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Posts Tagged: Rachael Long

Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium to meet in Reno Nov. 19-21

“Optimizing Yield and Quality in Irrigated Forages” will be the focus of discussion at the 2019 Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium. More than 550 people are registered for the symposium, which will be held Nov. 19-21 at the Grand Sierra Hotel in Reno, Nev.

Irrigation management, forage quality and pest management are among the many topics that will be covered at the symposium. The comprehensive program features 62 speakers, 70 exhibitors, student poster sessions and an auction.

For a complete link to the program and registration/exhibitor information, please see the California Alfalfa & Forage Workgroup website at https://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu.

This program was organized by Cooperative Extension specialists and farmers from 11 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

This year we feature several important areas of emphasis: Irrigation Workshop, Pest Management, Systems, Alternative Forages, and a ‘Forage Quality Mini-Symposium' on the last day.

Here are some of the agenda highlights:

Day One – Tuesday, Nov. 19, FORAGE IRRIGATION WORKSHOP: This one-day workshop provides many of the basics of irrigation management for forage crops.

  • Importance of Irrigation Management in Forage Crops
  • What is ET and How to Measure?
  • Soil Moisture Monitoring
  • Irrigation Scheduling
  • Fertigation and Use of Degraded Waters
  • Salinity Management
  • Deficit Irrigation of Alfalfa
  • Analysis of Sprinkler Systems
  • LEPA/LESA and Mobile Drip
  • Variable Rate Irrigation
  • Surface Irrigation Systems Design
  • Automation of Furrow and Flood Irrigation
  • Comparing Systems on-Farm
  • Drip Irrigation Systems in Alfalfa
  • Management of SDI on-Farm
  • Innovations from Companies in Irrigation Management

5 p.m.-7 p.m. SYMPOSIUM WELCOME RECEPTION Hors D'oeuvres and No Host Cocktails, Exhibits Open, Posters on Display

Day Two – Wednesday, Nov. 20, MAIN SESSION: ECONOMICS, WATER, PEST MANAGEMENT, FORAGE SYSTEMS & ALTERNATIVE FORAGES: This features an array of topics on the environment, economic trends, pest management and alternative forages.

  • Climate Change and Forage Production in Western States
  • Alfalfa Rotation Studies with Alfalfa, Small Grains, Corn
  • Benefits of Alfalfa in Rotations
  • Snake River Aquifer Groundwater Recharge
  • Alfalfa for Groundwater Recharge
  • Hay Industry Trends
  • Western Dairy Trends
  • World Trends in Exports
  • Key Issues for Hay Exporters

SYMPOSIUM BANQUET LUNCH

  • Control of Rodents Using Drones
  • Managing Beldings Ground Squirrels
  • Managing Weeds in Alfalfa
  • Glyphosate Injury in Roundup Ready Alfalfa
  • Clover Rood Cuculio
  • Insect Resistance in Alfalfa Weevil
  • IPM Program for Alfalfa Winter Pests in Deserts
  • Sugarcane Aphid and Control Strategies
  • Grazing Techniques on 7.2 Million Acres of alfalfa in Argentina
  • Simulated Grazing Timing of Annual Cereals
  • Optimizing Management of Small grain Forages
  • Management of N in Timothy
  • Tef as a Forage Crop
  • Rhodes Grass as an Alternative Forage
  • Corn and Sorghum Forages: Water and N Implications
  • Utilization of Sugarbeet as a Forage

5 p.m.-7 p.m. SYMPOSIUM RECEPTION Hors D'oeuvres and No Host Cocktails, Exhibits Open, Posters on Display. 6 p.m. CALIFORNIA ALFALFA & FORAGE ASSOCIATION LIVE AUCTION

Day Three – Thursday, Nov. 21, MAIN SESSION-FORAGE QUALITY MINI-SYMPOSIUM This is an event co-sponsored by the NIRS consortium and the Forage Testing Association

  • Linkage of Testing with Markets
  • Horse Nutritional Requirements and Testing
  • Importance of Fiber and Fiber Digestibility
  • Representing the Value of Energy, Protein, and Fiber in Feedstuffs
  • Key Hay Sampling Protocols
  • How to Choose a High-Quality Testing Lab
  • Standardization of Forage Testing and NFTA Certification
  • Misconceptions of NIRS Analysis
  • Multi-State Analysis of Forage Quality
  • Importance of Dry Matter Analysis
  • Future of Forage Testing 

3 p.m. ADJOURN SYMPOSIUM

See the complete program at https://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu. Register for the program, hotel and exhibitors at http://calhay.org/symposium. Continuing education units will be provided (24 units CCA, 3 units PCA).

