Posts Tagged: Oleg Daugovish
Ventura County Star.
At the event, UCCE advisors talked about the status of ag industry in Ventura County, where total farm production is nearly $2 billion annually. Strawberries, the county's leading crop since the early 2000s, are valued at $690 million. However, production is threatened by dwindling water supplies.
"We can't avoid this topic," said Oleg Daugovish, UCCE advisor.
UCCE advisor Ben Faber also discussed the water situation. The average annual rainfall in Oxnard was 17 inches between 2003 and 2008.
"We're living in an environment that rarely sees the average rainfall," Faber said.
Faber's work includes showing growers how using too much or too little water is more likely to cause plant disease and demonstrating new ways of measuring the water content in soil, the article said. One solution to water woes is using recycled water in nurseries. The practice saves 14 to 42 percent of water.
UCCE advisor Jim Downer talked about the movement of exotic pests that are a potential challenge to agriculture. California is particularly vulnerable to these pests because of its vast and varying geography and climate, he said.
Ventura County's top 10 ag commodities were on dispaly in a Model T truck at the UC Cooperative Extension Celebration of Science and Service.
Leading up to the California Strawberry Festival, to be held this weekend at Strawberry Meadows at College Park in Oxnard, the Ventura County Star championed the fruit's contribution to the local economy in an article published yesterday.
In 2009, strawberries contributed $515.4 million to the county's $1.6 billion of total agricultural revenues, the story said. That was up 31 percent from $393.5 million in 2008.
Ventura County agricultural commissioner Henry Gonzales said the next crop report will show growers added another 100 acres of strawberries in 2010.
"It's a good thing," Gonzales was quoted. "It says to me there's still room for growth in the production side because there's growth on the market side."
Reporter Stephanie Hoops contacted UC Cooperative Extension strawberry advisor Oleg Daugovish to get his take on the current strawberry season.
The article said Daugovish described the season as "decent."
Meanwhile, strawberry growers are feeling pressure from a controversy over a new soil fumigant, methyl iodide, which the Department of Pesticide Regulation approved in December.
"Concern about the ability to use it is great," Daugovish was quoted.
In March, Gov. Brown said he plans to take "a fresh look" at the DPR decision. Environmental and farmworker groups are opposed to methyl iodide use in agriculture, but DPR approved the pesticide's use under strict safety measures, including buffer zones and site-specific permits from local agricultural commissioners.
Strawberries make a significant contribution to the Ventura County economy.
Synthetic soil fumigants such as chloropicrin and 1,3-D are used by some commercial growers to control soilborne pathogens, weeds and nematodes prior to planting strawberries, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and spinach. These fumigants and all other biocidal products with the potential to harm the environment and human health are highly-regulated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, and county agricultural commissioner's offices.
UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Oleg Daugovish and his collaborators work hard to find effective, environmentally-safe and economically-viable ways to improve efficacy of fumigants and to investigate alternatives to soil fumigation. The Ventura County Cooperative Extension website has archived audio and visual presentations, which includes the following topics:
- Assessment of permeability of commercial tarps under a variety of cultural practices and in various soil and environmental conditions is expected to lead to better understanding of maximizing fumigant effectiveness while reducing emissions.
- Growing in substrate (soil-less culture) allows growers to produce crops with minimal plant disease and weeds without using fumigants.
- Heating soil using steam is a successful way to disinfest it. However, the process to generate steam in a field can be slow and very expensive. Researchers are working to find ways to improve speed while reducing cost.
- Most organisms, including plant pathogens, cannot survive without oxygen. Researchers are investigating an organic method to create anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions to treat soil before planting.
- Planting mustard as a cover crop can provide many positive benefits, one of which is allelochemical compounds. These compounds found in mustard are similar to those found in fumigants. Current research shows it is possible to use this green biomass to prepare fields for production.
More environmentally-responsible research from Dr. Daugovish can be found here.
Injecting steam may be one way to disinfest soil without chemical fumigants.