Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
University of California
Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Kearney News Updates

New tower signals advance of Wi-Fi communication at Kearney.

From its solid foundation underground to its antenna poised above the rooftops, the new tower at Kearney is the keystone to blanketing the research fields with Wi-Fi. Access points in the field will complete the hardware portion of the tower system. Where possible, the access point hardware taps into existing electrical infrastructure at wells and buildings. Where necessary, five solar powered access points will be installed to augment coverage.

Some of the practical applications of this system include remotely retrieving data from multiple sensors without removing them from their collection points, confirming sensor operation from main campuses and other locations with zero travel time, and monitoring and optimizing Kearney well function.

Looking forward to this expansion of field Wi-Fi, Director Jeff Dahlberg anticipates, “Real-time big data collection on a field scale level.”

With all 330 acres of Kearney gaining Wi-Fi coverage soon, a whole new era of field research data collection may be coming.

Skilled Kearney personnel prepare the foundation then maneuver the tower into place.

 

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 11:21 AM

Summer—it’s a time for swimming, BBQs, camping, and eating invasive species.

Last week during California Invasive Species Action Week (June 2 – June 10), we highlighted several pests, but there are many more invasive species out there. Now that you know about them, share your knowledge of invasive species with others. And no matter what your summer plans, here are some things YOU can do about invasive species from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Department of Food and Agriculture.

 

YOU:  I'M TRAVELLING TO AMAZING PLACES

 

YOU:  I'LL BE WORKING IN MY GARDEN

 

YOU:  I'LL BE NEAR THE WATER OR ON A BOAT

 

YOU:  I'LL BE OUT AND ABOUT CAMPING, HIKING, OR RIDING HORSES

 

YOU:  I'LL DEFINITELY CONTINUE TO LEARN ABOUT INVASIVES

  • Get to know your local invaders.
  • Learn about California's invasive plants.
  • Find out which species are threats to California.
  • Learn alternatives to releasing unwanted fish, aquatic plants, and other pets.
  • Eat them. Yum. Check out these websites to find out who is edible and how to prepare them.

If you missed it this year, help in the fight next year by learning and participating during California Invasive Species Action Week.

 

If you've got a great recipe for wild fennel, the website Eat the Invaders wants to know. Wild fennel is listed as moderately invasive by the California Invasive Plant Council (CAL-IPC). It came from southern Europe and the Mediterranean where it is used as a spice. (Photo: Joseph M. DiTomaso, UC Davis Dept. of Plant Sciences)
If you've got a great recipe for invasive brown garden snail, the website Eat the Inbaders wants to know. Don't bring snails and other animals into California for food! That's how the brown garden snail ended up here in the 1850's. (Photo: Jack Kelly Clark, UC IPM)

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 10:29 AM

Invasive species...not very a-peel-ing for citrus.

Citrus plants can be hosts for invasive pests. Knowing what pests are invasive and how to avoid them is an important part of nursery production. If you work in a citrus nursery, you play an important role in looking for invasive pests and protecting the nursery—and ultimately California's citrus industry—from invasion.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to prevent invasive pests and their harmful impact to agriculture. When pests or diseases are new to an area, we call them invasive. Many of the laws that are in place for citrus are to prevent new pests and diseases from establishing. 

Citrus nurseries that become infested with new pests may be quarantined until the infestation is gone, preventing the plants from being moved or sold. Sometimes it requires the plants to be destroyed. Sometimes it results in the loss of a business. 

You might have heard of some these invasive pests in California citrus—diaprepes root weevil, light brown apple moth, and red imported fire ant. Some invasive pests are diseases carried by an insect such as citrus variegated chlorosis spread by glassy winged sharpshooter, brown citrus aphid in Florida and Mexico making citrus tristeza even more problematic, and huanglongbing spread by Asian citrus psyllid. 

Learn more about these invasive pests and how to stop their invasion by viewing an online training for workers of citrus growing in protective structures by UC Cooperative Extension Specialist Beth Grafton-Cardwell. Citrus Nursery Protective Structure Worker Training provides information on growing healthy citrus plants in structures and protecting them from common insect pests and diseases, including invasive ones in Chapter 3. You can also find on UC IPM's online training webpage, training about Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing for retail nursery personnel and for UC Master Gardeners. 

