Salinas and Watsonville Stores Hosting Open Houses

 Attendees invited to meet the staff, learn more about full company offerings, and enjoy lunch RDO-Equipment

Author: RDO Water

RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water in Salinas and Watsonville are hosting open house events for customers and individuals interested in learning more about complete agriculture equipment and irrigation solutions.

The Salinas event takes place on Thursday, October 6, while Watsonville’s event is happening on Friday, October 7. Both events will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m., during which time the stores will be open for tours and lunch. Team members from RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water will be available to answer questions and talk with attendees about the products, services, and support offered.

As a full-service John Deere agriculture dealer, RDO Equipment Co. stores offer both new and used equipment, vast parts inventories, and service departments with highly-trained, certified technicians.

“We’ve been proud to partner with agricultural professionals in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties,” Darrell Olson, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas and Watsonville said. “I personally look forward to seeing our longtime customers, as well as meet new ones.”

Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water, echoed Olson’s enthusiasm, saying, “We have unique strength in the Salinas and Watsonville stores, with RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water operating under one roof. Our team is eager to show customers the advantages of working with a single enterprise for their agriculture equipment and irrigation needs.”

RDO Water’s full irrigation solutions include pipe and system rental, pipe and pump repair, system automation, consulting, design and installation services, and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads, and fertilizer.

To learn more about the open houses or offerings from RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water in Salinas and Watsonville, contact your local store.

Micro-Sprinklers in Strawberry Production Saves Water

Research study conducted in partnership with RDO Water Strawberry-Micro-Sprinkler

Author: RDO Water

In October 2014, a 10-month research study began on the use of micro-sprinklers in strawberry production. RDO Water was a key participant in the study, conducted at Manzanita Berry Farms in Santa Maria, CA, in partnership with University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension.

RDO Water released its results and analysis of the study in January of this year. Earlier this month, UC published a story specific to the water-savings discovered in the study, as included below.

The Issue
Water is an important resource for growing plants, and it has become scarce due to epic drought conditions in California. Conserving water through improved irrigation practices is critical for maintaining acreage of a lucrative commodity such as strawberry. Strawberry growers typically provide supplemental irrigation through overhead aluminum sprinklers to mitigate the dry conditions of the region. However, they can be inefficient systems, because they require a significant amount of water, and because there is plastic mulch on the beds, which limits the water that enters the soil and increases runoff potential. Micro-sprinklers, commonly used in orchard systems, could offer an efficient alternative to conventional aluminum sprinklers.

What Has ANR Done?
A study was conducted at Manzanita Berry Farms in Santa Maria during the 2014–2015 production season to evaluate the potential of micro-sprinklers in strawberry production. The study compared conventional aluminum sprinklers with micro-sprinklers on about one hundred and twenty 330-foot-long strawberry beds. Data were collected on the amount of water distributed, electrical conductivity of soil that determines salt condition, strawberry yield, and the incidence and severity of powdery mildew and botrytis fruit rot. While there were no conclusive findings about diseases, there were significant water savings without a negative impact on fruit yield. Detailed information about the study design and findings can be found at: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcorepostdetail.cfm?postnum=19699.

The Payoff
Significant water savings without additional maintenance costs.
This study demonstrated 32% water savings in just 3 weeks of using the micro-sprinkler system. This new information can inform future growing practices for this important California crop, valued at $2.2 billion. An initial estimate by a vendor suggests that equipment and handling costs of the micro-sprinklers are more or less similar to those of the aluminum sprinklers. If adopted, strawberry growers could conserve resources without incurring additional maintenance costs or experiencing any changes to strawberry yield.

 

To learn more about micro-sprinklers, contact Danilu Ramirez at dramirez@rdowater or a local  RDO Water store. The full list of RDO Water’s eight locations in Arizona and California can be found at http://rdowater.com/contact.

 

Full article shared from UC Delivers, with credit to Dr. Surendra Dara.

Record California Walnut Crop at 670,000 Tons

2016 crop is 11 percent larger than last year Walnut-grower

Author: Cary Blake, Western Farm Press

California English walnut growers are poised to produce about 670,000 tons of nuts, up 11 percent from last year’s production of 603,000 tons, according to a survey by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) at Sacramento.

NASS’ 2016 Walnut O.M. Survey utilized a total of 729 blocks with two sample trees per block. Survey data suggested average nut set at 1,406 per tree, up 11 percent from last year’s 1,272.

