What is in this article?:
- Among the unknowns for the months ahead in California is whether this will, in fact, be a dry year.
- Statewide, reservoirs are near 100 percent of average, but not at 100 percent of capacity.
- Demands in the dairy industry for lower cost feeds have meant double and triple cropping on what had been cotton land.
Satellite, irrigation, EQIP
• Forrest Melton, senior research scientist with the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., talked of mapping crop water requirements and fallowed area with satellite observations and CIMIS data.
Melton said his efforts, combined with those of partners that include the University of California and CIMIS, are aimed at making it easier for growers to get data.
His research efforts include seeing how on-the-ground observations during field trials match those from satellites in space.
• Dean Best, sales manager for the south San Joaquin Valley for Netafim, discussed irrigation system maintenance.
He talked of different filter types, including sand media filters. Among his advice in that regard was that it’s wise to take a coffee can of sand when it first goes into the filter, “set that in the shop” and compare it to what is in the filter over time as the sand wears down and loses its efficacy.
Best advised against using gypsum in filters because it can solidify.
He recommends placing gauges every year and says it is best to keep control boxes closed and latched so that debris – and critters – do not get inside.
• Fresno District Conservationist Dave Durham, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, talked of funding available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and other federal programs.
He referred participants to http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ for information on applying for assistance.
Durham emphasized that applicants should apply early, make sure their records are up to date before contacting the Farm Service Agency, and work on necessary permits and design.
• Dane Matthews, senior engineering geologist with the California Department of Water Resources, discussed statewide groundwater elevation monitoring. The project looks at 515 alluvial basins and sub basins. The first report on findings came out Jan. 1, 2012, and the next will be in January 2015.
Matthews said groundwater provides 30 percent to 40 percent of the state’s water supply.
Data on the monitoring effort is available through www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/casgem.