Russell Ranch Road Map
Russell Ranch hosts both the Century Experiment on the main plots, as well as shorter-term experiments focused on investigating the sustainability and environmental impacts of agriculture. Microplots within each plot allow research on questions such as comparisons of drip and furrow irrigation, fertilization rates, and incorporation of composts and other agricultural waste products.
Outside of the main plots, a long-term biochar experiment was initiated in 2012 and studies the impact of walnut-shell biochar and compost on soils, tomato and corn. A reduced irrigation study in collaboration with NASA-JPL has studied the correlation of aerial hyperspectral data with properties of the corn crop, such as chlorophyll, nitrogen and water content. A compost, cover crop and soil amendment study was initiated in 2013 on a neighboring commercial farm.
The Putah Creek Riparian Reserve is a stream and grassland ecosystem, managed for teaching, research, and wildlife and habitat protection. Mitigation areas near Russell Ranch are set aside for valley elderberry longhorn beetle (VELB) and Swainson's Hawk. In 2011, three 2000-foot wildflower strips were planted to study the effect of attracting pollinators to agricultural borders. Currently, the wildflower strips are managed in collaboration with the Xerces Society.
The runoff plots were the site of a SAFS research project investigating runoff volume and pollutant loads from different cropping systems from 2008-2010. The organic plots are a great opportunity for student involvement, as well as growing food for the Dining Service, and the small plots allow researchers to investigate short-term research questions.