Agroecological Research

The 2011 Field Day at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Facility took place on Thursday, June 9th, with the theme Biodiversity in Agriculture.

The field day gathered 122 people for presentations on biodiversity and sustainable agriculture. ASI Director Tom Tomich and Russell Ranch Director Kate Scow began the day with remarks on Russell Ranch and biodiversity in the region. A field tour included a hay bale ride and field presentations on ecosystem services from biodiversity, biodiversity and food safety, cover crops, irrigation management and soil biodiversity and amendments. 

After lunch, the grower discussion panel, titled “Using and Conserving Biodiversity on the Farm or Ranch: Where and Why,” featured John Anderson (Hedgerow Farms), Craig McNamara (Sierra Orchards), Bruce Rominger (Rominger Brothers Farms), Valerie Calegari (Audubon California) and was moderated by Louise Jackson. 

Below is a list of the field tour presentations, along with additional information.  

Ecosystem services from biodiversity 

Miles DaPrato (Audubon California)
Farm edge habitat in the Landowner Stewardship Program
To find out more about this topic, download this handout (opens as PDF). 

Louise Jackson (Professor, Land Air Water Resources)
Biodiversity and soil health along waterways
You can read the handout from Dr. Jackson’s presentation here (opens as PDF). 

Neal Williams (Asst. Professor, Entomology)
Strategies to promote native pollinators and sustainable pollination in agriculture
You can read more about Dr. Williams’ research program here.

Rachel Long (Farm Advisor, Pest Management)
Ecosystem services provided by hedgerows of flowering plants in agricultural crop production
Find out more about Rachel Long's research here.

Biodiversity and Food Safety

Eduardo Gutierrez (CE Specialist, Plant Sciences; Graduate Student, Plant Sciences)
The impact of current food safety regulations on biodiversity
Find out more about this subject by reading this handout (opens as PDF). 

Cover crops

Steve Temple (CE Specialist, Plant Sciences)
Grain legumes for more sustainable and diverse cropping systems

Karen Klonsky (CE Specialist, Agricultural and Resource Economics)
The art and economics of using cover crops
You can read the handout from Dr. Klonsky’s presentation here (opens as PDF). 

Martin Burger (Research manager, Russell Ranch)
Cover crop effects on soil hydraulic properties 

Irrigation Management 

Guihua Chen (Post-doctorate, Land Air Water Resources)
Plant responses to furrow and sub-surface drip irrigation

Tim Hartz (CE Specialist, Plant Sciences)
Minimizing nutrient loss to the environment
Find out more information from Dr. Hartz’s presentation here (opens as PDF). 

Soil biodiversity and amendments 

Priyashiela Singh (Graduate Student, Land, Air and Water Resources)
Soil microbial diversity
You can view the slides from Priyashiela’s presentation here (opens as PDF). 

Howard Ferris (Professor, Nematology)
Stewardship of the soil ecosystem
You can find out more about this presentation by reading this handout (opens as PDF). 

Emma Suddick (Post-doctoral fellow, Plant Sciences)
Enhancing soil quality and carbon sequestration through biochar amendments
For more on this topic, read this handout or Dr. Suddick's presentation (both open as PDF).