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

Kearney News Updates

KARE supports a June 6, 2017 soil management training at West Side Research & Extension Center in Five Points.

A very diverse and large group of farmers, consultants, public agency, and private sector folks participated in a highly successful training session on the benefits of soil management for farming systems at the site of the long-term USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture National Research Initiative (NRI) Project field in Five Points on Tuesday, June 6th. The overflow crowd took in discussions by farmers Scott Park, Jesse Sanchez, Alan Sano, and Tom Willey; UC Davis researchers Randy Southard, Rad Schmidt, Howard Ferris, Sloane Rice; and KARE's own Jeff Mitchell.  Attendees also participated in a number of demonstrations of soil function that were provided by NRCSers Sheryl Feit and Kabir Zahangir and were also able to view soil profiles of two of the tillage and cover crop systems that have been evaluated at the site for over 17 years with soil pit trainers, Phil Smith and Rafael Ortiz of NRCS and Randy Southard of UC Davis.  The training event was organized to provide evidence and experiences related to the benefits that might be achieved through a dedication to reduced disturbance management and soil biology.

Take-home messages from the training event emphasized the fact that no-till has now been shown to be a successful seeding technique for a range of crops in California, that deliberate and sustained attention to sustaining soil biology through practices such as reduced disturbance, cover crops and compost amendment applications may have functional benefits to farming systems, and that there are great opportunities for expanding the application of such practices to good advantage particularly in Central Valley annual crop systems. 

Handout informational materials were provided and may be requested by writing to Jeff Mitchell at  Educational videos summarizing progress that has been made at the NRI Project site over the years are also available through CASI

In addition, tour visits of the long-term site can be scheduled by contacting Mitchell at (559) 303-9689.  Now is a particularly good time to visit the site as there are two no-till crops, garbanzos and sorghum, growing simultaneously throughout the entire study field.

Attendees of the Benefits of Soil Management for Farming Systems event held June 6th in Five Points, CA.

Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 2:02 PM
  • Author: Jeffrey Mitchell

California farm demonstration network invites collaboration.

As many folks at KARE already know, the California Farm Demonstration Network was recently formed and formally launched in a MOU signing ceremony that was held May 5th at the Winters, CA orchard of Russ Lester.  The Network is a partnership of several groups including the California Farm Bureau Federation, the USDA NRCS, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC ANR, and the UC Davis College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, plus many farmers, local farmer associations, and other private and public sector affiliates.  The attached You Tube link provides a brief introductory overview of a small part of the Network's initial efforts.

Since UC ANR is a formal signatory to the MOU that launched this effort and because many of us in ANR are already and will hopefully be involved with the Network's efforts in the future, we would like to actively encourage participation of any and all ANR colleagues who'd like to become involved with the Network in any capacity.  At this point, for instance, we welcome your involvement in everything from service on the Network Steering Committee (or other technical and advisory committees that are now being formed) to hands-on collaboration with any of the various farm demonstrations that are going to be started and that you'll have direct roles in starting yourselves.  This is frankly a great time for everyone to step up and to register their interest in becoming involved.  The overall purpose of the Network is to increase adoption of conservation agriculture, soil health, and climate-smart systems in California.  Its goals emphasize the development of water-, climate-, and nutrient-smart systems for California's diverse crop production environments and its focus areas include, but are not limited to the following:  participatory learning resulting in the adoption of improved management practices grounded in sound science and experience-based principles, the public, voluntary showcasing of innovative systems developed by experienced farmer leaders, a program of farm demonstration evaluations that employ monitoring, data collection, and analysis of findings, and the use of proven, creative methods for sharing, discussing, and communicating results and findings to scale-up even broader adoption of improved systems.

We sincerely welcome your support of and interest in the Network and hope that colleagues throughout the Division will become involved with it and in particular, if anyone would like to help by serving on the Network's Steering Committee as a delegate of ANR, please step forward and let us know.  

The introductory video was edited and produced by two students in the Soils and Biogeochemistry Group at UC Davis, Jessica Chiartas and Irfan Ainuddin.

