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Posts Tagged: Scott Stoddard

Grafting tomato transplants could improve taste and yield

A larger assortment of tastier tomatoes could be in Californians' future.
Two UC Cooperative Extension advisors are conducting field research to determine whether grafting tasty tomato plants onto high-performing root stock will increase yield and disease resistance while improving tomato flavor, reported Ezra David Romero on Valley Public Radio.

Romero spoke to Scott Stoddard, the UCCE vegetable crops advisor for Madera and Merced counties, and Margaret Lloyd, the UCCE small farms advisor for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties.

Stoddard has planted 3,500 grafted tomato seedlings on a farm north of Madera.

“Now we got them in the field and so approximately 83 days from now, if all goes according to plan, we will be harvesting out here and we will see if we can see some yield differences,” Stoddard said.

Lloyd grafted heirloom tomato varieties onto disease-resistant roots on a quarter acre at UC Davis.

“We're kind of working at this level of finding non-chemical management tools that will help overcome these challenges so they [farmers] can continue to grow these nice heirloom varieties,” says Lloyd.

Both scientists will collect data from their trails to see whether it makes sense for growers to implement the practice on their farms. Romero reported that both agreed consumers could, in time, have a tastier, larger assortment of tomatoes to purchase at farmers markets and stores.

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2016 at 2:20 PM

From a 'Butterfly Wish' to a Tarantula Named 'Peaches'

Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula,

What a grand event! When the University of California, Davis held its annual campus "Take Your Daughters (And Sons) to Work" Day today (April 23),...

Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula,
Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula, "tickles!" Watching her reaction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, during "Take Your Daughers (And Sons) to Work" Day is Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland. Their mothers work at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Roxanne Bell, 7, of Davis, decided that Peaches, the rose-haired tarantula, "tickles!" Watching her reaction at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, during "Take Your Daughers (And Sons) to Work" Day is Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland. Their mothers work at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland, eagerly listens to children's author S. S. Dudley, a retired UC Davis scientist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland, eagerly listens to children's author S. S. Dudley, a retired UC Davis scientist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Joel Fuerte, 6, of Woodland, eagerly listens to children's author S. S. Dudley, a retired UC Davis scientist. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Children's author S. S. Dudley draws the attention of a crowd listening as he talks about the morpho butterflies. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Children's author S. S. Dudley draws the attention of a crowd listening as he talks about the morpho butterflies. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Children's author S. S. Dudley draws the attention of a crowd listening as he talks about the morpho butterflies. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 5:56 PM

Agriculture research not immune to drought

Ag research at the West Side Research and Extension Center and other sites has been impacted by the California drought.
Even as farmers across California struggle with the third year of drought, so do University of California agriculture researchers, reported Todd Fitchette in Western Farm Press.

Fitchette opened his story with the plight of ag research at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center near Five Points. Many of the farmers in the area will receive no surface water allocation this year; neither will the research center.

The facility can pull water from a deep well, but it is not enough nor is the water quality adequate for all the farming operations, said Bob Hutmacher, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and center director. He said scientists at the station must cut back their water use this year by 25 percent.

“I can speak for myself: I have about a half dozen cotton projects and a sorghum project, along with a sesame project and a couple of other things I'm working on,” he said. “I'm downsizing most of them to the greatest degree I can and I'm going to cancel one of them.”

One trial that will not go forward at West Side is an almond variety trial. However, UC Cooperative Extension advisors in other areas are working with the Almond Board to keep the research underway. UCCE advisors Joe Connell will oversee the Chico State almond variety trial, Roger Duncan the Salida trial, and Gurreet Brar the Madera County trial.

The Western Farm Press Story included drought-related ag research news from myriad UCCE academics:

  • Duncan said his work with fruit and nut crops has not been negatively impacted by the drought.

  • David Doll, UCCE advisor in Merced County, said the increased reliance on groundwater has ruined several orchard nitrogen trials because the groundwater in northern Merced has high rates of nitrate nitrogen, which acts as a nitrogen fertilizer.

