California Agriculture, March-April 1994
Volume 48, Number 2
Dairy competition mounts
peer-reviewed research articles
For wages and benefits, bigger dairies may be better
by Barbara Reed
California recently surpassed Wisconsin as the nation's number-one dairy state. To be productive, California's dairies rely heavily on hired labor. However, wages and benefits offered to dairy employees are highly variable. Herd managers and milers earn more on larger dairies. Union employees out-earn their non-union counterparts in wages and benefits. Although managerial treatment of employees is not highly variable, some practices such as team training or providing continuing education may influence herd productivity. Well-trained employees may increase herd productivity through improving disease detection and prevention, and increasing the effectiveness of breeding and nutrition programs.
Supplemented native range and subclover pastures improve lambing rates
by Martin R. Dally, Milton B. Jones, Edward J. DePeters
Grazing ewes on mature sub-clover pastures shortly before and during the breeding season was as effective as grazing them on native range pastures and supplementing with alfalfa pellets at a rate of 2 pounds per day. Ewes on both kinds of pasture produced 21% more lambs than ewes grazed on unsupplemented native pastures.
Temperature affects lesser mealworm populations in turkey brooder houses
by John C. Voris, Jeffery A. Meyer, Ralph Pfost, Rornney Woodbury
The lesser mealworm beetle is a serious pest in turkey brooder houses. It tunnels into the building walls and insulation, and serves as a vector of poultry diseases and an intermediate host of parasites. This research showed that population growth is encouraged by certain temperatures and by certain industry practices, but more research is needed to evaluate the population dynamics of the lesser mealworm, particularly its response to varying temperatures.
Ethephon sprays eliminate the messy, hazardous fruits of flowering pear and liquidambar
by Ed Perry, Allen Lagarbo
Two commonly planted street trees—flowering pear and liquidambar—produce heavy crops of fruits that are not only unsightly, but also create slippery sidewalks. Trials have now shown that almost all of the fruits of both species can be eliminated by telephone sprays applied at full bloom.
Herbicide program can control kikuyugrass in cool-season turf
by David W. Cudney, James A. Downer, Victor A. Gibeault, J. Michael Henry, Clyde L. Elmore, John S. Reints
Kikuyu grass is an invasive perennial weed of turf grass in California. Currently, complete renovation of infested turf is the most practical means of control, but this process can cost more than $1,500 per acre and it removes the sward from use for up to 3 months. A less disruptive method uses multiple selective herbicide treatments with MSMA, triclopyr or a combination of MSMA plus triclopyr. This method inhibits the competitive ability of kikuyugrass while allowing the growth of desirable cool-season turf species.
Tomatoes respond to simple drip irrigation schedule and moderate nitrogen inputs
by Timothy K. Hartz, Michelle LeStrange, Donald M. May
Scheduling drip irrigation of fresh market tomatoes according to CIMIS ETo data and plant canopy development has proved simple and efficient. Using an easy calculation, maximum yields were produced in both a mild coastal climate and the San Joaquin Valley. In similar trials, researchers confirmed that drip-irrigated tomato crops need only modest levels of nitrogen fustigation and successfully tested a new, portable device that will enable growers to measure petiole nitrogen without leaving the farm.
New celery disease appears in California
by Steven T. Koike, Elizabeth L. Little, Andrew L. Bishop, Robert L. Gilbertson
A bacterial disease of celery, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. apii, has been identified for the first time in California. Bacterial blight develops on greenhouse-grown transplants and has spread into production fields throughout coastal regions of the state. Although this disease can be confused with fungal celery blights caused by Septoria apiicola and Cercospora apii, it has several distinguishing characteristics.
Predatory beetle may suppress silverleaf whitefly
by Kevin M. Heinz, James R. Brazzle, Charles H. Pickett, Eric T. Natwick, Judy M. Nelson, Michael P. Parrella
The coccinellid beetle, Delphastus pusillus, may be able to suppress the silverleaf (or strain B sweetpotato) whitefly that has infested California agriculture. Life history characteristics of this predatoi indicate that it is most effective as a biological control agent at high whitefly densities. D. pusillus releases in Imperial Valley cotton trials reduced immature whitefly densities to one-third of the densities found in cotton plots receiving no releases.
editorial, news, letters & science briefs
Toward 2010: Division must lead UC push for public service
by Henry J. Vaux
Readers spur change at California Agriculture
Progress report: High tech meets high touch
Individual production data electronic “touch” buttons worn in the field in the field may replace hand written hand-written tracking of production.
Research update: Africanized Bees: Ready or not, here they come
The bee front has been spreading at a rate of 100 to 300 miles per year.
Dairy industry scrutinizes rBST
Mystery disease spotted in vineyards