Interactive display materials for Tulare County 4th graders as part of the 2018 AgVentures! Field Day.
In what might be the sixth or seventh year in a row, CASI's Jeff Mitchell participated in the annual AgVentures! educational event for several Tulare County public schools fourth-grader classes on May 11, 2018 at the International Ag Center. This is an annual event that is put on by the Tulare County School District in conjunction with the Tulare County Cooperative Extension and the International Ag Center and it typically involves several hundred students from the local schools. It turns out to be the classic ‘field trip' for kids and seems to be something that brings excitement and hopefully good learning to large numbers of students. A short video of some of the action can be seen at the You Tube site https://youtu.be/R4LDy4Ru9ws
Michael Boparai, a farmer who recently bought two center pivot irrigation systems and installed them on his farmland near the Delta area town of Walnut Grove, invited a diverse group of private sector and UC Cooperative Extension supporters to the field where he's growing processing tomatoes on June 25th 2015. The group included Dan Schueler, Senninger Irrigation Company, Rick Hanshew, Reinke Mfg., a pivot company, Brenna Aegerter, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Gene Miyao, and Jeff Mitchell, - all of UC Cooperative Extension, along with host, Boparai. They discussed opportunities for managing the tomato crop as well as things to try to avoid during the upcoming season. A follow-up article describing applications of overhead irrigation systems for several crops of the Central Valley may be found at http://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.v070n02p62. A short video of the team meeting at Boparai's farm is available at You Tube at https://youtu.be/UDoz1VAJkzM
Field meeting at Boparai overhead irrigation tomato field, Walnut Grove, CA June 25, 2015
New UCD PhD student, Geoff Koch, who is working with Will Horwath on San Joaquin Valley Healthy Soils Program effort.
UCD graduate student, Geoff Koch, and former CDFA Environmental Farming Act's Science Advisory Committee Director, Don Cameron of Helm, CA.
Geoff Koch (left) meeting Mendota farmer, Gary Martin.
Geoff Koch, a brand new PhD student in the Department of Soils and Biogeochemistry at the University of California, Davis, working with soil scientist, Will Horwath, and CASI Cooperative Extension partners, Jeff Mitchell and Dan Munk, began his research project in earnest this week with a whirlwind tour of the San Joaquin Valley study sites where he'll be monitoring soil function and greenhouse emissions during the coming two and a half years. He is working on a CDFA Healthy Soils Program project, “Securing the future of highly productive annual cropping systems in California,” that will be implemented in the longstanding NRI Project field in Five Points where he will compare impacts of reduced disturbance tillage and cover crops on soil health and at the Mendota, CA farm of Gary and Mari Martin where he'll investigate the effects of winter cover crops. Geoff will be in charge of much of the data collection at these sites and for analysis of information that is generated by the project. During his first week on the job, Geoff visited both sites and had chances to meet the Martins and to also meet Don Cameron, the former Director of CDFA's Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Committee which was initially responsible for getting the Healthy Soils and State Water Efficiency Enhancement Programs up and running. We look forward to many very good contributions from Geoff during the coming few years and we welcome him to this exciting new project!
No till tomato transplanting. Five Points, CA. April 23, 2018.
No-till transplanter used for establishing tomatoes in sorghum, garbanzo, and cover crop residue. Five Points, CA. April 23, 2018.
A short video showing no-till tomato transplanting into sorghum, garbanzo and cover crop residues is now available at the You Tube link - https://youtu.be/__lUEagZ8ME . This experimental activity took place in the longstanding NRI Project field in Five Points, CA that is evaluating a variety of cropping system efforts to reduce disturbance, promote biological diversity, decrease emissions, and improve soil function. Several local project partners including farmers, USDA NRCS, private sector, and other agency folks have been part of this study since it was started back in 1999. Over the years, this research has documented significant changes in a number of soil properties or characteristics including increase carbon and nitrogen, greater abundance and diversity of several biological indicators, improved infiltration and aggregation, lower fuel use and dust emissions, and reduced costs. The study is now phasing into an effort to evaluate more vegetable crops using reduced disturbance techniques.
Anna Gomes, a senior student in Agricultural Education at UC Davis, presented the research project that she is working on at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Conference that was held on the UC Davis campus on April 27th. Her work focuses on tradeoffs associated with using cover crops in annual cropping systems and is based on data from the CASI National Research Initiative (NRI) Project that has been underway since 1999.
Locations of farm and field station cover crop water use monitoring sites
Anna's presentation provided findings from the past two years of intensive soil water content monitoring during the winter cover crop growing period. She has been working with a large team of collaborators that includes Dan Munk, UCCE Advisor in Fresno County, Daniele Zaccaria and Samuel Sandoval-Solis, UCCE Water Management Specialists at UCD, Alyssa DeVincentis, graduate student in Sandoval-Solis's lab, Sloane Rice, Junior Specialist in Zaccaria's lab, Khaled Bali, UCCE Water Management Specialist at the Kearney Agricultural Center in Parlier, and a number of long-time local farmer, private sector and NRC partners who've been involved with the work in various ways. This team is working at a number of farm sites throughout California's Central Valley to determine impacts of growing cover crops on soil water storage during the winter. The research team hopes to have their data published by the end of summer 2019.
UCD cover crop water use study team. (L to R) Jeff Mitchell, Samuel Sandoval-Solis, Sloane Rice, Anna Gomes, and Alyssa DeVincentis