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Water Management — Part I

December 15th, 2014
Water Management — Part I

Introduction Describing the issue of water in California, Mark Twain once intoned, “whiskey’s fer drinkin’, water’s fer fightin’.” Winegrapes use less water than most crops, so we do a little less fighting than some, but we still need to manage our most precious resource to the best of our ability. Drip (or “low volume”) irrigation has revolutionized viticulture. Low volume irrigation systems allow small amounts of water to be applied slowly and frequently through emitters…

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Conservation Tillage of Cover Crops in Vineyard Soils to Improve Carbon Sequestration and Diminish Greenhouse Gas Emissions

December 8th, 2014
Conservation Tillage of Cover Crops in Vineyard Soils to Improve Carbon Sequestration and Diminish Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and other sectors of California’s economy has become one of the most important environmental concerns of state and federal regulatory organizations. This is the result of the June 2006 passage of the California Global Warming Solutions Act, Assembly Bill 32, which calls for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) production to 1993 levels by 2020; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent endangerment finding…

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Vineyard Management Practices and Carbon Footprints

December 1st, 2014
Vineyard Management Practices and  Carbon Footprints

The California grape and wine community, like many other agricultural and business sectors, is increasingly interested in better understanding its ‘carbon footprint’. A carbon footprint can be defined as a comprehensive measure of the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced and consumed, and is used to determine whether or not individual operations are contributing to the increase of GHGs in the atmosphere. Some vineyard operations, such as tractor driving, “produce” the GHG carbon dioxide (CO2). Indeed,…

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Cover Cropping Systems for Organically Farmed Vineyards

November 24th, 2014
Cover Cropping Systems for Organically Farmed Vineyards

Vineyard cover cropping practices have been refined in Mendocino and Lake counties over the past 15 years. When organic and sustainable winegrowing began in the late 1980s, many of the cover crop species were selected from agronomic crop farming systems. While these were well-suited for bringing “life” back into the soil, they weren’t ideal species for a vineyard. Many were simply too energy-intensive to farm; too vigorous, grew into the…

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Ciatti Global Wine Market Update – November 2014

November 17th, 2014
Ciatti Global Wine Market Update – November 2014

The harvests have all come to an end in the Northern Hemisphere, and it looks as though France has regained its position as the largest producer in the world. French growers looked to have rebounded from disappointing volume results in 2013 with a much better looking crop in 2014. While all regions did not participate in the gain, as Languedoc notably did not have large output, the French growers overall are feeling good about…

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Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part III

November 10th, 2014
Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part III

Thanks for reading this three-part series about using soil moisture sensors to inform irrigation management in vineyards. Part I focused on selecting locations to install soil moisture sensors. Part II took a look at depth of sensor placement and proximity to drip emitters and vines. Here, in Part III, we will cover common types of soil moisture sensors and tips for installation. Common Types of Soil Moisture  Sensors and Tips for…

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Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part II

November 3rd, 2014
Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part II

Thanks for reading this three-part series on using soil moisture sensors to inform irrigation management in vineyards. Part I focused on selecting locations to install soil moisture sensors. Here, in Part II, we take a look at depth of sensor placement and proximity to drip emitters and vines. Next week in Part III, we will cover common types of soil moisture sensors and tips for installation. Depth of sensor placement After…

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Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part I

October 27th, 2014
Using Soil Moisture Sensors for Vineyard Irrigation Management: A Practical Guide for Installing and Interpreting Information from Soil Moisture Monitoring Technologies in Vineyards – Part I

Grape growers are encouraged to use a combination of soil, plant, and weather data when determining the length and frequency of irrigation events in vineyards. The most common questions growers want to answer with regard to vineyard irrigation are: How often should the vineyard be watered? How much water should be applied per irrigation? Estimation of daily evapotranspiration can tell a grower roughly how much water is removed from the…

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Farm Labor in California’s Specialty Crops

October 20th, 2014
Farm Labor in California’s Specialty Crops

The Census of Agriculture (COA), which provides the most complete profile of the nation’s farming sector, highlights the importance of fruits and nuts, vegetables and melons, and horticultural specialty (FVH) crops in California. The farm value of U.S. FVH commodities in 2012 was $57 billion or 27% of U.S. crop sales, while California sales of FVH commodities of $26 billion were 87% of California crop sales. The importance of FVH…

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Introducing Dan Ostrowski

October 13th, 2014
Introducing Dan Ostrowski

Dan Ostrowski, of Wilbur Ellis, represented Lodi while attending an intensive and hands-on five-day spray application workshop where he learned about cutting edge pesticide spray technologies and practices. The workshop is part of a 2-year program funded by Western Sustainable Agriculture and Research that aims to establish a national network of personnel trained to deliver research-based information on the  fundamentals of safe, effective pesticide application. The workshop, which was held…

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