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US: Drip is the winner in irrigation trials in California sugar beets
Halfway through a two-year irrigation trial to test furrow irrigation versus drip on sugar beet in California’s Imperial Valley, Ali Montazar is looking for ways to boost yields with as little water consumption as possible in a region where furrow irrigation is the common practice.
Montazar, irrigation and water management advisor with the University of California department of agriculture and natural resources (UCANR) in Imperial County, is comparing and evaluating sugar beets for crop water use, sugar percentage, and yield, using both furrow and drip, since growers are now thinking of switching to subsurface drip.
Preliminary results from year one of the trial show that yield and crop water use are better with drip. Yield was 21 percent higher, and water use was a few points lower.
Montazar worked with a local grower in commercial fields, not on UCANR demo plots, so he had a large area to test the methods. For furrow, he is testing on 70 acres, and for drip on 22 acres.
“Most growers don’t have a reservoir, they take water from the canal,” he said. “So, the drip tape system costs $400 to $500 per acre on average for sugar beets.”
Actual crop water use was nearly 5 percent higher with drip than furrow, since transpiration was higher and water uptake by the plant was better. With furrow irrigation, growers end up using much more water, while drip requires about 1.2-acre feet less, which amounts to about 19 percent less water.
“That’s promising, because water saved can be sold to San Diego County which will be revenue for the growers here,” he said, referring to the water transfer agreement in place between Imperial Irrigation District and San Diego.
He spaced the furrows about 30 inches apart, which is common practice for sugar beets, and did the same with drip lines.
In terms of sugar percentage, there was little difference between the two methods of irrigation, but yield was 21 percent higher with drip, which translates to more extractable sugar for the grower. Drip led to bigger size beets and bigger roots.
In the drip fields, water use efficiency improved by 12 percent over furrow - this is a ratio of yield to crop water use. This showed him that more water can be conserved with drip lines.
Nitrogen use efficiency was also much better with drip, which will lower costs since about 25 to 30 percent less fertilizer can be applied with drip lines for beets.
“Furrow washes out more fertilizer with leaching, but drip can use a third less fertilizer. If a grower doesn’t know this, they will end up with a higher concentration of nitrogen, which is not good,” he pointed out.
In a nutshell, drip irrigation will save growers money on water and fertilizer use, offer higher yield and sugar content.
With that said, abut 98 percent of beets in Imperial Valley are under furrow irrigation. The grower who offered his land for the trial has begun to think about drip, being progressive. This trial will help show the sugar beet industry the promise of this technology, Montazar said.
In the next year, he will replicate the trial in a different field with the same grower and try to answer questions on how much water is needed, and specific yield figures.
Credit given to Padma Nagappan at Ag Alert & SugarOnline.com in the U.K.
Position Available at The University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is recruiting candidates for a Research Specialist position to work on forage and small grain crops IPM.
If interested, use link for more information
Top administrators from UC ANR visit Imperial Valley
Two top administrators with the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources met with staff, stakeholders and county officials during a two-day visit to Imperial County recently.
Dr. Wendy Powers, associate vice president of the University of California ANR, and Dr. Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of Research and Extension, talked with staff from both UC Cooperative Extension and the Desert Research & Extension Center on a number of important issues.
Powers spoke about budget cuts and a delay in hiring advisors. She said there is a need to collaborate with both public and private sector entities to increase funding for research and the hiring of new advisors.
They were also briefed about UCCE and DREC projects, accomplishments and barriers by the directors, county advisors and CES representatives.
Following that meeting, Powers and Lagrimini were given a tour of the campus and research fields, the FarmSmart gardens, water plant, feedlot, organic field, various research plots, water reservoir, laboratory and the olive field.
Powers and Lagrimini then met with the county Board of Supervisors, the county ag commissioner, and UCCE and DREC directors, and briefly talked about position partnerships. They also met with farmers, ranchers, educators, county officials, and other county dignitaries and stakeholders over lunch.
Lagrimini gave a short presentation on "UCCE & the REC Systems: Looking Forward." He talked about the intense interest in growing industrial hemp and told the crowd that county director director Oli Bachie could be the first person in the low desert to conduct research on it.
