
The cost for the program is $1,095 (including all program materials and room and board for three days and two nights). This does not include transportation or other related travel costs. ANR will cover the cost of the program (including eligible travel expenses) for the successful applicant.
Expect a demanding program with assessees in activities from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and no time in between to check email or attend to work responsibilities. Assessees also eat with other assessees and share lodging. The applicant's supervisor is also required to complete a supporting statement as part of the application process, and commit to participate in the required post-program activities.
Instructions for submitting applications online and further information about the program are at http://msap.ucr.edu. Make sure to choose UC ANR, not UC Davis, in the application. A UC ANR committee will review all applications and make the final selection. Completed applications must be submitted online at http://msap.ucr.edu by Wednesday, Jan. 20.
For more information, contact Jodi Azulai, ANR Training and Development coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View or leave comments for ANR Leadership at http://ucanr.edu/sites/ANRUpdate/Comments.
This announcement is also posted and archived on the ANR Update pages.
Sanchez is an active member of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation Center (CASI), a diverse group of UC researchers, farmers, and representatives of public agencies, private industry and environmental groups that work together to develop knowledge and exchange information on conservation-oriented production systems in California.
In 2009, CASI named Sanchez and his employer, Alan Sano, its "Conservation Agriculture Innovators of the Year." The 2015 honor from the White House is another recognition for efforts to make soil health a priority on the 4,000-acre farm that produces garbanzo beans, garlic, processing and fresh market tomatoes, along with pistachios and almonds.
Jeff Mitchell, UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist and CASI chair, said the White House's acknowledgment, which honors 'everyday Americans who are doing extraordinary things,' is a very fitting recognition for Sanchez and all of Sano Farms.
"They're very much pioneers, very innovative and persistent as well," Mitchell said. "What they've done through the vision they have had, sticking with it, learning step-by-step how to improve the system how to adjust things."
A story about Sanchez' White House honor also appeared on the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service website.
The NRCS article noted that Sanchez and Sano have long shared their work with Mitchell, and through Mitchell with other farmers interested in conservation agriculture systems.