Entomologist Frank Zalom is Honored…Again!

‘Entomological Giant’ UC Davis Professor Frank Zalom Receives Highest of the High Honor

UC Davis distinguished professor Frank Zalom, a noted integrated pest management (IPM) specialist and a past president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), is a newly elected Honorary Member of the ESA, an honor bestowed for his “long-term dedication and extraordinary contributions” to the 7000-member global organization. Honorary Member is the highest honor that can be afforded an ESA member.

Zalom, praised as “an entomological giant” and “the consummate ambassador to entomology,” joins five other entomologists as Honorary Members. They will be honored at the ESA’s annual meeting, Entomology 2021, set Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Denver.

“Honorary membership acknowledges those who have served ESA for at least 20 years through significant involvement in the affairs of the society that has reached an extraordinary level,” an ESA spokesperson said. “Candidates for this honor are selected by the ESA Governing Board and then voted on by the ESA membership.”

“Dr. Zalom is phenomenal for his sustained service of leadership, research, teaching and mentoring, and in my opinion, he is one of the world’s most influential, accomplished and inspirational entomologists,” wrote nominator James R. Carey, a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology and an ESA Fellow. ESA Honorary Member and ESA Fellow Philip Mulder, emeritus professor and former department chair at Oklahoma State University, noted: “Frank is and was the consummate ambassador to entomology throughout his entire career and around the globe on multiple occasions.”

George Kennedy, the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University, commented that “Few, if any, ESA members can match the level of sustained service and leadership that Frank has provided to ESA and entomology more broadly.” Robert Weidenmann, emeritus professor and former department chair at the University of Arkansas, wrote that “As if his service to the Society was not enough, Frank has been recognized for his contributions to entomology, as demonstrated by his consistent leadership in the field of integrated pest management. Frank has been one of the major drivers of the true integration of the IPM strategies in all of agriculture.”

A 47-year member of ESA, Zalom is an emeritus professor with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and currently a recall professor, continuing his work on IPM of tree, vine and fruiting vegetable crops through several major USDA and CDFA research grants he has received since retiring. Since his retirement, he has brought in more than $1 million in grants. Zalom is also working with Professor Rachael Goodhue, chair of the UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics Department on an ongoing pesticide policy research project involving “economic and pest management analyses of potential regulations in strawberry, tomato, and other fruiting crops” in collaboration with CDFA’s Office of Pesticide Policy and Analysis.

Zalom directed the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) for 16 years (1986-2002).  “Frank elevated it to ‘the gold standard’ of the world’s IPM programs, emphasizing ecologically based pest management programs for agriculture, urban settings and natural resources,” Carey wrote.

Zalom served as the 2014 ESA president; 2015 Entomological Foundation president, and the 2002 Pacific Branch president. He has been editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology since 2018. He also was the first editorial board chair (2008-09) of the Journal of Integrated Pest Management, serving on the board until 2012.

The UC Davis entomologist has authored nearly 400 journal publications or book chapters, and more than 400 other publications. He holds two U.S. patents.

Passionate about moving science policy forward, Zalom served as ESA’s Science Policy Committee Chair in 2015. In 2018, he co-organized a two-day summit, Grand Challenges in Entomology in South America, hosted by the Entomological Society of Brazil. The summit focused on invasive species, public health, and sustainable agriculture, and included invited leadership from all entomology societies in Central and South America. Zalom also co-organized the North American and Pacific Rim Invasive Insect and Arthropod Species Challenge Summit, jointly hosted by the entomological societies of America, Canada and British Columbia in Vancouver, BC in 2019.

Highly honored by his peers, Zalom is a Fellow of four scientific organizations: ESA; the American Association for the Advancement of Science, California Academy of Sciences, and Royal Entomological Society. His numerous awards include the BY Morrison Memorial Medal from USDA-ARS and American Society for Horticultural Science (2017), ESA’s Recognition Award (2002)Outstanding Achievement Award in Extension Entomology (1992), Excellence in IPM Award (2010), IPM Team Award (2008), and the Pacific Branch Woodworth Award (2011).