In the survey, 2016 statewide percent of sound kernels in-shell was 98.7 percent with the in-shell weight per nut at 21.6 grams. The average in-shell suture measurement was 32.2 millimeters. The in-shell cross-width measurement was 32.7 and the average length in-shell was 38.2 millimeters.

All sizing measurements were below average levels since 1985.

NASS says the 2016 walnut season began with fair amounts of winter moisture and adequate chilling hours. Weather during the walnut bloom was average – a mix of ideal days and others with stronger winds and wet weather.

Rain during the spring moths increased blight chances.

Full article shared from Western Farm Press website.

RDO Water Acquires Kuida Ag Supply Company of Salinas

Acquisition expands irrigation offerings at RDO Water stores in Salinas & Watsonville RDOWater_Salinas

Author: RDO Water

RDO Water, along with RDO Equipment Co., announces the acquisition of Kuida Ag Supply Company of Salinas. Over the next few weeks, RDO Water will be moving all Kuida Ag operations to its combination RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water stores in Salinas and Watsonville.

The acquisition expands RDO Water’s offerings of irrigation products and solutions, which includes pipe and system rental; pipe and pump repair; system automation, design and installation services; consulting services; and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads and fertilizer.

RDO Water is also retaining the full Kuida Ag staff, bringing its strong community ties, deep knowledge of the industry and region, and more than 25 years of experience to the RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water businesses.

“We’re thrilled to be adding Kuida Ag to the RDO Water team,” Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water said. “The company’s strong customer relationships and regional insights are all valuable on their own, but most important is the philosophy of Kuida Ag. One that treats customers as stakeholders in the business and, above all else, puts people first. It aligns with how we’ve always done business at RDO Water and will continue to do going forward.”

Not only does the acquisition enhance RDO Water’s offerings, it opens additional opportunities for RDO Equipment Co. customers as well. Darrell Olson, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas explained, “Our customers have come to expect a total solutions experience from us, with agricultural equipment, service, and irrigation solutions. It’s exciting for us to provide them even greater opportunities to enhance their business.”

RDO Equipment Co., a full-service John Deere agriculture equipment dealer, has been serving the Salinas and Watsonville areas since the dealerships were acquired in 2011. The company acquired RDO Water – Salinas in 2013 and added RDO Water to the Watsonville store in 2015.

A grand opening celebration is planned in October at the RDO Equipment Co. / RDO Water store in Salinas. Customers and partners can stay up-to-date on details by visiting the RDO Water and RDO Equipment Co. websites.

Butterflies May Signal Future Alfalfa Problems

Alfalfa caterpillars, the larvae of butterfly eggs, can cause reductions in yield and quality Butterflies-Alfalfa

Author: Mike Rankin, Hay & Forage Grower

Butterflies in alfalfa fields may be free and make for a good photo opportunity, but they also can indicate future alfalfa worm-feeding issues. That’s the warning coming out of Central California where alfalfa fields are awash with yellow and white butterflies this summer.

“Some alfalfa fields appear more yellow and white than green with outbreaks of alfalfa caterpillar butterflies in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys,” notes Rachael Long, an extension farm advisor in the region. “In certain cases, the populations have been massive,” she recently reported in the University of California extension’s Alfalfa & Forage News.

It’s not that the butterflies do any direct damage, but the eggs they lay soon develop into larvae known as alfalfa caterpillars. The yellow butterflies, sometimes referred to as sulfur butterflies, are cyclical, occurring in large numbers every few years. According to Long, contributing to high populations are factors such as slow and uneven alfalfa growth, a lack of predator insects such as the parasitoid wasp, and hot, dry weather.

The alfalfa caterpillar worm is green with a white stripe along each side. “They consume entire leaves and strip a plant, causing significant reductions in yield and quality if numbers are high enough,” Long notes. In severe cases, plants can be completely stripped of the high-value leaves.

Sulfur butterflies and the associated alfalfa caterpillar are not confined to California. The species can be found throughout the United States. According to the “Compendium of Alfalfa Diseases and Pests” (Third Edition), this pest does the most damage in the southwestern U.S., usually on irrigated fields. In southern regions, up to seven generations can occur, whereas in northern locations there may be as few as two.