Supervisor Ray Castillo discussed the ongoing partnership the county already has with UC Cooperative Extension. Castillo said, "It is important to note that the state Legislature and the University of California recognized the important role the Imperial Valley would play in the agricultural economy of California back in 1912, when this facility was established. They must have thought that the unique climate, soil and water resources of this region might be worthy of some future study - and it turns out they were onto something."
He added, "Two advisors at the University of California Cooperative Extension - Imperial County have applied for and received research grant funding totaling almost $400,000 to date, and we will continue to explore new ways to strengthen our partnership in the future."
After lunch, Irrigation and Water Management advisor Ali Montazar led neighborhood and growers' field tours. They visited Vessey & Co. farms, Scott Howington's organic farms, and Ronnie Leimgruber's vegetable and alfalfa farms. Leimgruber is a Climate smart farm awardee.
They also went to see some drainage canals and the Alamo River.
Power and Lagrimini were able to talk with the growers about the benefits of research and their challenges in irrigation and Climate Smart farming. The growers provided detailed information on organic farming and harvest issues as well. They also remarked that UCCE and local growers works closely together to enhance productivity.
Livestock advisor Brooke Latack led the second day's tour. Powers and Lagrimini toured a feedlot, El Toro's hay press, saw sheep grazing on local fields and a solar field in Calexico. They drove by the border, several canals and adjacent farms. They also saw the hydro turbine at drop 4, the All-American Canal along with Imperial Irrigation District infrastructures.
At the end of the tour, they met back at DREC for an informal lunch and the opportunity for staff to voice their concerns and suggestions.
Submitted by Trish McNeece
Welcome to new Youth, Family and Community Advisor
We are pleased to announce that we have a new youth, family, and community (YFC) advisor serving the University of California Imperial County. Her name is Yu Meng and her responsibilities will focus on providing community development programs in the area of youth, families, and communities with major outreach to the Latino youth and families.
Yu Meng is originally from China, where she studied food science and engineering. After she graduated with a Bachelor's degree, she worked for food industries and started to notice the nutrition issues with processed foods and their effects on children's health. With that in mind, she came to the U.S. and earned Master's and PhD degrees from Utah State University (USU) and Oregon State University (OSU), respectively.
Before coming to Imperial County, she worked for a USDA funded project known as "the WAVE~Ripples for change" in collaboration with the OSU Professionals and Extension, community partners, high school soccer coaches, and school districts, and some dedicated volunteers to prevent unhealthy weight gain among 15 to 19-year-old soccer players. Most of the youth she worked with were Latinos and from low-income families. During this time, she helped develop and test the first sports nutrition, physical activity, family and consumer sciences curriculum for active youth. Her work resulted in positive developments in reducing youth added sugar intake, maintaining fruits and vegetables intake over time, and improving the awareness of sports nutrition. Participating youth also applied additional skills they learned from gardening and cooking workshops at their homes and shared the lessons and practical applications with their respective families.
As a YFC advisor for Imperial County, Yu Meng is expected to continue to utilize her knowledge and skills for positive youth development and nutrition and improve people's quality of life for Imperial county communities. Her desired goal is to ensure the applicability of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources initiatives with research and extension of knowledge in a way it helps better lives, and address a healthy, diverse youth, families and communities living in Imperial County and adjacent communities.
Yu Meng can be reached by calling (442) 265-7700. She will soon release her e-mail and contact information.
Desert Research and Education Center
Watch this short but very informative video about DREC.
CHECK OUT OUR "LINKS" PAGE!!!!! WE HAVE ADDED A LOT.
Insights: Water and Drought Online Seminar Series
The latest research-based advice on weathering a drought is now available free online. The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is working to help farmers cope with the unwelcome outcome of historically low rainfall the last three years. UC scientists, with support from the California Department of Water Resources, have recorded video presentations on high-priority drought webpages.
Each presentation is about one half hour in length and are available at the link below:
The University of California has been extensively involved in research and implementation of water conservation/management strategies throughout the state. A lot is knows about when and how to most effectively use limited water supplies. The links below contain a brief introduction. Additional information is available at UC ANR drought website. http://ciwr.ucanr.edu/California_Drought_Expertise/
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|National 4-H Conference||4/6/2019|
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|7th annual California 4-H State Archery Postal Match||4/20/2019|
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|2019 California State 4-H Horse Classic and Horse Bowl Contest||6/27/2019|
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