Jeff Mitchell Will Show The Benefits of Soil Building Practices

Researcher Invites Public to Visit San Joaquin Valley Soil Health Demonstration site in Five Points

News Release

UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist Jeff Mitchell is issuing a standing invitation to the public to visit the site of an ongoing conservation agriculture research project and see for themselves the results of long-term soil building practices.  

“Every Friday morning from 9 o’clock till noon, beginning in February and going through June, I invite folks to come to the project site to see up close and personal just what soil health means,” Mitchell said.

The research site is at the University of California’s West Side Research and Extension Center, 17353 W. Oakland Ave., in Five Points.

“I promise to be out there every Friday morning from Feb. 15 through June 26,” Mitchell said.

The project, funded by the Natural Resources Institute, compares plots that have been managed for more than 20 years in an annual rotation of cotton, processing tomatoes and, more recently, sorghum, garbanzo beans and melons under four different treatments: no-tilled plus cover crops, no-tilled with no cover crops, conventionally tilled with cover crops and conventionally tilled without cover crops.

“What we’ve got at this site is a very long-term example of exactly what implementation of a small set of soil care, or soil health, principles really means for soil function and management,” Mitchell explained.

Mitchell said that the study site in Five Points is a valuable resource for the people of California because of its dedicated adherence to principles that are widely touted to improve production efficiencies, reduce dust emissions, sequester carbon and reduce inputs over time.

“I recently heard about the value of publicly showcasing long-term sites such as the one we’ve got in Five Points. It’s being done in several other places, including the Dakotas and in Europe,” Mitchell said. “It just seems to make sense to open up our field more widely to folks who might be interested in seeing the remarkable changes we’ve seen and monitored for a long time.”

According to Mitchell, the NRI Project field is already “the most visited research field in the state,” but with this new invitation, he is hoping to have still broader impact.

“We’ve got a simply amazing resource here and I want folks to see it,” he said.

The study has been selected as one of the monitoring sites of the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements that have been initiated by the Soil Health Institute of Morrisville, N.C. More than 20 peer-reviewed scientific articles have been published based on work done in this study field.

Seminar on Sustainable & Organic Practices in Southern California

An all day seminar for growers and crop consultants focusing on sustainable and organic farming practices for pest management and plant health in Southern California will be held on June 19.

Subjects include: County of San Diego Department of Agriculture Regulatory Update, BioControl of Pests, Micronutrient Use, Essential Plant Nutrition, Soil Testing, Mycorrhizal Inoculants, Soil Amendments/Compost, Organic Weed Control, Optimizing Organic Fertilizer Application and an Organic Grower Panel Discussion.

Also exhibits by firms providing products acceptable for organic and sustainable production.  CEUs are offered for Certified Crop Advisers (6.0 hours) and licensed Pest Control Advisers (6.0 hours).

WHO: Presented by the San Diego County Chapter of California Association of Pest Control Advisers and Organic Fertilizer Association of California.

WHEN: Thursday, June 19, 2014, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.

WHERE: Pala Mesa Resort, 2001 Old Highway 395, Fallbrook, CA

INFO: Contact Steven Beckley, (916)539-4107, sbeckley@aol.com.

Program and Registration is available at https://capcaed.com/continuing-ed-seminars/june-19-2014-fallbrook-sustainable/organic-practices-in-southern-california