Volume 62, Issue 1, 2008
The California wine industry is growing and changing amidst a global revolution in grape growing, wine production, wine marketing and consumer tastes. California accounted for roughly 90% of the value of U.S. wine production in 2006. U.S. per capita wine consumption and the quality of wine consumed continue to rise. The largest California wineries have long accounted for most California wine shipments and continue to expand with respect to volume and number of labels. While small wineries sell most of their wine directly to end-users, many midsized wineries face challenges in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Central Coast growers are under increasing scrutiny and regulatory pressure to manage herbicide use because of their farmland’s proximity to the Monterey Bay and National Marine Sanctuary. Vineyard floor management practices typically consist of a combination of weed control strategies, including herbicide use and cover crops. We evaluated nine combinations of vineyard floor management practices for their impacts on fruit yield, quality and costs. We found that compared to the grower standard, post-emergence herbicide treatments generally used smaller amounts of chemicals and were less costly, with similar yields and quality.
Field research and grower interviews were used to evaluate the potential of minimum tillage for California rice systems. We found that by tilling only in the fall (instead of both the fall and spring), rice farmers can control herbicide-resistant weeds when combined with a stale rice seedbed, which entails spring flooding to germinate weeds followed by a glyphosate application to kill them. Our results indicated that yield potentials are comparable between water-seeded minimum- and conventional-till systems. We also found that rice growers can reduce fuel costs and plant early. However, minimum tillage may require more nitrogen fertilizer to achieve these yields.
Our studies illustrate the dynamic nature of both the availability of split nuts and the prevalence of NOW after harvest, as well as illustrate the low density of moths needed to begin the next generation in the spring. Additionally, our work provides some insight into the relative importance of ground mummies compared to tree mummies. Although mortality was greater in ground mummies, they were more important because of their number.
Standardization of pest monitoring practices and materials to maximize sensitivity to pest populations in the field is a foundation of effective integrated pest management (IPM). In response to changes in the availability of commercial bait material for navel orangeworm (NOW) egg traps, we evaluated potential alternative bait materials for use in monitoring this key pest of almonds, pistachios, walnuts and figs. Navel orangeworm egg traps baited with uninfested nutmeats were as effective as almond meal plus 10% crude almond oil, whereas traps baited with freeze-killed, navel orangeworm–infested nutmeats were less effective. The use of nut mummies (culled during winter orchard sanitation) as trap bait may not produce consistent results since the level of navel orangeworm infestation of these nuts is typically unknown. Three seasons of field tests showed that egg traps baited with almond meal plus 3% or 10% crude almond oil received similar numbers of navel orangeworm eggs, and these traps were equally effective for at least 10 weeks.
Using comparative case studies, we evaluated youth workforce development programs in California that are funded by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and implemented by local Youth Councils and Workforce Investment Boards. First, we identified a promising practice: skill- and pride-generating public work projects. Next, we identified three characteristics of these successful youth public work initiatives: (1) combining employment preparation with social services and personal support; (2) grouping youth in cohorts that work and learn together; and (3) providing caring adult supervision that combines discipline and support. Proactive investments in high-quality programs with these characteristics can reduce the growing number of out-of-school, out-of-work youth in California, save future public costs for the criminal justice and social service systems, and provide youth with meaningful employment opportunities.