Among his UC Davis recognitions are the Consortium for Women in Research Outstanding Mentor Award (2013), James H. Meyer Award (2004), and Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award (2017).

A native of Chicago, Frank moved to Arizona with his family at age 4. He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University, 1973 and 1974, respectively, and his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1978. He joined the University of Minnesota faculty as assistant professor before returning to UC Davis in 1980.

“Throughout his career the depth of his knowledge in IPM was matched by the strength of his commitment to teaching students and postdocs, as well as by the power of his dedication to helping growers in all areas of agricultural entomology,” Carey wrote. “A former Fulbright Scholar, Frank is both a visionary and dedicated entomologist who has devoted his life’s work to advancing entomology and ESA programs. His expertise is in great demand from colleagues, agriculturists, policy makers, students and more. He is the consummate entomologist, intricately skilled and highly accomplished.”

Zalom is the fifth UC Davis scientist to be selected ESA Honorary Member. W. Harry Lange (1912-2004) received the award in 1990; Donald MacLean (1928-2014), the 1984 ESA president, won the award in 1993; Bruce Eldridge in 1996, and John Edman in 2001.




2021-10-14T13:01:30-07:00October 14th, 2021|

Citrus Production Cost Study Available

New UC Study Outlines Costs of Growing Oranges in the San Joaquin Valley

By Pam Kan-Rice News & Information Outreach for UCANR


A new study outlining the costs and returns of establishing and producing navel oranges with low-volume irrigation in the southern San Joaquin Valley has been released by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

“A cost study gives a ‘new’ grower a better idea of all the costs that are involved with producing the crop,” said co-author Greg Douhan, UC Cooperative Extension citrus advisor for Tulare and Fresno counties.

Real estate agents, land leasers, bankers evaluating loan applications and others can use the cost study to estimate current costs to plant and produce oranges and expected profits.

This study updates an earlier version, using as an example the Cara Cara navel, which is known for its distinctive pink-colored flesh rather than the conventional orange flesh of the Washington navel.

“The Cara Cara has been returning very good prices to growers for the past decade or so and is a relatively new navel,” said co-author Craig Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Kern County. “Of course, grower returns are driven by consumer demand. Why consumers like it so much I do not know, but I suspect it is because it tastes good and is different. You cut it and get a pink surprise. Its harvest maturity is similar to that of the Washington navel.”

The updated version takes into consideration “things like inflation, chemical availability, changes in markets both domestic and foreign, governmental regulations and other things,” Kallsen said.

The study is based on a hypothetical farm that consists of 65 contiguous acres on land in the San Joaquin Valley previously planted to another tree crop. Establishment and production costs are based on 10 acres being planted to oranges. Mature orange trees are grown on 50 acres and the remaining five acres are roads, equipment, shop area and homestead. The grower owns and farms the orchards.

The two major orange varieties grown in the San Joaquin Valley are navels and Valencias. Navels are grouped into three types by harvest timing – early, mid and late season. Due to current planting practices, only navels are included in this budget. Cara Cara is the variety of navel oranges currently most commonly planted.

The Cara Cara orange trees are planted double density, 10-by-20-foot spacing, at 218 trees per acre. At this density, it is possible to start harvesting in year 3 or 4. At year 8 or 9, full maturity is achieved and growers begin pruning back every other tree. This allows the grower to maintain yields while at the same time converting the field to 20-by-20 spacing – maximizing yield for a fully mature orchard.

For pest management, the study includes detailed information and links to UC Integrated Pest Management guidelines for citrus. The narrative contains tables of insecticide treatment cycles for establishment and production years.

The section “Exotic Pests of Economic Concern to Citrus Growers” contains information to meet quarantine regulations on exporting oranges from California to countries such as South Korea.

The authors describe the assumptions used to identify current costs for oranges establishment and production, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. A ranging analysis table shows profits over a range of prices and yields.

