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How to Learn Spanish

April 14th, 2014
How to Learn Spanish

Many grape growers would like to learn to speak Spanish in order to communicate more effectively with farmworkers who are more comfortable communicating in that language.  However, the task of learning a foreign language just seems to be too difficult.  This conclusion is often arrived at after several years of studying a foreign language in high school or college without good results. Because I have studied 8 different languages over…

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Soil Moisture Monitoring

April 8th, 2014
Soil Moisture Monitoring

Here are the basic facts of water in vineyards. Water resides in the soil, the atmosphere, and the grapevines. The water in these vineyard elements is interconnected and forms a continuum. In California, after the last spring rain, water moves mostly from the soil to the atmosphere, either directly through evaporation or indirectly through the vines as they transpire. The following is another fact. Efficient and low risk water management…

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Development of Virtual Weather Stations in Lodi

March 31st, 2014
Development of Virtual Weather Stations in Lodi

Devising strategies for control of powdery mildew is a major focus of winegrape growers and pathology researchers. Many growers rely on nearby weather stations (such as a CIMIS station), the powdery mildew risk index, and other site-specific historical and seasonal metrics to determine the ideal time for a fungicide or sulfur spray.  Some growers have purchased individual weather stations for their vineyards, but such an investment is thought to be…

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Sustainable Agriculture – A Historical Perspective

March 24th, 2014
Sustainable Agriculture – A Historical Perspective

This month I would like to discuss sustainable agriculture. The following comments are my own and do not represent the official policy of the Lodi Winegrape Commission. I am sharing them in order to stimulate further discussion on this topic. I believe that “sustainable agriculture” is an easy concept to define. It is simply agriculture that can continue indefinitely without depleting the resource base upon which it depends. In my…

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How Will Farmers Respond to the 2014 California Drought?

March 17th, 2014
How Will Farmers Respond to the 2014 California Drought?

For the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project, the Department of Water Resources forecast in late January 2014 that there would be zero water deliveries to the 25 million people and 1 million acres of farmland that typically rely on its services. It was a move that clearly demonstrated the dire nature of our current California drought, which has left many wondering how farmers in…

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Introduction to the Central Valley Farmland Trust & Agriculture Conservation Easements

March 10th, 2014
Introduction to the Central Valley Farmland Trust & Agriculture Conservation Easements

The Central Valley Farmland Trust (CVFT) is a non-profit public benefit entity (501 c(3)) engaged in the preservation of prime irrigated farmland in the Central San Joaquin Valley. We work to preserve local farmland mainly through the voluntary acquisition of agricultural conservation easements (ACE) from willing landowners. CVFT was formed in 2004 via the merger of three existing land trusts, currently operates in Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Sacramento Counties….

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Economic Benefits from Certified Leafroll-free Grapevine Stock

March 3rd, 2014
Economic Benefits from Certified Leafroll-free Grapevine Stock

Plant viruses affect many crops and cost billions of dollars annually in preventative measures and damages. In grapevines, most long-distance spread of viruses is caused by the movement of infected plants, which can be controlled effectively if clean stock is made available to growers. Several grapevine clean plant centers have been established throughout the United States. These centers provide virus testing and cleaning services, and work in partnership with the…

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Herbicides and Winegrape Yield: A Research Gap

February 24th, 2014
Herbicides and Winegrape Yield: A Research Gap

When I was a pest management student in college I had a Chilean-born professor named Leo Caltagirone. He used to tell us that we should always focus on the crop that we were working with rather than the pests. The reason he said this was because of the natural tendency of entomologists, plant pathologists and weed scientists to focus on their particular class of organisms rather than the crop that…

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Vineyard Management Strategies for Drought Conditions

February 18th, 2014
Vineyard Management Strategies for Drought Conditions

So far, this year is a drought year unlike any other in recent California history. At this time, many vineyards not only have a limited water supply for irrigation, but the water in their root zones is well below their full water holding capacities. With our rainfall future uncertain, we need to prepare for the worst. Here are four drought management strategies for your consideration. Artificial Rain This first strategy…

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Powdery Mildew Prevention (not Control) in Chardonnay Vineyards

February 10th, 2014
Powdery Mildew Prevention (not Control) in Chardonnay Vineyards

This month I would like to share my thoughts regarding how to prevent powdery mildew disease in Chardonnay grapes. For 19 years I worked with Ruby Seedless table grapes in the Reedley area, and that experience shaped my approach to preventing powdery mildew. The Ruby Seedless variety is more susceptible to powdery mildew than wine grape varieties and the growers have a zero tolerance for infections. As a result, my…

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