The California farm demonstration network MOU signing ceremony held May 5th, 2017.

Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 1:38 PM
  • Author: Jeffrey Mitchell

Sprayer calibration and coverage training for improved California red scale control in citrus will be held at Lindcove Research and Extension Center on June 13, 2017.

The Citrus Research Board and UC Agriculture and Natural resources have partnered  to present a sprayer calibration and coverage training for improved California red scale control in citrus. The training will be at Lindcove Research and Extension Center (LREC) Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 7:30 am - 1pm. Four hours of continuing education hours have been requested. The agenda includes: California red scale control issues; spray calibration basics; a field demonstration on the differences in coverage based on two ground speeds; a field demonstration based on two fan settings; calibration measuring flow rate and land rate; the the future of spray technology. The meeting will include lunch. Presenters will include Ali Pourreza, UCCE Advisor, Kearney Ag REC (KARE); Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Dept of Entomology UCR, and KARE, and Director of LREC; Lynn Wunderlich, UCCE Central Sierra Farm Advisor; Matt Strmiska, Adaptiv; and Franz Niederholzer, UCCE Colusa County Farm Advisor.   

To register, please contact the Citrus Research Board at 559-738-0246 or register online by June 9th. The cost is $30 per person, and seats are limited to 80 people; 4 hours of other have been approved by CDPR. 

The agenda for the sprayer calibration and coverage training on June 13, 2017.

File photo of adult California red scale.

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 2:07 PM

KARE works with 300 Tulare County Fourth Graders at 2017 AgVentures Day!

KARE outreach and education leader, Laura Van Der Staay, along with UCD Cooperative Extension Cropping Systems Specialist, Jeff Mitchell, had their hands full with over 300 enthusiastic Tulare County 4th graders as part of the 2017 half-day AgVentures extravaganza that was held at the International Ag Center on May 12.  This is the third time the two of them have taken part in this activity that is always a big hit with the kids, teachers and parents.  Students learned about soil science and  research that is underway at the KARE Center related to soil function and management and also had a chance to see up close and personal how soils can change if they are managed using conservation agriculture practices.  While the day is always grueling, both Van Der Staay and Mitchell departed after a hearty hamburger lunch that was provided by the event organizers with the satisfaction of having hopefully expanded horizons and inspired a new generation of science-loving students.

KARE’s Laura Van Der Staay working with Tulare County fourth graders who were part of the 2017 AgVentures Day at the International Ag Center in Tulare, CA, May 12, 2017.

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 1:46 PM
  • Author: Jeffrey Mitchell

Please consider attending the two drone workshops scheduled at Kearney April 13th and April 14th 2017.

UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center (KARE) will be the location for two related drone workshops. The goals of these workshops are to provide an overview of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology and best practices for data collection, and an insight of drone regulations and data processing to affiliates of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), as well as public and private resource professionals. 

Each workshop costs $30. 

Drone Technology and Data Collection, Thursday, April 13th, 2017, 11:00am to 4:00pm.  This workshop will provide an overview of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology and best practices for data collection. It is designed for participants with little to no experience with drone technology, who are interested exploring practical applications of drones for a variety of data collection interests. The workshop will begin with a lecture on drone technology, and considerations for flight planning and deploying your drone.  We will then go outside for a drone demo, where we will be joined by Green Valley International who specializes in LIDAR drone applications, for some hands-on experience with flying a variety of common quad-copter platforms. To conclude the workshop, we will discuss a wide variety of potential scientific and management oriented applications for drones, and associated mission specific considerations. Click here to register.

Drone Regulations and Data ProcessingFriday, April 14th, 2017, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. This workshop is designed for participants with little to no experience with drone data or GIS software applications. Following a brief lecture on regulations and how to prepare for the FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot License test, hands-on exercises will introduce you to the steps you will need to know for processing drone imagery and Lidar data to create your own maps. To conclude the workshop, we will compare the various types of data that can be collected by drones to identify the advantages of each data set for different research and management interests. Click here to register. 

File photo of a previous drone workshop.

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 10:07 PM

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