  • Dan Munk, UCCE advisor in Fresno County, said he will continue putting off alfalfa trials at the WSREC “indefinitely until a more secure water supply is available.”

  • Scott Stoddard, UCCE advisor in Merced County, reports positive and negative impacts from the drought. He won't do tomato research at West Side REC, but will continue work in sweet potatoes to determine how little water they need to produce a reasonable crop.

  • Chris Greer, UCCE advisor in Sutter, Yuba, Colusa and Glenn counties, said some rangeland trials were impacted by the lack of rain.

  • Bruce Lampinen, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, has seen his orchard trials in Arbuckle severely impacted by the drought.
Posted on Friday, April 18, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Drought rekindles farmers' interest in drip irrigation

Using drip irrigation conserves water in agriculture.
Drip irrigation isn't a new technology, but the drought in California is giving farmers greater incentive to consider installing the proven water-conserving irrigation technique, reported the Merced Sun-Star

The use of plastic emitters in drip irrigation began in 1956 on a Kibbutz in Israel, where, like California, water demand is perennially greater than supply. Drip was introduced into the United States in the early 1960s.

Sun-Star reporter Marina Gaytan spoke to Scott Stoddard, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Merced County, to get his thoughts about the trend toward drip.

“You can get water savings by using drip, but often times what you're really getting is improved water use efficiency,” Stoddard said. “You've improved your yield for the same amount of water.”

According to a farmer quoted in the story, installing a one-year surface drip system costs about $400 per acre. Some farmers are installing buried drip irrigation, which runs about $1,500 per acre but will last for many years.

Farmers welcome recent rainfall
Ventura County Star

Even though springtime rainfall can cause molds to grow in strawberries, and splashing raindrops can spread fungal and bacterial pathogens, farmers are delighted with the wet weather.

"We're going to lose some fruit, but that's a small price to pay," said Oleg Daugovish, UCCE advisor in Ventura County.

Before the rain began to fall, Daugovish advised growers to apply protective fungicides and open up plant canopies to expose the inside of the plants.

Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/02/28/3521936/farmers-looking-to-use-surface.html#storylink=cpy
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 2:03 PM
Tags: drought (163), Oleg Daugovish (4), Scott Stoddard (6)

Northern San Joaquin Valley is basking in the cold

Cold winter weather is good for dormant fruit and nut trees.
During the recent cold snap in California, the media turned to UC Cooperative Extension advisors for information on the weather's impact on agricultural production in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

The consensus for this part of the state: cold weather is good news. The Stockton Record checked in with Joe Grant, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Joaquin County.

"We'll take any and all cold that we can at this time of year to fulfill the chilling requirements of the trees," Grant said.

Paul Verdegaal, UCCE advisor in San Joaquin County, a viticulture expert, agreed.

"The good side of the story is we're catching up on the chilling hours, which will produce a good strong bud bread and bloom for all the perennial crops," Verdegaal said. "(Subfreezing temperatures, however,) may be hurting some younger trees and vines, but generally, things are in dormancy, so it's not too much of a problem."

Maxwell Norton, UCCE advisor in Merced County, spoke to the Merced Sun-Star.

"For us out here, the cold nights are good," Norton said. "We fare quite well because we don't grow subtropical crops like citrus and avocados."

Scott Stoddard, UCCE advisor in Merced County, said crop storage facilities need to pay attention to temperature control when the weather gets very cold.

"We have a lot of sweet potatoes in storage," he said. "They guys need to make sure their storage rooms are working properly and don't get too cold."

Roger Duncan, UCCE advisor in Stanislaus County, told the Modesto Bee that warm winters are more harmful than cold snaps such as the one we're experiencing.

"Actually, this is beautiful," Duncan said. "Tree crops need cold in order to break their rest."


Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2013/01/11/2527811/frosty-conditions-blanket-valley.html#storylink=cpy
Posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM

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