What: This year, the Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) has added a pre-conference farm tour to the agenda of the 2018 FREP/WPHA Annual Conference. The tour will visit Huntington Farms and Tanimura & Antle to discuss the companies’ efforts in implementing nutrient and irrigation best management practices.
Why: Managing irrigation and nutrients in the Central Coast is unique due to the high-intensity cropping systems, high value crops, and fast-paced crop rotations. Fields often undergo several plantings over the course of a single year with crops that require specific management strategies. With this farm tour, FREP is encouraging conversation about grower practices that meet market demands and keep growers competitive; and at the same time, make progress toward regulatory compliance. Growers at both stops will provide details about how they manage these priorities.
When: October 22, 2018 (1:00-5:00pm)
How to attend: Registration for the conference and the farm tour are open and available on the FREP website. Registration cost for the tour is $25. Tour participants will meet at the Embassy Suites in Seaside at 12:30 for check-in. The tour will depart on busses promptly at 1:00 pm.
The first stop will be Huntington Farms, were we will be speaking with farm manager Mark Mason. Huntington Farms is a third-generation family farm in the Salinas Valley that grows head and leaf lettuce, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, and strawberries.
For the last several years, Mark has been working with Michael Cahn, a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, to utilize CropManage, a grower decision-making tool. CropManage is designed to help growers improve irrigation and nitrogen management practices on a field level basis. Mark initially began using CropManage to save on production input costs, but he has since developed a deeper understanding of water and nitrogen management as he will discuss on the tour.
Tanimura & Antle
The second stop will be with Anthony Duttle, the director of agronomic services, at Tanimura & Antle (T&A). Like many coastal vegetable operations, T&A follows the sun from the Salinas Valley in California to the Imperial Valley and Yuma, Arizona. T&A grows a wide variety of crops, both conventionally and organically, including head and leaf lettuce, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, cabbage, melons, strawberries, and onions. Tanimura & Antle has been an early adopter of many cutting-edge technologies that reduce environmental impacts and improve input efficiency.
Anthony Duttle is a licensed pest control advisor and a certified crop advisor with a nutrient management certification. He has extensive experience in crop protection, soil fertility, and soil heath. Among other things, Anthony will discuss the importance and challenges of nutrient management in intensive vegetable cropping systems found in the Central Coast.