My current research and extension program focuses on soil and water management in vegetable production systems throughout California, impacts of preharvest vegetable management practices on postharvest product quality and extension methodology.
A major component of my research and extension effort involves leading an interdisciplinary team consisting of UC Farm and IPM Advisors, campus-based researchers, and 12 farmers in the San Joaquin Valley's West Side region that is currently conducting on-farm demonstrations and evaluations of biologically integrated farming practices in the annual cropping systems of this region. The objectives of this work are 1) to facilitate information exchange among participating farmers, consultants and researchers on soil building practices and options for reduced reliance on agrichemical inputs, 2) to monitor and evaluate on-farm demonstrations of soil building practices, including cover cropping and organic soil amendment inputs, 3) to determine the extent to which IPM practices are utilized in row crops on the West Side and identify constraints preventing further adoption of biologically intensive pest management practices and 4) to provide community based demonstrations of existing technologies to overcome constraints while making use of participatory research teams to develop and refine additional information.
An important research component of this on-farm demonstration project involves the evaluation of surface organic mulches in no-till vegetable production systems. I am currently conducting a wide-ranging program in this area to evaluate the effectiveness of these practices for: suppressing weeds, improving production efficiencies in terms of nutrient inputs and irrigation water, and for providing optimal soil temperature regimes for crop growth.