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Posts Tagged: Roger Duncan

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 (21), Helen Dahlke (7), Ken Shackel (2), Roger Duncan (14), Toby O''Geen (5)

Flood irrigation may help recharge aquifers

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts are studying the effectiveness of flood irrigation to help recharge underground aquifers that have been depleted due to the drought, reported Ken Carlson in the Modesto Bee.

The pilot research project will involve flood irrigating almond orchards during the winter months, according to Roger Duncan, UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor in Stanislaus County.

"If it works well, we can expand and potentially look at other locations, other soil types and other cropping systems," Duncan said.

The Modesto trial will take place on one orchard with 10 to 15 acres of fairly sandy soil with groundwater from another area.

According to the article, commercial almond orchards are not usually irrigated in winter because there's enough rainfall to keep the ground moist. Flood irrigation in almonds has of late been regarded as a wasteful practice from the era of cheap and plentiful water; many farmers have turned to micro sprinklers and drip irrigation for water conservation. But orchard flooding could bounce back as a strategic tool as local jurisdictions try to manage their groundwater levels.

Many almond orchards are irrigated with water-conserving drip irrigation. A new study will look at flood irrigation in winter to recharge the underground aquifer. (Photo: Maxwell Norton)
Posted on Friday, July 10, 2015 at 10:39 AM
Tags: drip (1), flood irrigation (1), irrigation (23), Roger Duncan (14)

Almond growers suffer the drought

Roger Duncan, center, with almond farmers.
Many California farmers fear for the health of their almond trees and expect their nut harvest will suffer because of salt damage, reported J.N. Sbranti in the Modesto Bee.

The story was based on a survey released Sept. 4 by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. CDFA sent questionnaires to 688 almond growers; in all 458 responded.

Among the growers who farm 600 or more acres of almonds, 87 percent said they used groundwater for crop irrigation. Groundwater has higher salinity than surface water.

"Almonds are not salt tolerant,” said Roger Duncan, UC Cooperative Extension  advisor in Stanislaus County. Since many almond growers have substituted groundwater for surface water during this third year of drought, “we're seeing more salt damage in trees.”

Sbranti spoke to Merced County almond farmer Bob Weimer. He said farms dependent solely on groundwater are suffering the most. Nevertheless, the farmer said he drilled two new wells this year and plans to drill another one in the fall. One of his older wells went dry because the water table dropped.

"We can't continue this process," Weimer said. "It's not sustainable."

The CDFA survey also reported that 9 percent of almond growers have removed trees due to insufficient water availability. Ten percent of growers have decided to delay replanting of trees and 21 percent decided to delay orchard expansion, statistics that surprised Duncan because of the continuing high demand for new trees from nurseries.

"The nurseries are going full bore," Duncan said. "They can't grow enough trees."


Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/09/04/3521009_almond-growers-struggle-to-cope.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
Posted on Friday, September 5, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Tags: almonds (65), drought (171), Roger Duncan (14)

As temperatures rise, drought concerns accelerate

Drought gets attention from California media.
Signs of summer - high temperatures, school terms ending, well-stocked farmers markets - abound this time of year. Another sign of the times is abundant stories about Californians dealing with the historic 2014 drought.

Timm Herdt, a Ventura County Star columnist, wrote that farmers' close attention to the weather has given them keen awareness about climate change.

"Anybody who's paying attention knows the climate has already changed," said Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis.

In his story about last week's conference on climate change in Sacramento, Herdt wrote if there is any group that doesn't have to be sold on the idea that government must address the effects of climate change, it's farmers. However, he called climate change a tough political issue.

"Conservatives unwilling to acknowledge the overwhelming science on global warming will continue to fight efforts to slow climate change by reducing carbon emissions. Liberals will likely resist steps that might be needed to adapt to irreversible changes that have already taken place - steps such as increased reliance on genetic engineering to help agriculture adapt and a greater emphasis on water storage," Herdt wrote.

Other recent drought coverage includes:

Water shortages take toll on state's alfalfa yields
AgAlert

Alfalfa is more resilient than many crops because it can go into a drought-induced dormancy during the summer, at least for one year, according to UC Cooperative Extension advisors Rachael Long and Steve Orloff. The tradeoff is that without water there will be little yield, but research has shown the stand will persist on most soil types and yield will recover the next year, once water is applied to the field again.

California drought will hit cost of rice hardest
Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee

Price increases won't be huge, but one crop will see a noticeable price spike: California rice.

“It's the exception,” said Dan Sumner, noting the international demand for the state's short-grained “sushi rice.” “It's a unique product and a major export crop. You can't have a 20 or 25 percent reduction and not see an increase in price.”

MID, TID farmers can get water-wise tips
The Modesto Bee

UC Cooperative Extension takes part in a drought workshop for farmers in the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts 6 to 8 p.m. May 29 at the Harvest Hall, Stanislaus County Ag Center, 2800 Cornucopia Way. UCCE advisor Roger Duncan will present water-saving practices.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/22/6426140/drought-will-make-cost-of-rice.html#storylink=cpy

 

Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 11:46 AM
Tags: Dan Sumner (33), drought (171), Rachael Long (33), Roger Duncan (14), Steve Orloff (2)

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

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