2021 – Sample Costs to Establish an Orchard and Produce Oranges in the Southern San Joaquin Valley” can be downloaded for free from the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics website at coststudies.ucdavis.edu. Sample cost of production studies for many other commodities are also available for free on the website.

2021-09-30T19:13:25-07:00September 30th, 2021|

Advice on Blue Elderberry Cultivation Available

New Guide Shows how Elderberry Activates Hedgerows, Ecologically and Commercially

A farm-edge hedgerow can be more than a boundary or barrier. When it comprises blue elderberry, it can be a way to integrate biodiversity in an often-simplified agricultural landscape – and connect with a legacy of stewardship and use by California’s Native peoples.

A new guide, published by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, provides detailed instructions and advice for California farmers on growing, harvesting, and marketing blue elderberry. It is available as a free download in the UC ANR catalog at https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Details.aspx?itemNo=8709.

“It’s the only publication of its kind, that we know of, that focuses on commercial production of a native species from within a hedgerow, which people normally think of as a conservation feature,” said Sonja Brodt, one of the publication’s authors and associate director of UC ANR’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

In addition to illustrating the plant’s many ecological benefits, “Producing Blue Elderberry as a Hedgerow-Based Crop in California” highlights the economic viability of the products made from its flowers, berries, and other components.

“Consumer interest in elderberry products is booming,” said Brodt, “and blue elderberry has the potential to meet local needs with a locally adapted species that is climate-resilient, and can be produced in a relatively low-input way that supports – rather than displaces – our native ecosystems.”

The guide incorporates the findings of a UC SAREP project exploring the farm management practices, nutritional content, and market potential of elderberry products. And Brodt emphasized that this resource also draws upon the deep knowledge of Indigenous people, as well as best practices of growers such as Katie Fyhrie, formerly of The Cloverleaf Farm in Dixon and another author of the guide.

“We originally got the inspiration to do this work from local farmers who are pioneering the use of blue elderberry harvested on their farms, and from Native Americans in California who have long stewarded and utilized blue elderberry for food and other cultural uses,” Brodt explained.

2021-09-26T21:10:53-07:00September 26th, 2021|

Trade Offs for Sustainability

Sustainability is All About Trade Offs

By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network

There is often misunderstanding and disagreement on what is truly sustainable when it comes to food and agriculture. Food futurist and author Jack Bobo said a lot of this difference in perspective comes from how localized your point of view is coming from. He says it’s a continuum that involves trade offs along the way.

“We need to think of sustainability, not in terms of good or bad or right or wrong, but in terms of choices and consequences. Consumers think of sustainability in terms of local sustainability,” Bobo said. “If I use less water, less fertilizer, less insecticides, that’s good. But agribusinesses think in terms of global sustainability. The more intensively I farm, the lower the impact in other places. And so it’s a continuum from local sustainability to global sustainability, and there will always be trade offs between the two.

“Organic has a lower local environmental footprint often, but it has a bigger global footprint because you just need more acres. Consumers though, are working with food companies and asking for regenerative because it has that local environmental benefit, but we need them to also understand the global consequences of that,” explained Bobo.

Bobo recently released a new book titled “Why Smart People Make Bad Food Choices”.

2021-09-08T21:07:09-07:00September 8th, 2021|

Ag-Tech Needs to Collaborate

Agtech Companies Need to Integrate and Collaborate

By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network 

As technology for the farm has developed, new problems have emerged. Two big ones for autonomous farming, said Carbon Robotics CEO Paul Mikesell, are too many separate applications that don’t integrate, and no way for companies to interact with each other on the farm level.

“We have this sort of field readiness for autonomy problem that I think we’re going to have to work together to overcome so that we can have a cooperative environment. Airplanes do this with a system called ADS-B where they talk to each other. We need to have some way for these different companies to work together so that they don’t bump into each other, and so that they can schedule around each other. And it’s not even just the autonomous stuff, but it’s things like where are the center pivots and what direction are they going? And things like that,” said Mikesell.

