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2006 Annual Report

UC Statewide IPM Program
HIGHLIGHTS

Flower of barnyardgrass
Barnyardgrass flower head. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark.

Manipulating weed management practices can reduce herbicide dependency in rice

A University of California, Davis research team has found that different rice establishment methods can keep weeds from developing, reduce herbicide dependency, lower fuel use, and help reduce herbicide-resistant weeds in rice.
  
California’s rice industry produces nearly 2 million tons of rice annually, making it the second largest rice growing state in the nation and contributing nearly $500 million dollars to the state's economy. For the rural Sacramento Valley communities of Colusa, Butte, Sutter, and Yuba counties, rice is the predominant crop. California's rice is exported to Asia, the Middle East, and Mediterranean markets, and is distributed throughout the United States.

Weed scientist Al Fischer and Jim Hill, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, coordinated the project. “As California rice growers find their herbicide options dwindling because of widespread herbicide resistance in the major weeds of rice, the need for nonchemical means of manipulating weed management practices is imperative,” says Fischer. “Both molinate and thiobencarb had been for years the most relevant herbicides for grass control in rice, but due to resistance they no longer control watergrass. Molinate registration will expire by 2008. In addition, rice straw burning restrictions and subsequent increased straw incorporation has increased soil weed seed banks by protecting the seeds from scavengers like birds and rodents." | Read the full article |


Tom Marcellos
Tom Barcellos. Photo by Jeff Mitchell.

Conservation tillage cropping systems in the San Joaquin Valley

Tom Barcellos of T-Bar Dairy/Barcellos Farms in Porterville is a believer in conservation tillage, and it wasn’t a hard sell. Barcellos has been named the 2006 Conservation Tillage Farmer Innovator by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation Tillage (CT) Workgroup at its annual conference Oct. 19 in Five Points.

Conservation tillage is a process in which growers reduce plowing. In 2001, Barcellos tried conservation tillage on 70 acres of his 1,850-acre farm. This new process drew a lot of interest from neighboring farmers who debated the usefulness of the method.

But, Barcellos was enthusiastic about the results he was seeing. He decided to try 320 acres during the first trial year. “Before using conservation tillage, I had to do a lot more double cropping in the summer. I had five tractors making up to 10 passes through the field. Now, in the summer when I double crop, I use one tractor. I’m saving money on fuel and labor.”

Often farmers using conservation tillage also plant cover crops underneath the main crop or between two different crops to cover and protect the soil. Cover crops have additional benefits according to the species planted. For instance, legumes enrich the soil with nutrients, while plants with strong, deep roots break up compacted soil. In the low-rainfall regime of the San Joaquin Valley, farmers may benefit more from cover cropping in combination with conservation tillage to maintain soil fertility, as opposed to conservation tillage alone. | Read the full article |

Next article >> Helping Chinese farmers


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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