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Posts Tagged: Gurreet Brar

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

Western Farm Press profiles new UCCE advisor

Gurreet Brar is the new UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Fresno and Madera counties, working on nut crops. (Photo: David Doll,
Gurreet Brar, newly appointed UC Cooperative Extension advisor, has seen the effects of intensive agriculture in his homeland, Punjab, India, reported Todd Fitchette in Western Farm Press. Fitchette wrote a 1,300-word profile about Brar, who is working with almond, pistachio and walnut growers in Fresno and Madera counties.

The article said Brar will collaborate on nitrogen management studies, establish a regional almond variety trial, take on projects involving pistachios, conduct a grower survey of problems related to walnuts, pistachios and almonds, and host tree nut short courses.

Other research goals Brar shared  include planned research on water stress and tree physiology, training and pruning young almond trees, development of innovative nursery production practices to achieve better tree health, and the management of root diseases in trees.

Brar believes that by seeking out the early innovators of various technologies and agricultural practices, and by working with them to achieve greater success with it, he can expand the adoption rate of better technologies and agronomic practices throughout the farming community, Fitchette reported.

“Through this kind of communication, if the farmer is doing good things you can share this and increase the adoption rate of that technology,” he said.

Posted on Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM
Tags: Gurreet Brar (3)

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