Alkaliweed Alert! Your Help is Needed!

Information Needed on A New Plant Called Alkaliweed 

By James Schaeffer, Kurt Hembree, and Anil Shrestha, Graduate Student CSU, Fresno, UCCE, Fresno County, and Professor, CSU, Fresno

Pistachio growers and consultants in the southern San Joaquin Valley have recently reported an invasion of a new plant (alkaliweed) along irrigation ditches, roadsides, and into their orchards. Alkaliweed is a California native perennial plant that seems to be rapidly spreading throughout the region.

In some cases, this weed has completely taken over pistachio orchards in a matter of a couple of years after first being spotted. Thus far, repeated applications of postemergence herbicides have only yielded minimal control effects.

Alkaliweed in the field.

Unfortunately, little information is known to date about specific biological and ecological characteristics of this weedy plant, so we are asking for your assistance to help us identify where specifically it has become a problem for you. With this information, we will better be able to understand its growth characteristics and hopefully develop control measures to mitigate the problem.

Studies are currently under way to look at some of these growth characteristics (such as response to salinity, light, and moisture). Your input of where it has become a problem for you and your growers is critical for us to be successful.

Please follow the link https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/1f4753edfd7347ce84cc81f35e65dc02     to take a quick survey on alkaliweed in your area. Your help on this important weed issue is greatly appreciated!

Idea to Reduce Glyphosate Use with Grapes

Use Glyphosate When Absolutely Needed

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

There is an effort underway to minimize glyphosate use before bud break in grapes. It doesn’t need to be used all the time. A lot of annual weeds can be controlled with several herbicides. Keep the glyphosate for hard to control perennials.

John Roncoroni, a UC Cooperative Extension Weed Science Farm Advisor in Napa County, has made strides toward meeting this challenge. Many times, growers will do two applications of herbicides during the year … but what I’m trying to do is push it back to post-leaf fall after the season to clean up and come back with a pre-emergent material right before bud break then maybe skip that last glyphosate treatment after bud break.

Roncoroni explained that the idea is for grower not to use glyphosate on weeds during the growing season.

Reserve Glyphosate for tough weeds such as field bindweed.

Roncoroni mentioned that he works with school districts and municipalities, and there are many of them want to ban the use of glyphosate.

“It’s not so much the glyphosate molecule; it’s that we have all used so much of it over the years,” he said. “Rely on preemergent materials early in the season and reserve glyphosate as a clean up at the end of the season.”

“My philosophy when I talk to people is to not ban it but to save it for needed use. Maybe we pretend that there are no herbicide alternatives available. We have annual grasses that are easy to kill, then use an alternative herbicide for that. But when you have weeds where you need that systemic benefit of glyphosate, then use it. It is a good molecule, and it has an important fit in weed control, but it does need to be used all the time,” Roncoroni said.

And of course, reading and following the herbicide label will maintain its safety.

Sorghum May Be Alternative to Corn

Researcher Looks to Sorghum to Replace Corn Silage in Dry Years

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Water has been a big issue in California for the last couple of years, and many dairy producers are looking for an alternative to corn silage for when water is scarce. Sorghum silage may be a viable alternative to corn. California Ag Today met with Jennifer Heguy, a farm advisor with the UC Cooperative Extension in Merced County who is working on a project, funded by the University of California, to research sorghum.

Heguy’s project consists of looking at sorghum silage to see if it is a good replacement for dairies when California does not have enough water to grow corn. Heguy said this is, “not a good time to talk about sorghum right now because we’ve had a really wet winter and we had this devastating sugar cane aphid last year, which just decimated sorghum crops, but we are continuing to work on sorghum silage.”

With the recent emergence of the sugar cane aphid last year, the sorghum crop in California took a big hit, but the project continues. Some of these projects can take two to three years to determine if it is a good fit into the California feeding systems.

“So this year, we are going to be taking a deeper look at the sorghum quality in terms of nutrition, fermentation characteristics, how people are putting this silage up, and how they are actually feeding it out,” Heguy said.

Photo Courtesy of University of California

Upcoming CDFA Meeting to Discuss Dairy Digester Research Program

Dairy Digesters Are Needed to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is developing a new program, the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program, authorized by the Budget Act of 2014 (Chapter 25, Statutes of 2014). CDFA was appropriated $12 million dollars from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to provide financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters in California, which will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

CDFA will administer the program in two phases, beginning with Phase I, Dairy Digester Development and Phase II, Research. An estimated $11 million in competitive grant funding will be awarded to provide financial assistance for the implementation of dairy digesters that result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and provide other environmental benefits (Phase I). An estimated $500,000 will be made available for research and demonstration projects that improve the economic performance of dairy digesters (Phase II).

Three public stakeholder meetings have been scheduled in November 2014 to explain the new program and to receive comments and suggestions. These public meetings will be held on the following dates and at the following locations:

Thursday, November 6, 2014 – 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

University of California Cooperative Extension Stanislaus County

3800 Cornucopia Way

Room: HI

Modesto, CA 95358

 

Monday, November 10, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

University of California Cooperative Extension Tulare County

4437 S. Laspina Street (Across the street from World Ag Expo)

Room: Tulare County Agricultural Building Auditorium

Tulare, CA 93274

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Includes Webinar access!

California Department of Food and Agriculture

1220 N Street Room: Auditorium

Sacramento, CA 95814

 

The meeting on November 13 will include a webinar to allow remote attendance.

 

More information about this program is available on the CDFA Environmental Stewardship websiteFor additional information on dairy digesters, click on: California EPA Digesters and California EPA Anaerobic Digestion.

UCCE on YouTube: Drought Mitigation in Livestock Production

No Water Logo

UCCE’s Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center has posted the entire January 29th seminar, “Drought Mitigation in Livestock Production” on YouTube. To access all 14 seminar videos, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/ucsfrec?feature=watch.