REC AO Blog
We have four trail cameras set up on Turkey Vulture nest sites in an attempt to gather data on the activity of the adult birds. So far all four sites have been visited by adult vultures. Unknown to many folks is the importance to old decadent hollow oak trees to provide nest cavities for these birds. The photo shows one of the trees and the camera set on a post.
Dr. Tracy Kahn (left) from the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at UC Riverside leads tours several times per year through the Citrus Variety Evaluation Orchard at Lindcove Research and Extension Center (Exeter, CA). Containing nearly 200...
Tracy Kahn and Cindy Fake (UCCE Placer) examine a chimera on a navel orange
Here at the Center we "lamb" almost 100% of our ewe flock inside the main barn. Over 600 ewes are lambed each spring and HREC now has the largest Mendocino County sheep flock. Here you see the last of the 2011 lambing season results ... a "bummer" lamb (ie. a lamb without a mother for some reason... we get just a few each year) being fed and kept warm.
UC researchers are experimenting with a variety of methods that will help farmers reduce the cost of fruit thinning. Peach, nectarine, plum and apple trees typically set a tremendous amount of fruit. The fruit must be thinned considerably to ensure adequate fruit size.
Since employing farmworkers for hand thinning is a major expense for farmers, researchers have been looking for a mechanical alternative.
One such machine being tested this spring is a “drum shaker,” which was recently shipped to the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center from the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Appalachian Fruit Research Station in West Virginia.
“We took the drum shaker out to several orchards,” said UC staff research associate Becky Phene, who works in collaboration with UC pomology specialist Scott Johnson. “In four locations, we tagged and labeled shoots, then ran the drum shaker through those rows.”
The researchers counted the fruit on the shoots before and after the drum shaker treatment.
“Our findings show a modest removal of fruit at 350 to 400 rpm,” Phene said.
The experiments have shown that a number of factors come into play when using the mechanical thinning device, such as tree structure, age and fruit size.
“The larger, sturdier scaffolds are harder to shake and suffer more shoot damage or shoot removal,” she said. “The younger, more flexible scaffolds appear more capable of reverberating the energy out to more shoots and shake off more fruit. Also, larger fruit tend to have a better removal rate.”
Mission Bells (Fritillaria lanceolata) are one of the first springtime flowers to welcome the warm sunny days at HREC. This particular wildflower, which is in the Lily family (Liliaceae) is sparsely scattered thoughout the oak woodland and chaparral habitats, usually in shady cool places. This photo portrays one of the better "stands" found on HREC.