Mikesell noted at an even more fundamental level, all of ag-tech needs better ways to integrate with each other so that farmers don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they want to add a new tool.

“What I think would be bad for everybody is if all of these companies went out and had their own independent walled garden platform. And then as a farmer, you don’t have any, the ability to jump from one to the other or aggregate the data together.” explained Mikesell. “As a farmer, you want to be able to see all that stuff together, and if everybody’s doing this separate and there’s not an open platform, we’re going to wind up in a spot that just makes things worse. You know, like why do you have so many apps on your phone, right? It’s because well everything tries to keep itself separate.”

Carbon Robotics is one ag-tech company seeking collaboration in these areas.


2021-09-07T20:56:15-07:00September 7th, 2021|

Field Bindweed And Tomatoes

Field Bindweed Yield Impacts on Processing Tomatoes May be Less Than Expected

By Scott Stoddard,  County Director and UCANR Farm Advisor, Merced County

Field bindweed (Convolvulsus arvensis) is considered by many tomato growers to be the most problematic of all weeds in California production areas. Indeed, field bindweed and the closely related morningglory weeds were ranked the 8th most troublesome weeds in North America in a recent survey by the Weed Science Society of America (Van Wychen, 2019).

The rapid adoption of drip irrigation and the economic necessity of maintaining the beds and replanting with only minimal tillage for multiple seasons in processing tomatoes has created a system where field bindweed has become more prevalent. Field bindweed is extremely difficult to control because it propagates from seed and vegetatively from buds formed in the roots. Seedlings can be controlled with tillage when very young, but they become perennial very rapidly. Chemical control of seedlings is possible, but established plants are much more difficult to control.

Established plants often have a large root system relative to the amount of top growth, and thus are extremely tolerant of post emergence herbicides such as carfentrazone (Shark), glufosinate (Rely), and glyphosate (Roundup).

Bindweed is a headache not only for its persistent and pernicious growth habit and ability to reduce tomato yields, but also because it can physically stop a processing tomato harvester in the field. Vigorously growing vines can become entangled around the shaker and conveyor belts, requiring the equipment operator to shut down and manually clear out the foliage.

Several years ago, myself and other UC researchers conducted herbicide trials evaluating field bindweed control — with marginal success. In a given year and location, most of the registered herbicides in tomatoes gave only temporary suppression – about 40 – 80% bindweed control at 8 weeks after transplanting. Best results were observed where herbicides were stacked: trifluralin (Treflan) pre-plant incorporated followed by rimsulfuron (Matrix) post. Glyphosate helped in situations where the bindweed emerged early and could be applied before transplanting.

2021-09-01T21:02:16-07:00September 1st, 2021|

Benefits of Gene Editing in Produce

Gene Editing in Produce Could Help Solve Food Shortages

By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network 


Throughout the GMO revolution of many row crops, the technology was largely not applied to the fresh produce industry. Gene editing, however, is different. It allows breeders to edit the genome of these crops in the same way that could happen in nature, speeding up the process and opening new doors to solve problems in the food supply. Here’s Produce Marketing Association vp of technology Vonnie Estes.


“There’s a number of things like, non-browning is a trait that’s pretty easy to do on a lot of different crops,” said Estes.  “And so that really allows for a lot less food waste. And so let’s focus on that. How can we make, you know, fruit and vegetables, more convenient so that people, especially children eat more of them? And so looking at the convenience factor is important. So I think we’re at this really great point right now of we have these tools, you know, how do we move this along so that it’s best for the consumer?”

Estes sees big benefits to gene editing technology for consumers, the planet, and for farmers.

“You know, these technologies are really going to help as we start having the effects of climate change more, where you don’t have as much water as you used to. And so you have to grow a different variety because you don’t have as much water, or it’s too hot. Really being able to use gene editing to help around climate change and where people are growing crops is going to make a big difference,” explained Estes.


The key, says Estes, will be communicating about this technology to consumers.

