UC scientists share new insights on cover cropping in rice – Food Blog


For the very first time in almost 30 years, University of California researchers are carrying out research study on cover crops in rice, and they are sharing their broadened findings with growers through field days and instructional products. Previous research study had actually concentrated on simply 2 types, rendering the group not able to make suggestions to growers.

” When I went on farm calls, and at different conferences, rice growers were requesting for upgraded details,” stated UC Cooperative Extension rice consultant Whitney Brim-DeForest. She and her coworkers acknowledged it was time to examine cover crops once again to support the market.

The scientists are teaming up with growers in Colusa and San Joaquin counties and at the California Rice Experiment Station in Biggs to examine winter season cover crop blends for their capability to increase soil carbon and enhance nitrogen biking, and to examine 10 single types and 2 blends for viability in rice growing systems. The job is moneyed by a California Department of Food and Agriculture Healthy Soils Demonstration grant and the California Rice Research Board.

” Working with the growers has actually been a wonderful chance to even more comprehend the restraints they deal with when cover cropping and has actually offered us insight into how we may much better execute cover cropping in California rice,” stated Brim-DeForest. “For example, we’ve found out that cover crops are really conscious water conditions– excessive rain results in drowning; insufficient rain and facility is bad.”

The job links devoted grower partners with a UC group that brings varied know-how in agronomy, plant nutrition, soil health and insect management. “Together, we are increasing understanding for the advantage of the rice market,” stated Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE Delta crops resource management consultant and job leader at the San Joaquin area.

Leinfelder-Miles worried another essential element of the partnership. “It can take years before management practices lead to modifications to soil health metrics, which can hinder long-lasting adoption,” she stated. “It is very important to team up with market partners who have a beneficial interest in long-lasting results.”

Sara Rosenberg, UC Davis college student in plant sciences, included that rice growers require more information to make educated choices and policy makers require details to adjust reward programs to the growers’ contexts and the variety of farming systems that exist in California.

” There are more reward programs nowadays to support growers in embracing sustainable practices such as cover cropping,” she stated. “But rice is a distinct system, and it tends to be neglected of the discussion with regard to soil health practices. Due to the flooded conditions and heavy clay soils, the effects and development routines of cover crops might be really various than what we can anticipate in an upland crop like tomato, corn or wheat.”

Scientists collect data on cover crops in Colusa

UC ANR Technicians take germination count and collect seed emergence data of cover crop at the Colusa site in December 2022

Colusa site flooded after high rainfall events in February 2023. Flooding events resulted in a poor establishment of all cover crop treatments.

Colusa site flooded after high rainfall events in February 2023. Flooding events resulted in poor establishment of all cover crop treatments

Additional job partners consist of UCCE rice farming systems consultant Luis Espino, UCCE agronomy farm consultant Sarah Light, UC Davis teacher of Cooperative Extension Bruce Linquist and associate teacher of plant sciences Cameron Pittelkow. When job results and grower assistance are offered, the group will share them through the UC Rice Blog, county newsletters, and the winter season grower conferences. There will likewise be a farmer field day set up at one of the research study websites over the cover crop growing season.


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