Central Sierra
University of California
Central Sierra

Foothill Fodder

Mechanical Harvest Field Day

Dr. Kaan Kurtural describes transitioning a vineyard from head to cordon trained.

Hi Fodder Followers!  About 40 foothill growers and wine industry folks turned out yesterday for my UCCE Sponsored "Transition to Mechanical Harvest Field Day" held at Dick Cooper's ranch in Plymouth, Amador County. With guest speaker Dr. Kaan Kurtural, UC Davis Viticulture and Enology Specialist and hosted by Dick with help from Kevin Steward of Trinchero, the morning held a good discussion of machine harvest, concerns of quality, and the lack of labor. Attendees...

Using the disease triangle and PMI to decide how to start your seasonal mildew program

Disease triangle for powdery mildew

Hi Foothill Fodder Family! This week temperatures warmed up enough to begin the powdery mildew index in all of our 7 foothill PMI (powdery mildew index) stations-the information is publicly available on our UCIPM website here, with links on my webpages here.  What does the index mean and how can we best use this information to begin our powdery mildew treatments?  I like to start by thinking of the disease "triangle": the 3 things needed for disease to happen.  The key...

Kurtural Team Attacks "On the Go" Vineyard Management

Dr. Kurtural addresses the NVEELC group at Oakville Station.

Greetings Fodder Folks, In early April I participated in the "National Viticulture and Enology Extension Leadership Conference" (NVEELC) which was held at the UC Oakville Station in the lovely Napa Valley.  The conference is an opportunity for viticulture extension folks from around the country to share industry news and ideas for working together, and includes a day of professional development. 44 extension-related viticulture and enology professionals participated in...

Rainfall totals top 50 inches in some foothill areas!

Rising river

Hi Fodder Followers! Is everyone safely afloat out there?  I've just finished totaling the current "hydro year" precipitation totals for our 7 (yes, we now have 7!) powdery mildew stations and 3 CIMIS stations.  (Note: The Amador Eagle station is awaiting an upgrade, so that station's data is not included.) The "hydrological year", also called a "water year", is a term hydrologists and water resource managers use to describe the period from Oct. 1 of a given year to...

Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus: Not just in Pinot Gris!

A full silo means we won't go hungry over the winter.

Greetings Fodder Folks! I'm often asked if winter is a slow time for me.  Even though the vines and trees are taking a much needed rest, fall and winter is the time for us UCCE Advisors to assess the previous season, prepare reports and presentations, and plan for next year's projects. Sort of like making sure the silo is full and the feed hasn't gone bad so you can produce a higher yield next season (my Wisconsin roots, don't you know...). With a growing amount of knowledge needed...

Nebbiolo: the Wine of Kings and the King of Wine!

Prof. Vittorino Novello in a foothill vineyard.

Hello Fodder Folks! The visit I coordinated by Professor Vittorino Novello, University of Turin, Italy, to our foothill region to tour Italian winegrape varieties and interact with local grape growers and industry was a huge success!  This was due in no small part to the hosting vineyard managers and winemakers who made the El Dorado and Amador vineyard tours a hit! And wow, what an incredibly knowledgeable and gracious scholar.  Vittorino was able to address the growing...

Mildew, Spray Tech, and an Upcoming Visit from Vittorino

No feed in the trough lately, but not to worry! I'm making hay!

Hello Fodder Followers! Are you still out there? I know the trough has been empty for awhile now, but I, like many of you, have been making hay while the sun shines! Rest assured, I've got your backs and have alot in store for you so listen up! First off, powdery mildew has been a problem for many of you this year-and I've been answering a few farm calls related to this. All of the rains we had made for great canopy growth, making it more difficult for spray to reach the target. Leafing...

To Spray or Not to Spray: Using the Powdery Mildew Index

Amador Eagle was the first mildew station in the foothills, now there are six!

Hi Fodder Family! What a busy spring, heh? For those at the trough who are of the grape grower kind, this spring has brought questions concerning what the heck is going on with powdery mildew.  To assist vineyard managers, I took a look at each of the 5 foothill mildew station's data and discuss it in a paper you will find linked here. Recent rains, followed by fluctuating cool and warm temperatures, have got some managers spraying while others are waiting anxiously.  Powdery...

Maintain Your Irrigation System to Improve Performance

A flowmeter can tell you how much water you use, and if there's a problem

Greetings Fodder Followers! It won't be long before our foothill soil profile dries up and we start to irrigate. Are you ready for the season? Because when it comes to foothill water-and the irrigation systems that transport it-a little flushing can go a long way.  Iron, bacteria, sediment, and precipitates can cause irrigation systems to become clogged-leading to major headaches when it's time to turn on your system.   Routine irrigation system maintenance, including flushing, can...

Managing Your Cover Crop Now to Prevent Frost Injury, Soil Water Loss

This beautiful cover crop of legumes can provide nitrogen if it's tilled in while it's blooming.

Hi Fodder Followers! Spring has sprung! And as many of you know, cover crops provide a wealth of benefits for foothill farms- having some type of "cover" is essential to prevent soil erosion on our foothill slopes as we discussed in the last post. The most important thing to consider NOW about your cover crop is managing it in a timely manner-either by disking it in or mowing it down (made difficult with wet soils, I know)-as soon as possible.   Why the rush? You might ask. When...

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