The economic threshold for controlling alfalfa caterpillars is 10 healthy, nonparisitized caterpillars per sweep of the net. California specialists recommend scouting for the pest in conjunction with armyworms. They have produced a video that helps growers and consultants identify the worms, their natural parasite enemies, and how to differentiate a healthy worm from one that is parasitized.

If treatment thresholds are reached and the field is not close to harvest maturity, there are several chemical control options available for spraying alfalfa. Products containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are also an option. Long reports that a number of fields in Central California have already required chemical applications to control their worm outbreak.

Full article shared from Hay & Forage Grower website.

Drip Irrigation Study Shows WUE Improvement

Study evaluated drip system distribution uniformity in key produce regions of California California_Drip_Irrigation

Author: Hank Giclas, Western Grower & Shipper

Water use efficiency has long been a priority for produce growers in the United States, but with diminishing water resources there has been a renewed urgency to improve efficiency in drip irrigation systems.

Western Growers, in concert with JR Simplot Water Services and The Toro Company, recently concluded a study to evaluate distribution uniformity in drip irrigation systems in key produce regions in California, including both the Oxnard Plain and the Coachella Valley.  This study was done in cooperation with Western Growers members who were interested in water efficiency and will be published soon to provide useful information to those operating drip systems.

An irrigation system’s uniformity of water distribution or distribution uniformity (DU) is a key measurement of a system’s water use efficiency.  If water is not distributed evenly or uniformly on a field, areas receiving less acre-feet of water may have poorer plant health and reduced crop yields.  Conversely, to compensate for unequal distribution and avoid reduced yields, the system must over-irrigate.

DU, expressed as a percentage, is considered outstanding when above 90 percent, as good between 70-90 percent, and poor when it is below 70 percent.  Operating with a DU above 90 percent makes good economic sense in that DU correlates closely to crop yield and reduces costs related to increased water use, which includes the water itself, energy to power the system, and often fertilizers and other chemicals run through drip systems.

These increased costs can be significant.  For example, an irrigation system operating at 75 percent DU versus 85 percent DU can use more than twice the water, three times the fertilizer and increase energy cost by three times.  In addition to increased costs, poor DU also impacts yield revenue.  A study in 2014 (J Anshutz, “Retrofitting your irrigation system for success and profitability”) assumed an average yield of 2,500 pounds per acre and a crop value of $3 per pound.  In a field with 85 percent DU, the author estimated a per-acre revenue loss of $188 due to DU degradation, while in a field with 75 percent DU, the loss grew dramatically to $563 per acre.  These numbers increase substantially as DU further degrades below 70 percent, demonstrating a real impact on the bottom line for growers using poorly designed and maintained irrigation systems.

Read the rest of the article here.

Full article shared from Toro DripTips website.

Limiting Spider Mite Damage in Vineyards

Pacific spider mite prefers hotter, dryer part of the season California-Vineyard

Author: Greg Northcutt, Western Farm Press

As summer temperatures start to soar and the number of Willamette spider mites in vineyards begin dropping, the population of Pacific spiders can take off.

Typically, the early-season Willamette spider mite begins appearing when the leaf buds open. It can be a problem in coastal areas and Sierra foothill. However, it seldom is a pest in the San Joaquin Valley, especially in Thompson Seedless vines.

The larger Pacific spider mite, on the other hand, is the main pest mite species in the San Joaquin Valley and may also be the primary pest mite in certain coastal grape-growing areas. It prefers the hotter, dryer part of the season

Of these two pest mites, the Pacific poses a bigger threat if populations develop, notes Glenn McGourty, University of California Cooperative Extension viticulture farm advisor for Lake and Mendocino Counties.

Whereas the Willamette mite stays closer to the cordon where it affects older leaves, the Pacific mite is found on the tips of shoots where newer leaves play a bigger role in producing sugar later in the season. As a result, unlike the Willamette mite, the Pacific mite can affect ripening of the grapes.

Dusty conditions, like where vines are close to unpaved roads, favor populations of both species, McGourty says. So do sandy, gravelly sites where drier soils may stress the vines.

“In our area last year, the Pacific mite pressure was a little higher than usual in some upland vineyards where the drought was full blown, and growers were unable to irrigate as much as normal,” he says.

However, dust from roads isn’t the only type of dust that encourages a buildup of mites. Sulfur dust kills beneficials, such as predatory mites, that feed on both Willamette and Pacific mites. That’s why he doesn’t advise relying solely on sulfur dust to control powdery mildew.