Posted on Monday, November 18, 2019 at 11:35 AM
  • Author: Dan Putnam
  • Author: Rachael Long
Tags: Alfalfa (2), Dan Putnam (2), Rachael Long (14)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

California elderberries have rich benefits for farms and diets

Native California elderberries can be found at the intersection of sustainable farming, super nutrition and economic viability. Naturally drought tolerant, flavorful and packed with nutrients, they are capturing the interest of farmers, health-conscious consumers and scientists.

Elderberries were the focus of a field day offered by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP) in September at Cloverleaf Farm, an organic berry and tree fruit operation in Dixon.

The last of this season's elderberries were hanging on the plants during the Elderberry Field Day Sept. 17.

Elderberries occur naturally around the world. In California, Native Americans used the tree's stems for making flutes, berries for food and purple dye, and bark, leaves and flowers for their purported anti-inflammatory, diuretic and laxative properties.

“They had a relationship with the plant for food, medicine and music,” said SAREP academic coordinator Sonja Brodt. “We wish to honor the elderberry's history here and thousands of years of management by California native tribes.”

UC Cooperative Extension advisor Rachael Long said elderberries are her favorite native plant.

“They're pretty in the spring and summer. The flowers smell like cloves. It's a wonderful fragrance,” she said.

But perhaps the best attribute of elderberries for Long, a proponent of planting hedgerows on the edges of farmland, is the tree's ecological benefits. Elderberries can be among the rows of trees, shrubs, grasses and sedges in hedgerows that attract beneficial insects and pollinators to farms to help with biocontrol of pests and pollination of plants in adjacent crops.

“Flowering native plants like elderberries, toyon, Christmas berry, coffee berry, manzanita and coyote brush provide nectar and pollen for native bees, honey bees and other insects,” Long said. “I see a lot of green lace wings (predators of aphids, spider mites and other pests) in elderberry.”

Long reported that a tomato farm didn't have to spray as much for aphids because of the beneficial insects attracted by the hedgerow. “They saved $300 per acre each year,” she said.

UCCE advisor Rachael Long said elderberries can be used in a hedgerow designed to attract beneficial insects.

Hedgerows require long-term planning and care, including weed control. Establishing a hedgerow costs about $4,000 for a 1,000-foot-long planting with a single row of shrubs and trees bordered by native perennial grasses. At that rate, Long has calculated that a return on investment in pest control takes about 15 years. For pollination, the return on investment is about 7 years.

Installation of hedgerows can be eligible for cost sharing with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Costs can also be offset by harvesting the elderflowers and elderberries in the hedgerow and making value-added products – such as syrups and jams – or selling the flowers or berries to a processor.

Farmer Katie Fyhrie shared how Cloverleaf Farm is managing elderberries in a hedgerow, harvesting flowers in the spring to make and bottle elderflower cordial, and harvesting berries in the fall to produce and bottle deep purple sweet-tart syrup. Sixteen ounce bottles of cordial and syrup sell for $12 each. The cordial and syrup are ideal for serving with seltzer and ice for a fruity and uniquely wild-tasting drink.

Fyhrie is also working with Brodt of SAREP to gather data for research on best production practices, farm and processing labor costs, and yield comparison between native plants and named varieties from the Midwest. The study includes data from three California farms.

Farmer Katie Fyhrie holds up a bottle of Cloverleaf Farm's elderflower cordial.

The project is a collaboration among the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (a program of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis), the UC Agricultural Issues Center, the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology and four farmers to assess the farm management practices, cost, nutritional content, and market potential of California elderberries.

While laboratory research comparing the nutritional characteristics of the California blue elderberry with the North American black and the European black is continuing at UC Davis, food science professor Alyson Mitchell and her graduate student Katie Uhl were able to share what is already known about the nutritional benefits of the fruit.

Processing the mature elderberries with sugar allows small-scale producers to make deep purple elderberry syrup.

They said elderberries are high in vitamin C, dietary fiber, phenolic acids and anthocyanins. Elderberries contain antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. While they have a strong history as a treatment for colds and flu, more studies are needed to understand their medicinal use, Mitchell said.

The field day in Dixon was among the first outcomes of the two-year project. A growers' production guide, cost of production study, an assessment of market demand and nutritional analyses are also planned. The information will be made available, along with other resources on elderberry cultivation and processing, on the ASI website.

 

Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 8:30 AM
Tags: elderberry (1), Rachael Long (14), Sonja Brodt (1)

California takes the lead on hybrid sunflower seed production

Rachael Long takes notes on sunflower seed production.

Enjoying a tasty sunflower seed snack? Cooking with sunflower oil? Thank a California sunflower seed grower for producing the hybrid seed that's used for planting sunflower crops throughout the United States and the world, for confectionery and oil seed production.

California farmers grow about 70,000 acres of sunflower, mostly in the Sacramento Valley, for hybrid seed stock.

“We have perfect conditions for growing sunflowers, with hot, dry summers and plenty of good irrigation water for producing high quality seed,” says Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties. “We also have good pollination by honey bees and field isolation from wild sunflowers, needed for high yields and genetic purity of planting seed stock.”

