Posts Tagged: orchard
Talk about those tenacious tidy tips. And those picture-perfect phacelias. When you attend the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day on Saturday, Feb....
A honey bee foraging on a desert bell, Phacelia campanularia, an annual herb that is native to California. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A sign defines the Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"A bog is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum...
The Biological Orchard and Gardens (BOG) sign features floral and insect designs. It's located by the Mann Laboratory, UC Davis campus. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Colorful BOG garden in the early spring: among the flowers are tidy tips, desert bell, and European red flax. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A mini-meadow of tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, with tall phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A male Valley carpenter bee, (Xylocopa varipuncta) forages on phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) sips nectar from phacelia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Size comparison! A honey bee is dwarfed by a male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Many species of bees--as well as butterflies and other insects--are drawn to the blanketflower, Gaillardia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
For centuries, farmers have used all the colors of the rainbow to assess their orchards: The bright pink of blossoms in springtime, the vibrant green of heathy leaves, the red blush on fruit ready to harvest.
However, there are wavelengths beyond what a human eye can see that also provide valuable information about the crop – including tree vigor, plant stress, water use and fertilizer needs.
UC Cooperative Extension agricultural engineering advisor Ali Pourreza is peering into these previously invisible colorations to create a virtual orchard that will quickly, easily and inexpensively allow farmers and scientists to manage orchards for optimum production.
To develop his first virtual orchards, Pourreza launched a camera-equipped drone over an orchard at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. As the drone flies over the trees, it snaps thousands of photos and, using photogrammetry and software that stiches the images together, makes a three-dimensional point cloud model of the orchard.
A computer program can make colors that are invisible to the human eye – such as near infrared, red edge and ultraviolet – into imagery that illuminates key crop health indicators. Near infrared indicates the amount of healthy foliage, plant vigor and crop type. If the trees have low near infrared values, it means the plants are under stress. Red edge indicates plant stress and nitrogen content. High red edge values indicate nitrogen stress and low water content in plant tissues.
Patrick Brown, a pomology professor at UC Davis, is planning to use the virtual orchard to map nitrogen use in citrus.
“We are currently working on developing models to help growers determine their fertilization demands and have been contrasting the results from real orchards with the virtual orchard,” Brown said. “We have already utilized the approach to contrast the estimates of tree growth and yield with whole tree excavations and harvests to help validate the virtual approach and provide a more accurate estimate of tree nitrogen demand.”
Ultimately, Brown hopes to develop a way for growers to rapidly and cheaply estimate the nitrogen demand of their orchards, monitor the status of their orchards and manage nitrogen fertilizer applications.
In addition to the color variations brought to light by the virtual orchard, the system provides detailed data on other aspects of the crop development.
“We can learn canopy height and width, the spacing between the trees, total leaf area, canopy density and the amount of shaded area in the orchard,” Poureza said.
This data is of interest to scientists studying plant development, soil health and irrigation.
For example, UCCE agricultural water management specialist Daniele Zaccaria is researching the impact of soil-water salinity on water use by pistachio trees in the San Joaquin Valley.
“In our on-going research study we are characterizing the functional relationships between soil-water salinity, canopy size and density and evapotranspiration of pistachio trees through the light interception by the canopy,” Zaccaria said. “We plan to work with Ali to see how the virtual orchard approach can represent that and simulate the physical process of soil evaporation and tree transpiration as a result of different canopy sizes and densities intercepting different amounts of solar radiation.”
Zaccaria said he also plans to deploy a similar approach to understand how different canopy sizes, planting densities and row orientations found in commercial citrus orchards in the San Joaquin Valley – from navel oranges, to mandarins and lemons – can affect the citrus water demand and use.
In addition to the rich data that scientists can glean from the virtual technology, Pourreza envisions many applications of this technology for farmers, including yield forecasting, blossom mapping, variable pesticide application and robotic harvesting.
It's not a good time to be a California almond grower or a beekeeper. And it's definitely not a good time to be a honey bee. The wind-whipped...
During a sun break on Feb. 12, 2017, a pollen-laden honey bee heads for more almond blossoms in Benicia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Adjusting her load of pollen, a honey bee buzzes toward another almond blossom on Feb. 12 in Benicia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee with "saddlebags" of pollen foraging in an almond tree on Feb. 12 in Benicia. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you're yearning to be a backyard beekeeper, "go native." "Go native" with native bees, that is. Many folks are building or buying bee condos to...
Leafcutting bees heading home to their condo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, shows Danielle Wishon of the California Department of Food and Agriculture a bee condo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Blue orchard bees on display at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of bee nesting sites shown March 2 at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)