“We like to apply sulfur dust post-bloom until the weather gets hot,” McGourty says. “Here in Lake and Mendocino Counties that’s from late May until mid-July. It would be sooner in the Central Valley. When temperatures get above 95 degrees, sulfur is likely to burn foliage.”

Because mites live underneath leaves, which shield them from sprays, they can be difficult to control with sprays. He recommends growers who use miticides to apply them before the canopy gets big, which may hinder penetration of the spray through the foliage.

However, he reminds growers that, depending on the material and mite population levels, a miticide treatment may not be effective against the various stages of mites present in the population. So an additional treatment may be required. In time, that can lead to development of resistance to the material. It is important to understand optimum timing—usually earlier rather than later. Looking for predatory mites is also important, since they may already be present in many vineyards.

McGourty favors an integrated biocontrol program using natural enemies to limit numbers of both Willamette and Pacific mites. These beneficials include six-spotted thrips as well as several commercially available predatory mites, like Galendromus occidentalis.

Some growers have achieved good success with Galendromus occidentalis, he notes, adding “These predatory mites, released at the rate of 5,000 per acre and preferably in the spring, come on bean plants that are placed in the canopy,” he says. “These predators scatter quickly, hunting for the pest spider mites, and they reproduce pretty effectively.

More information on controlling spider mites is available at http://ipm.ucanr.edu

Full article shared from Western Farm Press website.

Diving Into Drones

Three key areas to explore when considering a drone for business RDO-Drone

Author: Nate Dorsey, RDO Equipment Co.

Until recently, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, were primarily viewed as either a “cool toy” or the “latest and greatest” piece of technology only owned by the largest and most cutting-edge farms.

As the technology has become more accessible, drones can now be considered a practical business tool for all growers, including hay and forage producers.

Drones can, in a single flight, monitor crop health over hundreds or even thousands of acres. As a result, they’re enabling hay and forage professionals to spend less time on manual scouting and reacting to problems and more time proactively addressing field needs before major issues arise.

While UAS technology is appealing, many are wary because they feel they lack the skills to use one effectively in their business. Before making the leap into drone ownership, every grower should consider the following key areas: cost, regulations and personnel.

Cost considerations
There are several options for low-cost drones purchased from big-box retailers. While the low price tag may be attractive, these units are designed for recreational rather than professional use.

Software, high-quality cameras with the option to measure different bands of light, ease of use and overall durability often aren’t part of the package.

On the other hand, drones engineered for professional use are equipped with nearly everything needed to begin using them in a farming operation out-of-the-box. These units are engineered well, include flight-planning and image-processing software and often have great warranties and optional insurance plans.

When purchased at a reputable dealership, they also likely come with service and training from a knowledgeable product expert.

Flight safety should always be a priority, and it also helps to protect the investment. It’s important to consider personal safety, the safety of others that might be in the vicinity and the safety of the equipment.

Respect to regulations
Going hand-in-hand with safety, regulations are a significant part of UAS operations. Anyone who has paid attention to drones in the media has heard about the regulations that come with ownership. Because drones are classified as an aircraft, federal regulations set the requirements all operators must follow.

To be brought up to speed, take a look at the resources available from the FAA and RDO Integrated Controls.

Proper personnel
The final consideration regarding UAS ownership is one often overlooked: personnel. This doesn’t necessarily mean adding more people to a team but could mean developing the right person or people to make it successful.

In order to achieve the maximum benefit of the technology, it’s essential that someone have the resources needed to learn to operate and manage the technology for a business.

All decision-makers should ask themselves the following questions prior to a drone purchase.

First: “Do I have the capability to manage this process myself?

  • If that answer is no: “Can one of my existing employees take ownership of this?
  • If you’re still unsure, the question may be: “Do I need to hire an expert or someone who can be trained to be an expert?”

From research to reward
No longer reserved for an elite group of professionals, UAS ownership can be a practical and smart move for all growers. While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and surging popularity of these units, a tactical and thorough evaluation is still a must when deciding if drone ownership is the right decision for your business.

About the Author

Nate Dorsey is an Agronomist for RDO Equipment Co., based in Moorhead, MN. Contact him at ndorsey@rdoequipment.com or on Twitter at @RDONateDorsey.

