Continuing Education Courses
Organic/Sustainable Agriculture Production and Benefits of Humic Substances:
This course focuses on sustainable organic farming practices and cultural and biological pest management without the use of synthetic chemicals. This course will provide a general overview of the most common pests in organic/sustainable agricultural systems and current methods of controlling insect pests, weeds and diseases in a range of organic crops grown in the United States. Organic/sustainable agriculture is expanding rapidly in the US with an average annual increase of 12% during the last 15 years. In the early years, organic production was limited and typically meant small farms and roadside stands. Now, however, the growing demand for organic produce is attracting conventional producers and retailers. Organic product sales now exceed $32 billion in the US.
As of January 2018, there were approximately 2.63 million managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. Over 500,000 make their home permanently in California, while another 1.5 million hives are moved into the state annually to augment the pollination demands of California’s almond crop alone. This means slightly fewer than 79 percent of the managed hives in the U.S. are used to pollinate a single California crop.
In 2019 there are about 1.16 million planted acres of almond orchards in California, with mature trees on bearing acreages capable of producing more than 2.27 billion pounds of almonds annually. Growers usually rent two colonies of honey bees per bearing acre.
“Honey bees are essential to almond production,” said Bob Curtis, pollination consultant and retired director of Agricultural Affairs for the Almond Board of California. “Every almond we eat exists because a honey bee pollinated an almond blossom so it’s in farmers’ best interest to keep them safe. Our livelihood depends on it.”
As important as managed honey bees are to almonds and the more than 100 other crops they pollinate, pesticides and insecticides used to protect crops against pests are also important. Farmers and crop protection specialists recognize that and work diligently to ensure that pollinators and pesticides can co-exist in balance.
This course will examine the stressors on the honey bee population such as Colony Collapse Disorder, nutrition, pesticides, parasites and pathogens as well as rules and legislation to protect honey bees.
This course is sponsored by Western Farm Press. There are an estimated 150,000 named species in the insect group called Lepidoptera. Outnumbered only by the beetles, Lepidoptera represent the second-most diverse order of insect pests, and virtually every cultivated plant is attacked by at least one type. They are ready to defoliate and weaken plants or mine plant tissues, leaving holes and frass behind and rendering crops unmarketable. Their scientific name comes from the Greek Lepidos, for “scale,” and Pteron, for “wing”--literally “scale wing,”--because the wings of adult butterflies and moths are covered with microscopic scales. This course will specifically highlight six lepidopterous pests: the beet armyworm, cabbage looper, diamondback moth, tomato fruitworm, tomato pinworm and western yellowstriped armyworm. The course will also cover managing Lepidopterous pests in a wide array of crops and includes an additional section on Pesticide Safety.
This online course covers the management of spray drift to minimize problems. Spray Drift Management (SDM) has been a critical element for Western agriculture for decades. Keeping crop protection chemicals on the crop for which they are intended has been a cornerstone of Western farming not only to protect neighboring crops, but to avoid wasting money by allowing products to drift off the intended target. Spray drift management has taken on greater significance as cities encroach upon rural areas. Every year, increasingly more houses and other types of developments are springing up in prime growing areas, oftentimes alongside fields, orchards or vineyards. This leads to increased concerns about the use of agricultural chemicals and the ways they are applied. This course will review many aspects of spray drift – from practical, hands-on ways to minimize drift, to the regulatory issues surrounding it.
This course will provide an overview of several areas that are key to pesticide safety and application. We will cover subjects such as types of licenses, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), labeling and label interpretations, application equipment and techniques, first aid and decontamination procedures, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and techniques. It is critical that the fundamentals are taught and reviewed regularly by all applicators and advisers.
GM alfalfa has been back on the market for about six years, after a detour through the courts that began not long after it was first introduced in 2005 as the fifth glyphosate-resistant crop to be commercialized.
The purpose of this training is to give you an overview of important management practices that can help avoid or delay the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. We will begin with a brief review of common weed types and herbicides, followed by factors that can influence the evolution of resistance in weeds, and methods for potentially delaying its occurrence in agronomic row crops and permanent crops. While weed resistance management guidelines may be introduced and discussed under a specific annual or perennial crop heading, many of the WRM techniques have cross-crop applicability. When using pesticides for resistance management, always check the label for specific registered uses and the Herbicide Group Number for Mode of Action (MOA), as well as contact your local University Extension Advisor, PCA, and/or manufacture representative.