Nestor Kippes is a Post Doc in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. He conducts research at Intermountain REC.
What led you to become a researcher?
Growing up I was one of those kids that enjoyed building and “re-purposing” toys, much more interested in finding out what was inside the toys than actually playing with them. Looking back, I think that the summertime I spent at my grandparents' farm as a kid was critical to get in contact with nature, farming, and learning about the intricate operations to deliver great products to consumers. When I had the chance to go to college I came in close contact with Science in general, and couldn’t resist exploring biological systems, these are the most intricate machines you can be surrounded with. Scientists spend an enormous amount of time to learn how different mechanisms in nature work and how can we re-purpose those to create products or services, very often these discoveries can substantially change our lives.
What brought your work to Intermountain REC?
Since the begging of my career at UC Davis I have seen how important the IREC is for several kinds of research at Davis. IREC is key to understanding the performance of crops in a natural environment that replicates farming conditions in Northern California. In that sense, many of the plants that are developed following different research ideas will have to pass a test of growing under field conditions to prove their value versus current standards of production, that is when the IREC comes into play. In my particular case, the projects I worked on during many years of my career needed extensive field testing during multiple seasons and we were very lucky to count on the facilities and the talents of the staff at the IREC. The availability of high caliper testing operations at the IREC enables researchers to move plant varieties forward, improve pest management strategies and reduce farming inputs (water, fertilizer, etc).
What do you hope to learn from your research at Intermountain REC?
The evaluations conducted at the IREC are helping us in many different ways. First, the evaluations made here are critical data points to understand the field performance of plant varieties that we and many other researchers from UC Davis send here every year. Second, by taking advice from the experts that are part of the IREC staff we integrate data collected during the season to inform our selection decisions, which is key to producing improved plant varieties. Additionally, this testing location has a particular interest since it represents the environmental conditions of Northern California and Southern Oregon, we can easily identify plant varieties that perform well here and translate those results to the surrounding growing area.
What is your favorite part about conducting your research at Intermountain REC?
I certainly enjoy working with the IREC staff, they are talented people that know the ropes of field operations and can give you very useful advice. I spend time planning trials every year with the team and certainly all the dedication they put into the growing season from beginning to end really pays off. The most exciting time by far is harvesting time, we are always excited about getting a sneak peek of the results and start thinking about the next season already.