When pests first arrive in California, an effort is made to detect them by searching the plants and by trapping them.  It is important for you to be a detective and help in this effort:

  • Watch for anything unusual and report anything new.
  • Keep yourself and anything you work with in the protected structure clean, disinfected and free of pests.
  • Keep the protective structure sound by fixing holes in screens, gaps in the structure, and unprotected vents.
  • Use good practices in the nursery such as planning your day to start indoors and finish outdoors so that you don't bring outdoor pests inside.
  • Don't bring in pests from other areas in budwood or fruit.

Californians can help in the fight against invasive species by learning and participating during California Invasive Species Action Week, June 2–10. 

During the week, spend your lunch with us learning the latest about invasive tree killing pests, aquatic nasties like quagga mussels and nutria, and how the invasive weed/wildfire cycle is altering our ecosystems! 

Adult diaprepes root weevil, an invasive pest in California citrus. (Photo: David Rosen, UC IPM)

Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 5:20 PM

Dress right for work – check out the new UC IPM online course on personal protective equipment that has 1.5 hours of laws and regulation CEU.

Spring is in full swing and summer is right around the corner. If you work in agricultural, turf, landscape, or structural settings, you are probably at your busiest. If you handle pesticides as part of your work, you most likely wear some sort of personal protective equipment (PPE). However, do you know if you are wearing the right type for the job that you do? Wearing the appropriate PPE, taking it off the right way, and correctly cleaning it prevents unnecessary pesticide exposure to yourself and others. Learn the steps so you don't expose your family members or those around you to pesticide residues by viewing a brand new online course on Proper Selection, Use, and Removal of Personal Protective Equipment from the UC Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM).

The course is approved by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) for 1.5 hours in the Laws and Regulations category. This course is designed for all pesticide handlers with the goal to provide them with information on pesticide labels and the California Code of Regulations (CCR) to help them select, wear, remove, and dispose of or store PPE.

In California, all pesticide handlers (applicators, mixers, loaders, those who transport pesticides, or those who fix application equipment) are legally required to wear PPE. However, in order to get the most protection from PPE, it must be used correctly. Violations involving the incorrect use of PPE were the second most commonly reported type of agricultural-use violation in 2017 as reported by DPR (PDF).

The new PPE online course opens with a scenario describing a real example of an accident reported to DPR that led to an incident of pesticide exposure because the correct eye protection was not worn. The content that follows is divided into six instructional modules, highlighting types of PPE, how to select it, and when certain items should be worn. Answer short questions about the different types of PPE. Open pesticide labels to learn how to select the right PPE and learn when certain items should be worn. Short how-to videos and animated sequences demonstrate the proper way to put on or remove items such as gloves, coveralls, respirators, and eyewear. You must pass a final test with 70% or higher to receive your certificate of completion and continuing education hours.

If this is the year to renew your license with DPR, get a jumpstart on it. Take this new course and all the other UC IPM online courses to refresh your knowledge and get the CEUs you need. There is a $30 fee for taking Proper Selection, Use, and Removal of Personal Protective Equipment. You are welcome to view the content for free on YouTube, but without the activities, final exam, and continuing education credit. For more information about license renewal, visit DPR.

Pesticide handlers must clean their work clothes separate from the family laundry to prevent pesticide contamination.

As demonstrated by fluorescent tracer viewed under a blacklight, pesticide residue can be transferred to the face when goggles are removed without washing gloves first.

 

Posted on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 12:09 PM

Parlier High School students explore applied agriculture and natural resources research careers by visiting Kearney in April.

About 35 Parlier High School students came to Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center (KARE) not knowing much about ANR or what to expect. They started the day with an entomology workshop conducted by Julie Sievert, a staff research associate at KARE. A tour of research plots demonstrated many different types of disciplines and strategies to research and extend science-based knowledge to address important agricultural and natural resources issues. During lunch, most of the students wanted to return to the world of entomology. As the students left, they commented on how this was a fantastic field trip and that they never knew how interesting and fulfilling applied Ag and natural resources research could be.

Parlier High School students engaged in an entomology workshop at KARE.

Many of the Parlier High School students returned to further explore entomology on their own during lunch.

 

Posted on Monday, May 14, 2018 at 11:59 AM

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