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California Agriculture
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California Agriculture

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California Agriculture, Vol. 73, No.2

Rangeland recovery after wildfire
Cover: 

UC Cooperative Extension research indicates that seeding for forage production may be advantageous on badly burned land. In January 2018, 1,000 acres on this Ventura County ranch were aerially seeded with 10,000 pounds of cereal rye in 1 day. Photo by Monica Karl.

University of California Cooperative Extension specialists Van Butsic and Ted Grantham discuss cannabis research featured in a special issue of California Agriculture journal.

April-June 2019
Volume 73, Number 2

Peer-reviewed research and review articles

Ratio of farmworkers to farm jobs in California increased to 2.3 in 2016
by Philip Martin, Brandon Hooker, Marc Stockton
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
The ratio of workers to average jobs is increasing, moving the farm labor market away from what public policy has long tried to achieve, a farm labor market with fewer workers who are employed most of the year.
California Employment Development Department data suggest that almost 5% of California's workers were employed in agriculture, in 2016. In that year, monthly average employment in agriculture was 425,400, but the number of workers with at least one job in agriculture was 2.3 times that figure, 989,500. The number of hired farmworkers, including supervisors and office personnel, rose almost 20% between 2015 and 2016. Most workers employed in agriculture do not work year-round, so there is a gap between the average earnings of a full-time equivalent job in agriculture ($32,316 in 2016) and the average earnings of actual agricultural workers ($19,800 in 2016). This gap was widest for the third of all farmworkers employed by farm labor contractors (FLCs). Over half of the workers whose maximum earnings were in agriculture had only one farm job. Almost 20% of farmworkers received unemployment insurance benefits in 2016, including half of those whose maximum earnings were in logging and cotton ginning. Public policy has long favored a farm labor market in which most workers are employed year-round; these data indicate that the farm labor market in California is, on average, heading in the opposite direction.
Cover crops prove effective at increasing soil nitrogen for organic potato production
by Rob Wilson, Darrin Culp, Skyler Peterson, Kevin Nicholson, Daniel Geisseler
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Organic crops command high wholesale prices, but organic management of nutrient deficiencies and pests can be a challenge.
Many farms in northeast California are experimenting with organic production to take advantage of price premiums and niche markets. A common challenge in organic farming is finding dependable nitrogen sources to meet the needs of vegetable and grass crops, especially in fields with low soil nitrogen. This study assessed the use of cover crops and organic amendments for increasing soil nitrogen for potato production at the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake. Researchers evaluated several cover crop species, three planting dates and multiple cover crop mixes. Amendments included composts, manures, bloodmeal and soymeal. The data collected in the study included total nitrogen from cover crops and amendments, plant-available nitrogen in the soil, potato petiole nitrate and crop yield and quality. Vetches and field peas, managed as green manure, were successful at satisfying potatoes' in-season nitrogen demand. These cover crops, grown alone or in mixes with non-legume species, produced potato crops whose yield and quality were similar to crops grown with conventional fertilizers. The cover crops' influence on potato pest pressure was neutral. Chicken manure was the most cost-effective amendment for satisfying potatoes' in-season nitrogen demand.
Virus surveys of commercial vineyards show value of planting certified vines
by Kari L. Arnold, Neil McRoberts, Monica L. Cooper, Rhonda Smith, Deborah A. Golino
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
In the North Coast wine-growing region, mixed infections were predominant in older vineyards, while recently planted certified vines did not have mixed infections.
Viruses are of great concern in vineyards. They cost the California wine grape industry as much as $91,661 per acre over the life of a vineyard, according to a 2015 economic study of the North Coast wine-growing region. As a first step toward managing viruses, growers are encouraged to plant certified material regulated by the California Grapevine Registration and Certification program. There are risks in sourcing plant material from stocks that are not subject to the same level of regulation. We surveyed vineyards of varying ages for eight common viruses to demonstrate the value of selecting certified material for new plantings.

News and opinion

NEWS
UC ANR advisors support cattle ranchers after wildfires
by H. White
Full text HTML  | PDF  

A free hay program was started after the Thomas fire, closed highways were opened for ranchers after the Camp fire, and UC research helped answer ranchers' questions about pasture recovery.

OUTLOOK
The California Tree Mortality Data Collection Network — Enhanced communication and collaboration among scientists and stakeholders
by Jodi Axelson, John Battles, Beverly Bulaon, Danny Cluck, Stella Cousins, Lauren Cox, Becky Estes, Chris Fettig, Andrea Hefty, Stacy Hishinuma, Sharon Hood, Susie Kocher, Devin McMahon, Leif Mortenson, Alexander Koltunov, Elliot Kuskulis, Adrian Poloni, Carlos Ramirez, Christina Restaino, Hugh Safford, Michèle Slaton, Sheri Smith, Carmen Tubbesing, Rebecca Wayman, Derek Young
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Critical research and dialogue are underway to understand the consequences of the massive wave of tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada.

COLLABORATIONS
To build a walled garden
by Lucien Crowder
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Through cooperative ventures around the state, the UC Master Gardener program brings horticultural knowledge to Californians in jails, detention centers and treatment facilities.

NEWS
Research highlights
by Lucien Crowder
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Recent articles from the Agricultural Experiment Station campuses and UC ANR's county offices, institutes and research and extension centers.

