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Autonomous Robot to Sample Leaves and Measure Water Potential

Every backyard gardener knows how hard it can be to tell when to water the plants. Multiply that by tens or hundreds of acres and it’s easy to see the challenges growers face keeping their crops healthy while managing water resources wisely. To determine water needs accurately, growers hand-pluck individual leaves from plants, put them in pressure chambers, and apply …

Fall Microirrigation System Maintenance

California Avocado Commission — Microirrigation systems (microsprinklers, drip emitters and drip tape) tend to provide better distribution/emission uniformity than other irrigation methods. However, the miniscule flow passages in these systems can become clogged and thus disrupt the uniformity of water applied to a crop. Late fall and winter are an ideal time to review irrigation systems for needed repairs or …

CDFA Environmental Farming Program Saves Water & Energy

Recent heat waves have caused California’s energy grid to take a beating, which forced the California Independent System Operator, the entity that operates the state’s power grid, to institute rolling blackouts. How do California’s farmers and ranchers deal with energy uncertainty during times like this, when the intense heat demands an increase in irrigation? For many years, they have been working …

Automation Helps Solve Specialty Crop Challenges

With support from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Multistate Research Fund, researchers at 17 land-grant universities are working together to develop automated systems that work well for labor-intensive specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery plants. A multi-state collaborative approach lifts the burden of research and development from a single specialty crop sector and spurs major …

Certis USA Donates Another $20,000 to Help Citrus Industry Fight Its Greatest Threat

For the fourth consecutive year, Certis USA, the leader in biopesticides, has donated $20,000 to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (CRDF) to help fund the non-profit’s research aimed at finding a cure for Huanglongbing (HLB; citrus greening). The company’s successful “Certis for Citrus” program utilizes sales from their top citrus products to annually support CRDF’s mission.   The …

New Resources for Farmers with CA Irrigation Management Information System

Many farmers are already familiar with California DWR’s CIMIS program, with weather stations that collect data for them all over the state. What they may not know is some newer features to the program that can help them better determine irrigation needs for their crops wherever they may be. Watch this brief interview with Steve Ewert as he explains.

Automated Delivery System for Therapeutic Materials to Treat HLB Infected Citrus

Why is this research needed? In 2005, a disease called Huanglongbing (HLB, citrus greening, was identified in Florida’s commercial citrus groves. The disease is caused by a bacterium that affects all citrus cultivars by disrupting the flow of nutrients from the source of production, to the site of use, causing tree decline. HLB weakens the root system, increases early fruit …

How Drones Can Help Farmers

Have you seen a drone buzzing by in a park and wondered what all the fuss is about? These flying vehicles may seem like just an upgrade to the remote-controlled helicopters of yesteryear. But drones are receiving a lot of attention for good reasons. Drones can help people, including farmers and scientists, look at and analyze pretty much anything. When …

Finding Truth & What to Do Amidst the Controversy Over Crop Protection Materials “Pesticides”

Agriculture and the science of crop protection materials is too often misunderstood by the public and is under constant attack by extremists in the political arena. As legislation and jurisdiction begins to more commonly ignore sound science in their decision-making, farmers are rightfully concerned about the future of agriculture and what may or may not be in their power to …

Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

The purpose of the SCRI program is to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by awarding grants to support research and extension that address key challenges of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems. Projects must address at least one of five focus areas: …

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