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UC app helps growers monitor water and fertilizer use

Farmers can access CropManage from the field with a smart phone or tablet computer.
A UC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientist will hold a workshop in April to teach farmers how to use an online application available free from UC ANR that calculates the precise water and fertilizer needs of their crops, reported the Salinas Californian.

CropManage compiles information about the crops' soil, growth and water needs from years of UC ANR Cooperative Extension Research, said Michael Cahn, UC ANR Cooperative Extension irrigation and water resources advisor in Monterey County.

"It's repackaging research into a format that's accessible to everybody," said Cahn, who developed the program."It takes 10 steps to do the calculations by hand and (CropManage) does it in a second."

Using CropManage helps farmers avoid wasting expensive fertilizer, reduces the likelihood fertilizer will leach into the groundwater, and makes efficient use of water, a factor that is increasingly important as the state struggles through what may be the fourth consecutive year of drought.

CropManage can currently be used for head and romaine lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and strawberries. It will expand to other crops in the future.

"We want to develop things carefully," Cahn said. "We're not trying to make money on this, we're just trying to help the growers."

The workshop will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 2, at the Monterey County Agricultural Center Conference Room, 1432 Abbot St., Salinas. RSVP by email to Michael Cahn at mdcahn@ucanr.edu.

Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 10:38 AM
Tags: CropManage (2), Michael Cahn (6)

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