OUTLOOK
UC experts can lead on carbon dioxide removal
by Daniel L. Sanchez, Benjamin Z. Houlton, Whendee Silver
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Through technology demonstration and policy engagement, UC ANR specialists, advisors and AES faculty can support California's ambitions to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

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California Agriculture, Vol. 73, No.2

Rangeland recovery after wildfire
Cover: 

UC Cooperative Extension research indicates that seeding for forage production may be advantageous on badly burned land. In January 2018, 1,000 acres on this Ventura County ranch were aerially seeded with 10,000 pounds of cereal rye in 1 day. Photo by Monica Karl.

University of California Cooperative Extension specialists Van Butsic and Ted Grantham discuss cannabis research featured in a special issue of California Agriculture journal.

April-June 2019
Volume 73, Number 2

Peer-reviewed research and review articles

Ratio of farmworkers to farm jobs in California increased to 2.3 in 2016
by Philip Martin, Brandon Hooker, Marc Stockton
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
The ratio of workers to average jobs is increasing, moving the farm labor market away from what public policy has long tried to achieve, a farm labor market with fewer workers who are employed most of the year.
California Employment Development Department data suggest that almost 5% of California's workers were employed in agriculture, in 2016. In that year, monthly average employment in agriculture was 425,400, but the number of workers with at least one job in agriculture was 2.3 times that figure, 989,500. The number of hired farmworkers, including supervisors and office personnel, rose almost 20% between 2015 and 2016. Most workers employed in agriculture do not work year-round, so there is a gap between the average earnings of a full-time equivalent job in agriculture ($32,316 in 2016) and the average earnings of actual agricultural workers ($19,800 in 2016). This gap was widest for the third of all farmworkers employed by farm labor contractors (FLCs). Over half of the workers whose maximum earnings were in agriculture had only one farm job. Almost 20% of farmworkers received unemployment insurance benefits in 2016, including half of those whose maximum earnings were in logging and cotton ginning. Public policy has long favored a farm labor market in which most workers are employed year-round; these data indicate that the farm labor market in California is, on average, heading in the opposite direction.
Cover crops prove effective at increasing soil nitrogen for organic potato production
by Rob Wilson, Darrin Culp, Skyler Peterson, Kevin Nicholson, Daniel Geisseler
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
Organic crops command high wholesale prices, but organic management of nutrient deficiencies and pests can be a challenge.
Many farms in northeast California are experimenting with organic production to take advantage of price premiums and niche markets. A common challenge in organic farming is finding dependable nitrogen sources to meet the needs of vegetable and grass crops, especially in fields with low soil nitrogen. This study assessed the use of cover crops and organic amendments for increasing soil nitrogen for potato production at the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake. Researchers evaluated several cover crop species, three planting dates and multiple cover crop mixes. Amendments included composts, manures, bloodmeal and soymeal. The data collected in the study included total nitrogen from cover crops and amendments, plant-available nitrogen in the soil, potato petiole nitrate and crop yield and quality. Vetches and field peas, managed as green manure, were successful at satisfying potatoes' in-season nitrogen demand. These cover crops, grown alone or in mixes with non-legume species, produced potato crops whose yield and quality were similar to crops grown with conventional fertilizers. The cover crops' influence on potato pest pressure was neutral. Chicken manure was the most cost-effective amendment for satisfying potatoes' in-season nitrogen demand.
Virus surveys of commercial vineyards show value of planting certified vines
by Kari L. Arnold, Neil McRoberts, Monica L. Cooper, Rhonda Smith, Deborah A. Golino
| Full text HTML  | PDF  
In the North Coast wine-growing region, mixed infections were predominant in older vineyards, while recently planted certified vines did not have mixed infections.
Viruses are of great concern in vineyards. They cost the California wine grape industry as much as $91,661 per acre over the life of a vineyard, according to a 2015 economic study of the North Coast wine-growing region. As a first step toward managing viruses, growers are encouraged to plant certified material regulated by the California Grapevine Registration and Certification program. There are risks in sourcing plant material from stocks that are not subject to the same level of regulation. We surveyed vineyards of varying ages for eight common viruses to demonstrate the value of selecting certified material for new plantings.

News and opinion

NEWS
UC ANR advisors support cattle ranchers after wildfires
by H. White
Full text HTML  | PDF  

A free hay program was started after the Thomas fire, closed highways were opened for ranchers after the Camp fire, and UC research helped answer ranchers' questions about pasture recovery.

OUTLOOK
The California Tree Mortality Data Collection Network — Enhanced communication and collaboration among scientists and stakeholders
by Jodi Axelson, John Battles, Beverly Bulaon, Danny Cluck, Stella Cousins, Lauren Cox, Becky Estes, Chris Fettig, Andrea Hefty, Stacy Hishinuma, Sharon Hood, Susie Kocher, Devin McMahon, Leif Mortenson, Alexander Koltunov, Elliot Kuskulis, Adrian Poloni, Carlos Ramirez, Christina Restaino, Hugh Safford, Michèle Slaton, Sheri Smith, Carmen Tubbesing, Rebecca Wayman, Derek Young
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Critical research and dialogue are underway to understand the consequences of the massive wave of tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada.

COLLABORATIONS
To build a walled garden
by Lucien Crowder
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Through cooperative ventures around the state, the UC Master Gardener program brings horticultural knowledge to Californians in jails, detention centers and treatment facilities.

NEWS
Research highlights
by Lucien Crowder
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Recent articles from the Agricultural Experiment Station campuses and UC ANR's county offices, institutes and research and extension centers.

OUTLOOK
UC experts can lead on carbon dioxide removal
by Daniel L. Sanchez, Benjamin Z. Houlton, Whendee Silver
Full text HTML  | PDF  

Through technology demonstration and policy engagement, UC ANR specialists, advisors and AES faculty can support California's ambitions to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.


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