Desert Research and Extension Center
Desert Research and Extension Center
Desert Research and Extension Center
University of California
Desert Research and Extension Center

Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Pickling Cucumber

A Pickling Cucumber
Principle Investigator: Sam Wang

UC Desert Research and Extension Center, Holtville, CA

Pickling cucumber variety trial
Eight pickling cucumber varieties
Drip and sprinkler irrigation
Need to produce over 10 ton/acre to be economically feasible.

Broccoli Variety Trials

Principle Investigator: Sam Wang

Fourteen broccoli varieties.
Drip irrigation.

Sweet Corn Variety by N Study

Principle Investigator: Dr. Sam Wang

Establish sweet corn N uptake and N fertilizer application guidelines in the low deserts.
Four yellow sweet corn varieties: GSS1477, SC5106, XTH1778, XTH1273
N fertilizer rates: 0, 80, 160, 240, 320 lb/acre

Bed System and Plant Population Effects on Romaine Lettuce Yield and Uniformity

Principle Investigator: Guangyao (Sam) Wang

Romaine Lettuce is Being Researched to Determine Optimum Bed Spacing
Romaine lettuce growers in low deserts of California have been using different bed systems and plant population.  However, there are no recently published works to compare crop yield and size uniformity under different bed systems and plant populations. This study will compare lettuce heart production on bed system treatments (40 inch bed with 2 seed lines, 40 inch bed with 3 seed lines, 80 inch bed with 5 seed lines, and 80 inch bed with 6 seed lines) and in-row spacing of 8, 10, and 12 inches. Romaine heart lettuce in 6 feet of plot length will be harvested and the weight of each romaine heart will be recorded for heart yield and produce uniformity. The results will be published and the project will be presented in one field day each year. The results will also be presented to producers in Extension meetings and distributed to producers electronically.

Lettuces, including iceberg, romaine, and romaine heart, are the largest vegetable crop in Imperial Valley with over 30,000 acres per year. Romaine lettuce for heart is one of the major lettuce crops and has been cultivated using a wide range of bed systems and plant populations. Over years, romaine heart producers have used 40 inch beds with 2 or 3 seed lines and 80 inch beds with 5 or 6 seed lines to increase plant population with in-row spacing ranging from 8 to 12 inches. Plant population for the crop ranged from 26,136 to 58,806 plants/acre. This could affect crop yield significantly. At the same time, uniformity of lettuce heart, thus produce quality and yield, is also affected by plant population and bed systems. This project will use different bed systems and in-row spacing to study the effects of plant population and bed systems on crop yield and uniformity of romaine heart lettuce. The best bed system and plant population will be identified to help romaine heart producers stay competitive.

Reducing the Risk for Transfer of Zoonotic Foodborne Pathogens from Domestic and Wild Animal to Vegetable Crops in the Southwest Desert

Principle Investigator: Michele Jay-Russell, Programs Director, Western Center for Food Safety, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, University of California, Davis, CA 95618, 530-757-5756, mjay@ucdavis.edu

Alexis Fisher Hake, Assistant Veterinarian, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, 530-219-6147, lfisher@ucdavis.edu or afisher@wifss.ucdavis.edu

A study that will help the leafy greens produce industry identify domestic and wildlife animal reservoirs of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Salmonella in the desert southwest growing region (DSGR) of the U.S., a region second only to the central California coast in production of lettuce. Additionally, we will identify management and risk mitigation practices that reduce contamination of leafy greens by these species. Scientific collections and epidemiologic methods will be used to complete three main objectives:

1) determine if terrestrial and avian wildlife species reported by the local growing community to most frequently intrude upon produce fields in the DSGR are reservoirs of STEC and Salmonella;
2) determine the extent to which wildlife and livestock share genetically related strains of STEC and Salmonella, and measure the movement of strains from livestock operations to produce fields by wildlife populations;
3) extend knowledge of produce contamination prevention gained from the first two objectives to growers.

Data from this collaborative study between industry, game management, and academic organizations will fill gaps in knowledge pertaining to animal intrusions and establishing buffer zones between adjacent livestock and produce operations in the desert environment.

F044 Lettuce Insects

Principle Investigator: Eric Natwick, Farm advisor, UCCE Imperial, 1050 e Holton Rd, Holtville, CA 92250, 760-352-9474 etnatwick@ucdavis.edu

Lettuce is a major vegetable crop in Imperial County, in CA and in the Desert SW. Lettuce has several major insect problems from stand establishment through to harvest.  

Worm pests such as beet armyworm and cabbage looper attack all stages of both iceberg lettuce and various types of leaf lettuce including romaine lettuce. New safe, environmentally friendly yet efficacious insecticides are needed both for worm pest management and for insecticide resistance management (IRM). The sweetpotato whitefly biotype B (SPWF) is another major pest of both iceberg lettuce and leaf lettuce crops. The SPWF can cause crop injury beginning at seedling emergence. SPWF is also a vector of plant infecting viruses that cause disease in lettuce. New safe, efficacious insecticides are needed to control SPWF and the diseases it transmits. New insecticides are also needed for IRM. The western flower thrips (WFT) is a pest of lettuce by causing cosmetic damage undesirable to consumers causing the thrips damaged crop to be of lower or no value. New safe and environmentally friendly insecticides are needed for thrips management in both iceberg lettuce and leaf lettuce crops. Insecticides of new and different modes of activity are needed for thrips control and for IRM.

F034 Cole Crop Insects

Principle Investigator: Eric Natwick, Farm advisor, UCCE Imperial, 1050 e Holton Rd, Holtville, CA 92250, 760-352-9474 etnatwick@ucdavis.edu

Or visit Eric Natwicks site

Martin Lopez, SRA, UCCE Imperial, 1050 e Holton Rd, Holtville, CA 92250, 760-352-9474 marlopez@ucdavis.edu

The cole crops (Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, etc) are major vegetable crops in Imperial County, CA and in the Desert SW. Cole crops have several major insect problems from stand establishment through to harvest.  

Worm pest such as beet armyworm, cabbage looper, and diamondbacked moth larvae attack all stages of cole crops. New safe, environmentally friendly yet efficacious insecticides are needed both for worm pest management and for insecticide resistance management (IRM). The sweetpotato whitefly biotype B (SPWF) is another major pest of all cole crops. The SPWF can cause crop injury beginning at seeding emergence.  New safe, efficacious insecticides are needed to control SPWF. New insecticides are also needed for IRM. The bagrada bug is a new stink bug that has caused major damage to cole crops in Imperial County and throughout the desert SW USA. Research is needed to find safe efficacious insecticides that can be used to economically control bagrada bug. Several species of aphids are pests of cole crops. New safe and environmentally friendly insecticides are needed for aphid management in all types of cole crops. Insecticides of new and different modes of activity are needed for aphid control and for IRM.

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