Additional contribution to this article provided by Matt Hayes, mapping/UAV product supervisor, and Bill Edmonson, UAV product specialist, both for RDO Integrated Controls and based in Billings, MT.

Article originally written for Progressive Forage Grower magazine. Full article can be viewed on Progressive Forage Grower website and in the Jul 15 issue.

House Vote Sets Stage for Talks on Drought Relief

Passage of Interior appropriations bill a step forward in addressing need for drought legislation Drought-in-California

Author: Christine Souza, Ag Alert

Before members of Congress left Washington for the political conventions and August recess, the House of Representatives passed a 2017 appropriations bill that includes California drought-relief provisions.

California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said passage of the appropriations legislation by the House represented an important step toward addressing problems that limit the flexibility of the California water system.

By a vote of 231-196, the House passed the 2017 Interior appropriations bill, H.R. 5538, including the California-related water provisions.

The inclusion of the provisions on water could help set the stage for negotiations with the U.S. Senate this fall, said Erin Huston, CFBF federal policy consultant.

“This is the first time the House has passed an Interior bill since 2009, which can be seen as a milestone in itself,” Huston said. “Additionally, this bill provides a potential path for desperately needed federal drought legislation. We are still working under a very limited calendar, but we will continue to urge a federal legislative solution.”

H.R. 5538 provides $32.1 billion in total discretionary budget authority for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and related agencies for fiscal year 2017. This represents a decrease of $64 million from the 2016 enacted level and $1 billion below the administration’s request.

Drought-relief provisions in the bill were added during full committee markup last month by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford. The drought provisions stem from Valadao’s H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act, which would require federal agencies to “use current and reliable data” when making regulatory decisions and give federal regulators flexibility to capture more water during wet years.

“This vote marks the third appropriations bill that has included solutions to California’s water crisis,” Valadao said, adding that he would “continue to pursue every single legislative avenue available until my constituents have the water they so desperately need.”

Certain elements of Valadao’s drought legislation were included in the appropriations bill, such as provisions pertaining to pumping water, long-term water storage, protections for water rights holders, federal water purchases and promoting conservation fish hatcheries for delta smelt.

To increase the chances for passage, Valadao’s drought bill, in its entirety, has also been added to House energy legislation. The Senate previously passed its own energy bill, Huston said, so “the two chambers will need to go to conference and work out the differences.”

“An energy conference is looking more probable, but still faces the challenge of a limited legislative calendar, as we are now into time away from Washington, D.C., for political conventions and summer recess,” Huston added.

The Interior appropriations bill also includes $480 million to fully fund Payments in Lieu of Taxes, also known as PILT—which provides funds to local communities with federal land to help offset losses in property taxes—and $3.9 billion for the Department of the Interior and Forest Service to prevent and combat wildfire.

In addition, the legislation contains policy provisions intended to stop federal regulatory overreach that harms U.S. agriculture, including provisions on the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, Huston said.

The White House has indicated the president will veto the appropriations bill in its current form.

However, Huston said, “I think the question is whether or not they can attach it to something that the president just can’t veto. All of this is still very much in ‘we will see’ mode.”

Christine Souza is an assistant editor of Ag Alert.

Full article shared from Ag Alert, with credit to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

RDO Water in Salinas Moves to New Location

Relocation puts RDO Water and RDO Equipment Co. under one roof rdo_hawley_jd_9257

RDO Water in Salinas has moved the existing RDO Equipment Co. store at 501 El Camino Real S.

The move brings to the store RDO Water’s full irrigation solutions including pipe and system rental; pipe and pump repair; system automation, design and installation services; consulting services; and products including drip tape, sprinkler heads and fertilizer.

As a full-service John Deere agriculture dealer with both new and used equipment, a vast parts inventory, and highly-trained service department, RDO Equipment Co. has been serving Monterey County since the dealership was acquired in 2011.

The addition of RDO Water now enables the store to offer a true total solutions experience to customers, according to Darrell Olson, General Manager of RDO Equipment Co. in Salinas. “It’s exciting for us to provide customers with more opportunities to enhance their business,” he said.

Bruce Daughters, Vice President of RDO Water, echoed Olson’s enthusiasm, saying, “Both current and potential new customers will benefit from the expanded offerings now available.”

A grand opening celebration is planned in August. Customers and partners can stay up-to-date on details by visiting the RDO Equipment Co. and RDO Water websites.