About West Side REC
The West Side Research and Extension Center (WSREC) is the result of the determination, energy, and foresight of a small group of farmers, business people, and University of California (UC) staff who believed that the west side of the Central Valley of California-which generates an agricultural income exceeding that of about 60% of the states in the United States-needed a research station. These people provided the land for WSREC in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley's "West Side" and some of its earliest development. The center was transferred to the University in May 1959, and its first research projects began in the spring of that year.
Research is currently being conducted by UCCE researchers from County and Statewide offices, faculty from UC campuses at Davis and Riverside, researchers from the USDA-ARS and CA Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. The UC researchers represent a wide range of departments, including: Applied Engineering; Botany; Botany and Plant Sciences; Plant Sciences; Entomology; Plant Pathology; and Land, Air and Water Resources.
The areas of research are many and varied. New crops, varieties, weed and insect control (both chemical and biological), disease management, fertility, irrigation (including furrow, sprinkler and drip systems), and salinity management are active projects. Historically, more research has been devoted to cotton than to any other crop; more recently vegetable research has shown considerable expansion. Crops grown in current research trials include cotton, cereal, grains, canola, alfalfa (both for seed and forage), grapes, sugarbeets, tomatoes, beans, pistachios, peppers, melons, onions, and garlic.
Crops and soil types at the center are representative of the region extending from western Kern County on the south to western Merced County on the north, and generally west of the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers and east of the Coast Range. The soil is classified as Panoche clay loam. This series consists of recently deposited alluvium originating in the central and southern Coast Ranges. It has good surface and internal drainage and is widely recognized as an excellent agricultural soil. Located within the Westlands Water District, the center is approximately 280 feet above sea level. The area is underlain by a perched water table varying in depth from about 5 to 25 feet.
The center's staff, which is its main resource, consists of a Director, seven full-time nonacademic employees, a Center Superintendent, an Office Manager, a mechanic, four agricultural technicians and numerours seasonal farm employees.
|View the organizational ChartWSREC-Org_Chart-04.01.2010|
The center has a chemistry lab equipped for wet chemistry, including fume hood, gas, air, and vacuum. The general lab can be used for material preparation and is equipped with two sinks, gas, air, and a vacuum.
A neutron probe and calibration facilities (wet and dry) are also available. The center has an 1,800-square-foot glasshouse with soil handling and grinding facilities, soil and plant drying ovens (space limited), and water; a 400-square-foot lath house; and a 675-square-foot heated and air-cooled work area, with water, sink, and counter.
Two dormitories (both are three-bedroom houses that sleep six) with clothes washer, living area (with television), and complete kitchen facilities (microwave, stove, refrigerator) are provided. Dormitory guests must supply food, bedding, and towels. If there is a vacancy, UC employees can use one of the five three-bedroom, single-family residences.