Tags >> vineyards
Feb 26
2010

Apple Moths in New Zealand

Posted by Bruce Robinson in vineyards , trees , research , international , farms , environment , coast , chemicals , California , business , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

While California’s policy is to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth, a local researcher reports that New Zealand has adopted other tactics to control the bugs, which have been present in that country for more than a century.

One problem with California’s attempt to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth is that the state got a late start in that effort. U.C. Cooperative Extension biologist Lucia Varela says the number and dispersal of the moths suggests they were here for some time before they were discovered.

Right now, California’s official policy toward the apple moths is “zero tolerance,” so that any areas where they are found are place under quarantine. But Varlea and many other experts doubt that the bugs can successfully be eradicated. Instead, she says, a more realistic policy would be to control the apple moth populations, so they cause minimal damage to apples and other crops.

Lucia Varela also reported recently  on the arrival of the European Grapevine Moth in the North Bay. You can hear the North Bay Report coverage of that development here.

Feb 10
2010

European Grapevine Moth

Posted by Bruce Robinson in vineyards , speaker , Sonoma County , news , Napa , invasive species , farms , environment , California , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

A new foreign insect pest has been found in a north coast vineyard, and extensive trapping is underway to see how widespread the European Grapevine Moth may already be.

The European Vineyard Moth and the Light Brown Apple Moth have a very similar appearance, which isn’t really surprising. As Lucia Varela, an Integrated Pest Management specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension, explains, both are members of the family of Tortricid moths, which is well known to California agriculture.

Non-native plants and animals that proliferate outside their usual range are often characterized as “invasive” species. Varela prefers the more neutral term, “exotics” to describe the moth pests, but concedes they may well come to be considered invasive, depending on how much of a threat to the area’s vines they become.

This picture shows two tell-tale signs of the European Vineyard Moth, the white “webbing” between the individual grapes, and the shriveled and wrinkled skin, which indicates that the worm has already eaten its way into the fruit.

 

For more information about the European Vineyard Moth, go to the UC Davis Integrated Pest Management website.

 

 

 

 

Feb 05
2010

Farmworker Health Risks

Posted by Bruce Robinson in vineyards , research , public safety , jobs , Health , farms , employment , chemicals , California , business , air quality , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

California’s 1 million farmworkers are at increased risk for respiratory diseases and other health problems, according to a new report, in large part due to poor air quality where they are working.

 

Pesticides and other chemicals are part—but only part—of the air quality issues that affect farm workers, especially in California’s Central Valley. So even the most basic measures to shield workers from the worst of the dust and smog can make a significant contribution to protecting their respiratory health, says Marc Schenker (right),  Director of the Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at the University of California at Davis.

The study cited in this North Bay Report was published in the current issue of the quarterly journal, California Agriculture. You can access a summary or the full text of that article here.

 

 

Jan 05
2010

Vineyard Frost Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wine , weather , water , vineyards , Sonoma County , salmon , resources , policy , Napa , government , fish , farms , environment , conservation , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

Endangered salmon and vineyards vulnerable to frost are both depending on flows in local waterways to protect them, but there isn’t enough water available to serve both competing needs.

 The vines shown at left have been sprayed with water that then freezes around the budding greenery. This protects the vine by holding the enclosed plant material at exactly 32 degrees, when the surrounding air is colder and could damage the new growth.

Frost is usually not a concern to vineyardists in the fall, as the grapes are usually harvested before the weather turns cold. But in the springtime, explains Nick Frey, President of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, a cold spell can devastate the vines, leaving them looking like this.

Using stream water for vineyard frost protection is  problematic for local fisheries in several areas in California, says Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity, but the situation is especially acute in the Russian River’s watershed.

A series of presentations are planned over the next two weeks to alert vineyard owners and growers to the possibility of new rules on water use for frost protection, and begin collecting data on water use for that purpose.  They will be held:

  • Wednesday,  Jan. 6, 4 p.m., at the Kendall Jackson Wine Center, 5007 Fulton Rd. in Fulton
  • Thursday, Jan. 7, 4 p.m., Dutton Pavilion at Santa Rosa Junior College Shone Farm, 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville
  • Friday,  Jan. 8, 10 a.m., Knights Valley Fire Department, 16850 Spencer Lane, Calistoga
  • Friday  Jan. 8, 4 p.m., Healdsburg Community Center at Foss Creek Elementary School, 1557 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
  • Thursday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m., Dutton Pavilion (see Jan. 7, above)

A summary of the history of this issue, as monitored by the California State Water Resources Control Board, can be found here.