2021-08-18T17:26:30-07:00August 18th, 2021|

Composting Helps Soils, and Reduce Irrigation Needs

Compost for Climate Resilient Salinas Valley


Climate change is not a future threat to the Central Coast region. The region is experiencing it now and the effects are predicted to continue to intensify.

“Symptoms of climate change including increased temperatures, wildfire intensity, storm anomalies and sea water intrusion into ground water aquifers are dramatically impacting the production of specialty crops that are important and grown in the region such as cool season vegetables,” Laura Murphy, Resource Conservation District Monterey County.

Laura Murphy

“The soils of the Salinas Valley and surrounding regions are one of the most important resources we have. Protecting them against a changing climate is critical to the future of the region. Recycling organic materials back into agriculture as compost is a solution,” explained Murphy.

Adapting to these changes in the climate requires a change in farming practices. Improving the health of the soil is one way to adapt and mitigate some of the most important harmful impacts to protect both the economic and ecological viability of the region. “Climate-smart soil management acknowledges the important role of soil in providing climate mitigation options and aims to foster co-benefits such as greenhouse gas reduction, soil carbon sequestration and farm resiliency to the extreme weather and drought conditions,” said Murphy.

“Implementing conservation practices in intensively managed vegetable production systems has always been difficult, but the application of compost can provide producers with very much needed flexibility to increase conservation goals and simultaneously develop farm resiliency to the symptoms of climate change,” noted Murphy.  “Increasing soil organic matter has numerous benefits, including increased water holding capacity, improved nutrient cycling and plant nutrient availability, diversifying and enhancing soil biological life and increasing carbon sequestration. These benefits of increased soil organic matter can lead to crop benefits including reduced irrigation demands, increased nutrient use efficiency and stabilized yields,” she said.

Beginning in 2022, California’s new state mandate, SB 1383, essentially eliminates organic materials from being landfilled to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and divert edible food for human consumption. “Diverting organic waste from landfills through composting not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector but also allows for nutrients to be cycled back into managed landscapes,” said Darlene Ruiz, with Salinas Valley Recycles.

Darlene Ruiz

“Compost is a stable nutrient-rich amendment that consists of a variety of organic materials that have gone through a heating and curing treatment process to be stabilized for use in agricultural production. Understanding the importance of protecting the public, each batch of compost produced undergoes a process to reduce pathogens, or PFRP, which requires piles to reach 131 degrees Fahrenheit for 72 hours, effectively eliminating harmful pathogens,” noted Ruiz. “Extra testing for human pathogens such as E. Coli and salmonella, ensures that the product is safe to use on crops that will be consumed fresh, such as lettuce. Documentation of these tests are available upon request,” she explained.

Compost is made by carefully mixing feed stocks of different carbon and nitrogen-rich materials. At the Johnson Canyon organics facility, state-of-the-art technology called ASP, or Aerated Static Pile, composting is used to create a consistent thermal treatment of the material. “Daily record-keeping of times and temperatures are required by local permits and state regulations and can be made available upon request,” said Andrew Tuckman, with Vision Recycling.

Andrew Tuckman

“After going through the heating process the material is allowed to cool and cure, enlivening it with beneficial microbial life and stabilizing it for sale. Transporting and spreading can be a sustainable component of the cost of purchasing material. It’s recommended that you discuss this with the composter and plan ahead,” he said.

With growers under increasing pressure to limit the application of nitrogen fertilizer due to potential harmful impacts to public and ecological health, compost application can help build soil nutrient reserves which results in a maintenance of significant proportions of crop demand while complying with water quality regulations. “Incorporating organic amendments into nutrient management plans can help reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers and improve soil conditions for future crops. Understanding soil nitrate levels is one of the most important actions growers can take to limit nitrogen loss,” said Carlos Rodriguez-Lopez, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County.

Carlos Rodriguez-Lopez

Using the soil nitrate quick test or other soil nitrogen testing methods before compost applications can help when choosing products. The carbon to nitrogen ratio of compost can be an important indicator of whether applications will retain nitrogen or release it for further uptake.

