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Posts Tagged: Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center

UC research could help farmers face droughts worldwide

Sorghum is not only a potential drought-tolerant crop for the San Joaquin Valley, it also presents the opportunity for scientists to understand the mechanism behind drought tolerance at the genetic level, said UCCE sorghum specialist Jeff Dahlberg in a segment on ABC 30 Action News.

Reporter Cristina Davies spent an hour and a half at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier during the sorghum harvest to learn about the potential of sorghum research. 

"If we can elucidate the genetics behind (drought tolerance), what we believe is we can use those genetics to see if the genetics are available in corn, or in rice, or in wheat," Dahlberg said. "I think the genes may be there. We just don't have the tools yet to search for the genes in those crops."

Conducting drought-tolerance research in California is ideal because the summer is typically devoid of rain. Researchers can control exactly how much water is applied to each sorghum plot. The research has revealed more than 100 genetic markers that may confer drought tolerance.

"We've been really thrilled with the data that's been coming out of this. Like most research, we are learning so many things we don't understand," Dahlberg said.

The research is being conducted in collaboration with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service research center, which is across the street from Kearney. USDA research scientist Devin Coleman-Derr was present for the sorghum harvest.

"Like humans take probiotics, there may be a use for microbes in sort of promoting better and better yields in the field," Coleman-Derr said. 

The 330-acre UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center is the University of California's largest off-campus agricultural research facility.

UCCE specialist Jeff Dahlberg studies sorghum at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
UCCE specialist Jeff Dahlberg studies sorghum at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.

Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 9:43 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Natural Resources

Drone technology on display at UC research center

A drone takes a test run over a field at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center.
The UC Desert Research and Extension Center hosted a workshop for employees and local stakeholders on potential uses for drone technology in agriculture, reported Edwin Delgado in the Imperial Valley Press

“The intent of this workshop is to start bringing the knowledge about unmanned aerial systems to the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources division and the public at large,” said Sean Hogan, coordinator of Informatics Geographic Information Systems for UC ANR. “There is so much curiosity about it right now, it's a growing industry and there is a lot of concern and controversy about the misuses on it.”

The article said the UC system now has the green light to begin using drones. Hogan is holding workshops throughout the state to share his expertise with UC ANR employees and members of the community.

Desert Research and Extension Center director Jairo Diaz said the workshop was important because participants were able to see a demonstration of how the technology works and how it can be applied to the projects and research they are currently working on.

“These workshops that give growers and stakeholders can use in the area are very important because tech like this can help in the near future help find out different types of issues on the field like management of nutrients, water and find out to improve management of field,” Diaz said.

At the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center last week, technicians tested a drone that will be used throughout the summer to collect growth data on 600 varieties of sorghum begin produced under different irrigation regimens. With imaging and lidar, the drone collects information on leaf area and biomass in half an hour that would take a full day for a person in the field. 

Read more about the sorghum research at Kearney here.

Phase 3 complete in Kearney solar energy project

JKB Energy has completed three phases of a solar energy project at UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension (KARE) Center in Parlier. The system eliminates thousands of pounds of emissions and saves the center tens of thousands of dollars in energy costs annually, according to a JKB Energy news release. Kearney is one of nine research and extension centers located throughout the state that are part of the University of California Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources (UC ANR).

JKB Energy has worked with Robert Ray, superintendent of the UC ANR KARE physical plant, to maximize their bill offset program. Since 2012, when the program started, UC ANR KARE has steadily cut its energy costs.

After the completion of the final phase, projected for 2016, the center's “postharvest” meter's annual electricity costs will be offset by approximately 96 percent. Postharvest research is science conducted after a crop has been harvested and includes such processes as of cooling, cleaning, sorting, and packaging and how these might affect the quality of stored fruits and vegetables.

According to JKB Energy, over 25 years, this project will eliminate the equivalent of:

  • 473,735 pounds of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas
  • 1,520 pounds of nitrogen dioxide, which creates smog
  • 1,376 pounds of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain
  • 94 pounds of particulates that cause asthma
  • 770,814 miles driven in an average car

The system is the equivalent of taking 2.5 cars off the road for 25 years, or planting 4.1 acres of trees. 

The solor array at Kearney is at the bottom of the photo.
Posted on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 3:49 PM

UC president Janet Napolitano visits Kearney REC

UC President Janet Napolitano discusses California agriculture on an aerial tour with farmer Don Bransford, who chairs the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources. (Photo: Doug Parker)
University of California president Janet Napolitano visited the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier this week to consult with her top agricultural advisors about a new food security and sustainability initiative, reported Hannah Furfaro in the Fresno Bee.

On her way to Kearney, Napolitano viewed California cropland, rivers and reservoirs that have been impacted by three years of drought.

"There are areas that clearly are being allowed to remain fallow due to drought, there are hills that should be green that are brown, and there are reservoirs where you can clearly see the water mark," she said. "Through the extension service we will work with growers throughout the state to manage this the best way possible."

Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau executive director, said growers' relationship with the UC's extension field offices has historically played a big role in the success of the Valley's agricultural economy, Furfaro reported. Advances made in the lab quickly make it to the farms, he said, in large part because of how well regional centers work with farmers.

Alec Rosenberg of the UC Newsroom filed a detailed account of President Napolitano's visit to the San Joaquin Valley. The article said she met with the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources to discuss how to engage all 10 campuses in making UC the "go-to" institution in the world for all issues related to food, including sustainability and nutrition.

Napolitano toured the Kearney REC, where she learned about UC's role in helping establish a blueberry industry in the San Joaquin Valley, efforts to preserve the safety of pistachios and other nut crops, and work underway in the center's mosquito lab.

Napolitano noted that she recently made ANR vice president Barbara Allen-Diaz a direct report to her because agricultural issues matter to California and the world, Rosenberg reported.

“It's great to see the incredible depth and breadth of California agriculture, and show the link between UC research and extension and the development of agriculture in the state,” said Allen-Diaz, who accompanied Napolitano on the tour.

Additional coverage:

Napolitano, UC's Kearney center focus on drought relief
Benjamin Genta, UCLA Daily Bruin

Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 1:09 PM
 
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