The 30th Annual Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) and Western Plant Health (WPH) Nutrient Management Conference was held in Visalia, CA, October 26-27, 2022. The conference had over 160 attendees including crop consultants, growers, industry representatives, researchers, and government personnel.
This blog provides a quick recap of the event. For more detailed information, including summaries from presented FREP projects, check out the 2022 Conference Proceedings on the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) FREP webpage: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/is/ffldrs/frep/FREP_Conference_Proceedings.html
The conference started off with a tour at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier, the afternoon of October 25, 2022. This tour was organized and led by the Center Director, Dr. Khaled Bali, and his team. During the tour, attendees had the opportunity to learn about ongoing research and activities at the Kearney Ag center, including the Nitrogen and Irrigation Initiative, different irrigation and nutrient management projects in annual and perennial crops, as well as in postharvest facilities.
Farm tour stops included: Nitrogen and Irrigation Initiative introduction (Rachel Shellabarger, upper left), cover crops in pistachios (Daniele Zaccaria, upper right), nitrogen and irrigation management in Asian vegetables (Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, lower left), and Whole Orchard Recycling (Brent Holtz, lower right).
Karen Ross, CDFA Secretary, and Renee Pinel, President/CEO of WPH, welcomed attendees to the 30th Annual Nutrient Management Conference. Their warm welcome was followed by a morning of presentations and discussions facilitated by Dr. Rob Mikkelsen, Director of Agronomic Services, Yara International.
The morning presentations included:
Crop Nitrogen Removal Coefficients
- Daniel Geisseler – Specialist in Nutrient Management, University of California Cooperative Extension
Achieving Efficient Nitrogen Fertilizer Management in California Wheat
- Mark Lundy – Assistant Specialist, University of California Cooperative Extension
Assessing Drip Irrigation and Nitrogen Management of Fresh Onions Produced in California Low Desert
- Jairo Diaz – Desert Research and Extension Center Director, University of California Cooperative Extension
Evaluation of Nitrogen Uptake and Applied Irrigation Water in Asian Vegetables
- Aparna Gazula – Small Farm Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension
The afternoon of day one featured a panel titled “Impact of high input costs on nitrogen management”.
- Moderator: Tom Bottoms – Operations Manager, Timothy and Viguie Farming
- Panelists: Gary Silveria, Grow West
Mark Mason, Huntington Farms
Justin Diener, Red Rock Ranch
During the panel discussion, the moderator and panelists discussed implications of soaring input prices on farming operations. They covered topics such as decision-making processes, importance of efficient irrigation and nitrogen management practices, and role of crop consultants, growers, and researchers.
The session was followed by questions and answers from the audience and panelists.
Day one was wrapped up with two breakout sessions and a poster session showcasing ongoing research and outreach projects.
Breakout Session 1:
Groundwater Protection Targets
- Kenneth Miller – Soil Scientist, Formation Environmental
Breakout Session 2:
Irrigation Management in Nursery Production
- Loren Oki – Cooperative Extension Specialist, University of California Cooperative Extension
In day two, Andy Low, Helena Agri-Enterprises, welcomed attendees and facilitated presentations, which included:
Development of Nutrient Budget and Nutrient Demand Model for Nitrogen Management in Cherry
- Patrick Brown – Professor of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis
Research Updates on Nitrogen Management in Walnuts
- Katherine Jarvis-Shean – Orchard Systems Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension
Using Biosolids-based Fertilizers as a Nitrogen Source in California Grains
- Konrad Mathesius – Farm Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension
Developing a Nitrogen Mineralization Model for Organically Managed Vegetable Farms on the Central Coast
- Joji Muramoto – Organic Production Specialist, University of California Cooperative Extension
Promoting the Adoption of CropManage to Optimize Nitrogen and Irrigation Use Through Technical Assistance with Data Loggers and Cellular Modems for Spanish Speaking Growers in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties
- Sacha Lozano – Program Manager, Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District
Dan Hermstad – Program Technical specialist, Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District
Next Generation Nitrogen Management Training for Certified Crop Advisors
- Sat Darshan Khalsa – Assistant Professional Researcher, University of California, Davis
To learn more about ongoing research projects presented at this year’s FREP/WPH Nutrient Management Conference please visit the FREP Conference Proceedings Page.