“At times, nutrient managers may want to immobilize nutrients and at other times, make them available,” said Rodriguez-Lopez. “Application timing can vary depending on management objectives. Either late in the fall, before winter rains, early spring or in between crops after the summer fallow. Application rates can also vary. Rates that are aimed at maintenance of soil organic matter may, after multiple applications, be as low as 4 to 5 tons per acre,” he said.

“If land is critically low in soil organic matter, higher rates of 10 plus tons per acre may be appropriate. No one recommendation fits all. Each field and crop location is different requiring unique approaches,” explained Rodriguez-Lopez.

2021-08-16T16:32:14-07:00August 16th, 2021|

Navel Orangeworm Research Funding Hopefully Continues

Navel Orangeworm Research Close to Approval

The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations approved the Navel Orangeworm (NOW project) at $8.1 million for FY 2022. If Congress approves the FY 2022 appropriation, it will have provided a total of $22.2 million in research funds for the purpose of limiting the damage being caused by the navel orangeworm. APG and the Navel Orangeworm Action Committee submitted FY 2022 appropriation requests to the appropriate congressional offices and are actively engaging policymakers on the necessity of continued funding.


The FY2021 funding expires on September 30, 2021; there is already discussion of a continuing resolution to maintain government funding while FY2022 appropriations bills are negotiated and finalized.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has not announced a schedule to approve its versions of the FY2022 funding bills.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has used the appropriated funds to produce the sterile moths but the science has not kept pace with the program. Recently, APG organized a Zoom meeting with APHIS, Agriculture Research Service (ARS), USDA, and the NOW Action Committee to increase the role of ARS scientists in the NOW project.  Progress is being made. Bob Klein, Ph.D. Manager, California Pistachio Research Board, has been intimately involved in the program.

2021-08-05T18:09:23-07:00August 5th, 2021|

Big Increase in State Budget for UCANR

Governor Signs ‘Transformational’ Budget for UC ANR Research and Outreach


By Pam Kan Rice, UCANR Assistant Director, New and Information Outreach

The state budget signed by Governor Newsom Monday night [July 12] includes a historic increase for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. The state restored UC ANR’s budget to pre-COVID levels of FY 2019-20 and provided a 5% increase plus an additional $32 million in ongoing funding, bringing total state support to $107.9 million for the division, which contains the county-based UC Cooperative Extension, Integrated Pest Management, and 4-H Youth Development programs.

“This budget increase is transformational and will allow us to rebuild UC Cooperative Extension’s boots-on-the-ground to help Californians cope with wildfire, drought, and climate adaptation,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

Over the past 20 years, state funding for UC ANR decreased by almost 50% (adjusted for inflation), resulting in a significant reduction of UC ANR’s Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists – from 427 positions in 2001 down to only 269 in 2021 – creating vacancies in many critical positions.

“We appreciate UC ANR stakeholders for sounding the alarm,” Humiston said. “And we are immensely grateful to Senator John Laird, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education, for recognizing this critical need and for his leadership and dedication to restoring UC ANR’s budget to bring back Cooperative Extension throughout California.”

With this new funding, UC ANR will begin recruiting for 20 UC Cooperative Extension academic positions and prioritizing many more critical positions for hiring during the next several months.

“As in the past, we will be talking to our community partners and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing needs to prioritize the next round of hiring,” Humiston said. “We must identify positions to address California’s emerging and future needs. While this state budget increase will allow UC ANR to hire more people, we will continue seeking funding from additional sources to expand access to our diverse resources for all Californians.”

To learn more about how UC ANR enhances economic prosperity protects natural resources, develops an inclusive and equitable society, safeguards food, develops the workforce, builds climate resilience, and promotes the health of people and communities in California, see the stories in its 2020 annual report at https://ucanr.edu/sites/UCANR/files/352362.pdf.

2021-07-27T11:22:09-07:00July 27th, 2021|
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