Cooperative Extension activities in field crops. An extensive research and education program is conducted each year to help growers meet the challenges that limit the highest agricultural productivity. This research is done in a coordinated effort among scientist located on the UC Davis campus, cooperating growers and the local Cooperative Extension office. In addition to the ongoing agricultural issues, more time is being spent in the area of environmental concerns of water quality, pesticide pollution, and farming practices that threaten endangered species.
The research being conducted in San Joaquin County field crops include: The statewide variety development and testing program for wheat, rice and dry beans. Each year hundreds of potentially new cultivars are evaluated for yield, quality & improvements in pest & disease problems. Many of the new cultivars that make it to the commercial production system have their beginning in these experiments. The annual reports with results can be obtained on the webpage link to publications.
Pest problems and pesticides are constantly being evaluated to find new and environmental safer approaches to controlling the problem. Some of the new chemistry offers favorable results. Other pest management approaches include mixing crop species to combat weeds and insects and reduce the need for pesticides. Research is also being conducted which study the movement of pesticides and to help contain off site movement. New crops are always of interest to the farming community in hopes of finding alternatives to the over produced commodities. Some of these new crops have included:
- Stevia is a perennial plant that produces a sweetener much more concentrated that sugar and non-caloric.
- Chicory root is being evaluated for its yield and quality and used as a fat substitute in non-fat dairy products.
- Winter plantings of garbanzo beans are also a new crop for this area and are demonstrating to have potential for success.
Rice has long been grown successfully on the east side of the county in the Escalon area. This aquatic crop is now being explored in the delta region on the west side where peat soil and high water tables offer some good potential.
The large amounts of manure produced on dairy farms are now restricted to any off site release and can pose serious problems to the crops and ground water aquifer if not used in measured amounts. Cooperative Extension has an on going program to identify tolerant forage crops, varieties and management practices that will help mitigate the problem.
Newsletters, pamphlets, publications are just some sources of information available. For more details on how to receive the information contact the Cooperative Extension office (209) 953-6100.