Posts Tagged: Chuck Ingels
San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Some cherry growers, for example, were able to pick only once this year, said Chuck Ingels, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sacramento County. Ideally, they'd pick as fruit colors and ripens.
"They're finding that if they can't get labor to pick their crops, they're just not able to farm anymore," Ingels said. "So what they're going to is mechanization."
UC Davis agriculture experts, farmers and industry leaders gathered last month in Orland to watch a demonstration of the first mechanical harvest of Manzanilla table olives in California. The new technology could revive the industry, the article said.
Even pear harvesting, a grueling job that requires workers to climb aluminum ladders with heavy bags of fruit, may be ripe for new harvest technology. For apples and pears, there are platforms for workers to stand on that move through the orchard while the workers feed the fruit into flexible tubes, where suction carries the fruit to bins.
"It's definitely on the radar for growers in the industry," Ingels said.
While many offices are closed between Christmas and New Year's Day, the media don't stop distributing news. Following is a sampling of recent news stories with an ANR connection.
In battle to save Bonny Doon vineyards, scientists try tricking bacteria
Beth Mole, Santa Cruz Sentinel
But to stop these microscopic killers, scientists had to do some criminal profiling.
When Xylella get into a grape vine, they're released in the vascular tissue -- the plumbing of the plant that pumps water up from the roots. From there, the bacteria use the tissue as "hallways" to invade the whole vine. They then start exploring and munching on the plant.
"We think that the exploratory phase involves rather promiscuous movement of bacteria," Lindow said. But as they spread from place to place, there are only a few bacteria in each area, he said.
Each bacterium constantly sends out a molecular beacon that allows them to collect. Lindow and his team of researchers realized that this beacon is the bacteria's glaring weakness -- without it, they wouldn't make it into their next sharpshooter or kill the vine. So, the researchers engineered transgenic grapevines to make the same beacon.
Pesticide use rises throughout Merced County
Joshua Emerson Smith, Merced Sun-Star
Pesticide use in Merced County is on the rise, according to the annual report from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The bump followed a statewide trend that saw an increase in pesticide use after four years of decline.
The reporter talked to Paul Towers, a spokesperson for the Pesticide Action Network, who said, "California is stuck on a pesticide treadmill."
UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Maxwell Norton said the idea that alternatives to pesticides aren't being pursued is false.
"Pest management has more resources dedicated to it than any other field of agriculture research," he said. "Agricultural researchers are putting a lot of resources into alternative systems. The research reports are there in the hundreds for people to read. We will eventually come up with alternatives."
Leaf curl dilemma
Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee
Folks with backyard peach or nectarine trees face a major problem this winter. Used to control leaf curl, Micro-cop copper fungicide spray and lime sulfur no longer are available to California home gardeners due to environmental concerns. The fungicide sprays that are available have much lower concentrations of copper.
"It's a pretty big deal right now," said Chuck Ingels, Sacramento County UC Cooperative Extension's horticulture advisor. "Those products worked. We don't really have an alternative yet."
This month, Ingels and master gardeners are conducting tests on possible alternatives, such as Liqui-Cop and Concern copper soap, at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center's orchard. Because the fungus needs water to multiply, they're also testing another approach: Covering whole trees with breathable fabric to prevent moisture from accumulating on the branches.
"Until we know what works, the best option is to plant varieties that are resistant to leaf curl," Ingels said.
Olive oil's secret: Not enough real virgins
Ronald Holden, Crosscut.com
In a report a year ago, UC Davis researchers found that 69 percent of imported "extra virgin" olive oil (and 10 percent of domestic oil) wasn't what it pretended to be. Even the best-known brands showed signs of adulteration —blended with inferior grades of olive oil or cheaper oils from soybeans, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds.
The lone import to receive top ratings on all points was Costco's Organic Extra Virgin Oil, which sells for one-fifth the price of competing brands.
"It's remarkable," said Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center.
"There are two things going on," he said. "We have improved the nature of the orchards, both in the way that we plant them and the varieties and the like. And there's a lot more acres."
In the last decade, low cotton prices prompted many farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley to plant almonds on former cotton acreage, the article said. A growing world demand for nuts, especially from China's emerging middle class, is helping sustain strong commodity prices and driving production gains.
Winter is the ideal time to buy, plant bare root fruit trees
Debbie Arrington, The Sacramento Bee
Now is the time to plant bare-root fruit trees. UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Chuck Ingels said some are easier to grow than others and each fruit comes with its own challenges.
"For beginners, cherries are out; don't even think about it – just too hard," Ingels said. "Peaches and nectarines are really good, except for the leaf curl issue (caused by a fungus). Apples and pears are great except for blight and codling moths. People tend to live with those problems or cut down the tree.
"More and more, I think plums and pluots (a plum-apricot hybrid) are the best choices for backyard orchards," Ingels said. "They're the easiest to grow with wonderful fruit. Pluots especially are the way to go."
The Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory at UC Berkeley used 10,000 tree and plant samples collected by 500 citizens between April and June to document a dramatic increase in the Sudden Oak Death infection rate from Napa to the Carmel Valley, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
"We found that the number of positives were double and in some cases triple what they were last year," said Matteo Garbelotto, the UC Berkeley forest pathologist who organizes the annual surveys. "We were surprised. That was a big jump."
Old Farmer's Almanac: 220 years of useful advice
Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee
The Sacramento Bee ran a feature story yesterday about the 220-year-old "Old Farmer's Almanac." The article said that most readers of the publication these days are not farmers. When the Bee contacted the California Farm Bureau Federation to find farmers who use the almanac as part of their work or even just for entertainment, its spokeswomen suggested asking Chuck Ingels, farm advisor and director of UC Cooperative Extension in Sacramento County.
"I honestly have never looked at the almanac, but I've seen it on bookshelves," Ingels said. "It's never mentioned by the farmers I'm in contact with."
Dramatic increase in Northern California Sudden Oak Death.