Indeed, take a look at the lovely fields of sunflowers blooming in the summertime. Their striking show of bright yellow faces across the valley's vast agricultural landscapes elicit feelings of warmth and happiness.

“But don't stop there!” says Long. “Take a closer look at the fields and you'll see rows of plants with single large flowers alternating with rows of smaller plants with multiple flowers. Stalks with single flowers are female, smaller ones are male; cross pollination occurs by honey bees to produce the hybrid planting seed, harvested from the single female flowers.”

To assist farmers in producing hybrid sunflower seed crops, Long led a team of researchers to produce a new 2019 sunflower hybrid seed production manual for California. The manual provides information on production needs, such as irrigation and nutrient management, as well as a color guide to insect pests, diseases, and weeds of concern for hybrid sunflower seed production.

“In order to ship seed to worldwide markets, strict field certifications are in place to ensure that pests endemic to California are not spread elsewhere,” Long says. Weeds, insects and diseases growers should watch for are identified in the manual. 

“Sunflower Hybrid Seed Production in California” is available for free download at https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8638. In addition to Long, authors of the manual include UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors Sarah Light and Konrad Mathesius, retired USDA plant pathologist Thomas Gulya, UC Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist Khaled Bali, and emeritus UC Cooperative Extension soils specialist Roland Meyer.

“A special thanks to the sunflower seed industry and associate editor Dan Putnam, UC ANR agronomist at UC Davis, for their extensive contributions to this manual to make it a valuable resource for sunflower seed growers,” Long adds. “All of us are also grateful to UC ANR Communication Services for putting together a high quality publication!”

 

Posted on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 11:45 AM
Tags: Rachael Long (14), sunflowers (5)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Garbanzo bean production guide published for small but thriving industry

Rachael Long examines a garbanzo field in California for stand health.

Try topping your salads with some tasty garbanzo beans this summer. Not only are they a healthful source of protein, vitamins and minerals, but the ‘green' legumes are produced in California with a small environmental footprint!

California farmers grow about 10,000 acres of garbanzo beans, mostly for the canning market.

“We have the right growing conditions, including cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers, to produce high-quality, large, creamy-white garbanzo beans for high-end markets, like salad bars,” says Rachael Long, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties. “Other areas, such as Washington State, grow a smaller garbanzo bean destined for processing, like hummus, a creamy vegetable spread.”

Garbanzos, also called chickpeas, are originally from the Middle East, where they have been farmed since ancient times. In California, their heritage dates back to the Spanish Mission era. California garbanzo beans are grown in the winter time, minimizing water use. The nitrogen-fixing legumes supply their own nitrogen and require few pesticides for production as the plants secrete acids that ward off insect pests.

To assist farmers in production practices, Long led a team of researchers to produce a new 2019 Garbanzo (chickpea) production manual for the dry bean industry in California.

“This is a great resource for farmers and the industry,” says Nathan Sano, manager for the California Dry Bean Advisory Board, about the publication, which covers garbanzo production from seed selection to harvesting and markets.

The California garbanzo bean production manual is available for free online.

The manual identifies garbanzo varieties that have pest and disease resistance. Nutrient management information helps growers comply with regulations for protecting groundwater from nitrate. The irrigation section provides tables on water needs for crops grown in different areas of California, helping to conserve water.

“Our UC ANR Grain-Legume workgroup started this production manual back in 1992,” Long said. “I'm thankful for a strong team and grower and industry input and support. I also appreciate the incredible mentoring and reviews of this manual by Roland Meyer, UC Cooperative Extension emeritus soil specialist, and a fantastic editor, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy specialist Dan Putnam, to make this publication a reality. This was a big group effort, and I appreciate everyone's contributions to make this a valuable resource for the California dry bean industry.” 

The California garbanzo bean production manual is available for free online at https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8634.

In addition to Long and Meyer, co-authors include UC Cooperative Extension farm advisors Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Konrad Mathesius, Sarah Light, Mariano Galla, Shannon Mueller, Allan Fulton and Nick Clark, and UC Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist Khaled Bali.

Posted on Monday, May 20, 2019 at 3:01 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

A Field Day for Learning About Cover Crops and Beneficial Insects

Larva of lady beetle munching on an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keeatley Garvey)

So you're a rural landowner thinking about planting cover crops in your fields or orchards. And/or, you want to learn more about beneficial insects. You're in luck. The...

Larva of lady beetle munching on an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keeatley Garvey)
Larva of lady beetle munching on an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keeatley Garvey)

Larva of lady beetle munching on an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keeatley Garvey)

A multi-colored Asian beetles snags an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A multi-colored Asian beetles snags an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A multi-colored Asian beetles snags an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

These are lady beetle eggs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
These are lady beetle eggs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

These are lady beetle eggs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, March 23, 2018 at 5:00 PM

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