Conservation agriculture news
July 31, 2018
Uzbekistan has a very similar climate to California's San Joaquin Valley and thus, the tour group visited largely arid regions of the US including stops in Lubbock, TX, Goodyear, AZ and Five Points, CA. The World Bank is working with Uzbek farmers with the transition to no-till cotton systems and technologies as a means of invigorating the private sector agricultural economy.
CASI's Munk and Mitchell talk crop and soil management with Sustainable Cotton group in Mendota, CA, July 24, 2018!
The Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) Center received this year's Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA). CASI's Dan Munk received the recognition on behalf of our Center on July 10 following a presentation he delivered on our goals and accomplishments at the group's annual conference in Guam.
WEDA is made up of the following states and territories: Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Micronesia, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Their annual Awards of Excellence Program was created in 2005 to recognize Extension outreach education programming that has achieved outstanding accomplishments, results, and impacts in addressing contemporary issues in one or more of the 13 Western states and Pacific Island US Territories.
The group that submitted our application for consideration for this year's recognition included Brenna Aegerter, Howard Ferris, Amelie Gaudin, Temarat Ghezzehei, Kurt Hembree, William Horwath, Louise Jackson, Betsy Karle, Sarah Light, Mark Lundy, Dan Marcum, Milt McGiffen, Glenn McGourty, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Jeff Mitchell, Gene Miyao, Dan Munk, Tapan Pathak, Samuel Sandoval-Solis, Gary Sposito, Scott Stoddard, Tom Turini, Amber Vinchesi, Jeannette Warner, and Daniele Zaccaria.
Congratulations to all and special thanks to Dan Munk for making the trip to Guam on our behalf!/span>
NRCS Mississippi soil scientist, Allen Curry, visits NRI Project with CASI's Roy, Munk, Koch and Mitchell!
The NRCS Soil Scientist for Mississippi, Allen Curry, who is on a two-month detail visiting the Fresno Area Office with Area Agronomist and long-time CASI Workgroup member, Rob Roy, visited the CASI NRI Project in Five Points, CA and engaged in a lively discussion with Dan Munk, Geoff Koch and Jeff Mitchell at the study site. Curry is working with Roy on a number of efforts and is having the opportunity to see how the NRCS operates in California as part of his training exchange. The group observed the tomato and garbanzo plots before heading to El Ranchero Café in Five Points for a sumptuous luncheon that many CASI visitors in the past have also experienced. A warm CASI welcome to Allen Curry!
Alan Wilcox of Wilcox Agri-Products and UC Cooperative Extension specialist Jeff Mitchell debated the challenges and opportunities for increased implementation of conservation tillage practices on California farms during the World Ag Expo in February, reported Alan Stenum in Farm Equipment magazine.
Wilcox said farmers are going to be resistant to anything they suspect will affect yield. Mitchell said creative innovation underway will have a big impact on some of the more challenging crops that are grown in California.
"This is a region where costs are high. The cost of doing business is high, and maximum yields on any crop are important to even break even," Wilcox said. "We're going to be intensely committed to water management and the maximum amount of water."
Mitchell said farmers in other parts of the U.S. started to switch to reduced disturbance no-till systems to conserve water.
"The recognition of the value of that opportunity to reduce soil water evaporation and have more water going through the crops through transpiration hasn't really sunk in here in California in large fashion," Mitchell said.
While Mitchell noted that water is essential to the discussion of conservation agriculture, there are other important aspects to consider.
"Biological cycling of nutrients in the soil, tightening up the system so there are fewer losses, either to the groundwater as some sort of pollution, or improving the overall soil function and nutrition provision capacity of the soil - that's not a small aspect of the overall system, nor are the opportunities for reducing costs," Mitchell said.
Wilcox said he would characterize the argument differently.
"The point is in all of our tillage strategies - and in every situation - we never compromise yield," he said.
Read the complete debate in Farm Equipment magazine.
More information about the use of conservation agriculture practices can be found on the UC Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation website.