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

Kearney News Updates

UC Riverside graduate students broaden their education at Kearney.

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Under the auspices of Georgios Vidalakis, Professor at UC Riverside, a handful of graduate students visited Kearney to broaden their scientific knowledge and see examples of how individuals in careers such as their own can have an impact. The students were from a variety of disciplines including Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Entomology, and Botany. Vidalakis said that one reason he chooses to make the annual trek to Kearney is the great diversity of agriculture represented in this one field station.

 Their morning was spent in the field.

Nematologist Andreas Westphal explained how he is saving years of research time by testing walnut rootstock against nematodes and for compatibility with commercial scion wood, simultaneously. Below.

Andreas Westphal speaking to students.

Themis Michailides, Plant Pathologist, showed the students samples of infected pistachios. Later he said of this, “The disease is anthracnose of pistachio caused by Colletotrichum fioriniae, according to Project Scientist, Paulo Lichtemberg. It is a new disease in California and caused major problem in a few orchards in Glenn Co. The same disease in 2010 destroyed 75% of the Australian pistachio crop.  It is fortunate that the Kerman pistachio that is extensively planted in California shows more tolerance to this pathogen than the susceptible Red Aleppo cultivar. At present, we (with the lead of Paulo Lichtemberg) are doing epidemiological studies to determine conditions affecting the disease, evaluation of pistachio cultivar susceptibility to the pathogen, and fungicide trials to manage it.” Below.

Themis Michailides with students.

The students examined a novel trapping method for leaffooted bug as Entomologist Houston Wilson related control strategies for this emerging pest of pistachios. Below.

Houston Wilson with students.
 

After lunch, Leslie Holland, a Plant Pathology PhD Candidate working with CE Specialist Florent Trouillas, gave a presentation to students on the important role of plant disease diagnosis to growers and to research institutions. Holland spoke with students about emerging diseases in the fruit and nut crop industry in California and the research being conducted to manage these diseases.

The group continued their day learning from Director Jeff Dahlberg how he and just six other people on the board of the Whole Grains Counsel developed the Whole Grains Stamp. The stamp, used to help consumers make healthy eating choices, is now on 12,000 different products in 58 countries. Vidalakis said that for the students to see firsthand the kind of influence a small group can have in the world was a “jaw-dropping” moment.

 

 

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018 at 1:56 PM

National Honey Bee Day 2018: Brush up on your knowledge of bee protection.

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Celebrate National Honey Bee Day by brushing up on your knowledge of bee protection—check out the newly revised Best Management Practices to Protect Bees from Pesticides and Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings from UC IPM. These resources will help you strike the right balance between applying pesticides to protect crops and reducing the risk of harming our most important pollinators.

The best management practices now contain important information regarding the use of adjuvants and tank mixes, preventing the movement of pesticide-contaminated dust, and adjusting chemigation practices to reduce bee exposure to pesticide-contaminated water. The Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings have also been updated to include ratings for 38 new pesticides, including insecticides (baits, mixtures, and biological active ingredients), molluscicides (for snail and slug control), and fungicides.

Most tree and row crops are finished blooming by now, but it is a good idea to learn about bee protection year-round. Visit these resources today to choose pesticides that are least toxic to bees and learn how you can help prevent bees from being harmed by pesticide applications.

Honey bee on almond blossom. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark.

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at 11:05 AM

Five staff and one academic retire at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center in 2018

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Five staff members and one academic based at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, representing a total 148 years of service, were honored today with a luncheon to mark of their retirement.

Center director Jeff Dahlberg presented each retiree with a calendar signed by their colleagues and wished them well in retirement.

The retirees are:

With 41 years of service, Tom Buzo, staff research associate in the nematology lab
 
With 19 years of service, Lorraine Holm, financial services assistant/team leader, Business Operations Center
 
With 13 years of service, Becky Phene, staff research associate in the pomology laboratory
With 17 years of service, Bob Ray, superintendent of the physical plant
 
With 22 years of service, Laura Van der Staay, program and facility coordinator
 
With 36 years of service, Larry Williams, UC Davis plant physiologist
 
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 3:47 PM

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

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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.

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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

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