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Posts Tagged: Ken Shackel

Researchers study farm field flooding for aquifer recharge

From left, UC Davis plant sciences professor Ken Shackel speaks with research project partners UC Davis professor Helen Dahlke (in the purple jacket) and Roger Duncan, UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor, at the flooding site.
A drought recovery demonstration Jan. 19 at an almond orchard in Modesto generated significant news coverage. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) researchers based at UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension advisors are collaborating on a study aimed at recharging the aquifer by flooding farm fields during the winter. In many areas if the state, the aquifer has been depleted by farmers trying to cope with years of drought.

UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist Toby O'Geen was the lead author of research published in California Agriculture journal that identified agricultural lands in California suitable for flooding in order to bank groundwater. He has created an app that allows landowners across the state to assess the suitability of their property for groundwater banking.

The Modesto project will determine what impact winter flooding will have on the health of almond trees and almond yield. UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor Roger Duncan was quoted in the Los Angeles Times about the potential advantages and disadvantages of flooding crops in the winter. He said water could spur more fungal diseases, but could also drown out worms and mites that damage crops.

The Almond Board of California is funding the project, anticipating that certain almond orchards will be good candidates for groundwater recharge.

"Almond orchards have good soil characteristics, and water delivery systems are already in place,” said Bob Curtis, director of agriculture affairs for the almond board. “Winter flooding should actually benefit the trees while replenishing groundwater to benefit us all."

Following are recent articles about the project:

Researchers test a possible drought solution by flooding an almond farm
Geoffrey Mohan, The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 20, 2016
(Reprinted in Daily News 24/7)

Scientists flood almond orchards to restore groundwater in California
Capital Public Radio, Jan. 20, 2016

Stormwater floods Modesto almond orchard in experiment to restore aquifer
San Jose Mercury News, Jan. 19, 2016
(Reprinted in the Contra Costa Times)

Researchers show off groundwater recharge near Modesto
Modesto Bee, Jan. 20, 2016
(Reprinted in the Fresno Bee and Bloomberg Business)

UC Davis scientists flood Modesto orchards in hopes of finding way to restore groundwater
CBS13, Sacramento and Modesto affiliates, Jan. 20, 2016

Researchers test a possible drought solution by flooding an almond farm
KTLA News 5, Jan. 20, 2016
(Rebroadcast on KRQE News 13)

Orchard tries experiment to restore aquifer
Morning Ag Clips, Jan. 20, 2016

Almond orchard key to water banking experiment
AgraNet, Jan. 20, 2016


The flooded orchard.
Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 11:43 AM
Tags: aquifer (3), drought (171), groundwater (20), Helen Dahlke (7), Ken Shackel (2), Roger Duncan (14), Toby O''Geen (5)

California drought steps-up need for high-tech solutions

Ken Shackel (right) demonstrates a pressure chamber
With California suffering through the third year of drought, more farmers are turning to technology that will help them make smart irrigation decisions, reported Sarah Shoen in the Fresno Bee.

The story focused on Tom Chandler, a fourth-generation Sanger farmer who uses a pressure chamber to measure the amount of water is in the leaves of his almond trees.

"Using the pressure chambers is like having a fuel gauge for your plants," Chandler said.

For the story, Shoen talked to Allan Fulton, the UC Cooperative Extension irrigation and water resources advisor in Glenn, Colusa and Shasta counties. Fulton has experience with pressure chambers stretching back more than a decade.

"Understanding what the chamber is trying to tell you helps farmers concentrate water in areas that need it the most," Fulton said. "This means more production while using the same amount of water."

The pressure chamber results show farmers whether the crops need water, or if they can get by without water at the moment.

Ken Shackel, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, learned by conducting research that dry soil doesn't mean the plant is suffering.

"You can save tons of water thanks to the chambers," Shackel said.

Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM
Tags: Allan Fulton (3), drought (171), Ken Shackel (2)

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