2014 Program Highlights

The 2014 Sustainable Ag Expo was once again filled with a well rounded program including practical information for growers of all crops. The program included sessions on soil and plant nutrition, plant diseases, sprayer technologies for vineyards and orchards, root-soil dynamics, irrigating in the drought, and updates in pesticide laws and regulations.
The viticulture sessions included information specific to soil and plant/petiole sampling practices, and interpretation of mineral nutrition reports from soil and plants. Speakers highlighted water use efficiency measures for vineyards, including the topic of water efficient rootstock and variety selection by Dr. Kevin Fort of UC Davis and root growth dynamics in irrigated vineyards covered by Dr. David Smart of UC Davis. A session was also devoted to soil-borne pests and diseases of grapes and row crops, including a talk on nematodes by Dr. Peter Cousins of E.J. Gallo.
Featured speakers from outside of California brought their expertise to the Sustainable Ag Expo in 2014. The physiology of grapevine nutrition was covered in detail by Dr. Markus Keller of Washington State University, author of the book The Science of Grapevines. Dr. Joan Davenport, also from Washington State University, presented her most recent work on monitoring grapevine nutrition using new leaf tissue sampling protocols developed in the Pacific Northwest. A session was also dedicated to advancements in effective vineyard spraying, featuring techniques and technologies presented by Dr. Andrew Landers of Cornell University, author of the book Effective Vineyard Spraying.

10 DPR Continuing Education (CE) units 14 CCA CE units are approved for this event.

Program Sessions

Monday, November 17

8:00am-10:00am General Session = 1.0 DPR CE (other), 2.0 CCA

Understanding Root Zone Dynamics In Perennial Crops

Growth patterns of roots of perennial crops change throughout the growing season as water and nutrient demands change in the canopy and crop. Root growth patterns also change in response to environmental conditions such as drought, pests and diseases. Factors affecting root growth in one season have lasting effects on plant growth and crop potential in subsequent seasons. In this session, speakers from the University of Washington and UC Davis will discuss seasonal patterns of root growth and results of research on the impacts of soil management practices and adverse soil environments on perennial root growth and water uptake.

  • Dr. Kevin Fort, Researcher, Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California - Davis - Water Efficiency of Rootstocks: Soil and Pest Interactions
  • Dr. Markus Keller, Professor/Chateau Ste. Michelle Distinguished Professor in Viticulture, Washington State University - Grapevine Root Growth Dynamics and Effects of Drought
  • Dr. David Smart, Professor and Plant Physiologist, University of California - Davis - Effects of Management Practices on Grapevine Root Growth

10:00am-10:30am Break with Exhibitors

10:30am-12:30pm Breakout Session A = 2.0 DPR CE (other), 2.0 CCA

Diagnosing & Managing Soil-Borne Pests & Diseases

Soil-borne pests, diseases and disorders are among the most difficult to diagnose and treat. In this session, speakers will discuss methods for diagnosing common soil-borne diseases in row crops and vineyards. Strategies to prevent and control fungal and bacterial diseases, as well as nematodes and other disorders will be presented, including crop rotation, rootstock selection, and site preparation.

  • Steven Koike, Plant Pathology Farm Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension - Diagnosis of Soil-Borne Diseases and Control Through Crop Rotation
  • Dr. Peter Cousins, Research Scientist, E&J Gallo - Nematodes and their Role in Diseases
  • Dr. Joan Davenport, Professor and Soil Scientist, Washington State University - Replant Diseases and Disorders of Grapes

10:30am-12:30pm Breakout Session B

Burning, Biochar, & Bio Reactors Add Value to Farm Resources

This breakout session will explore processes to produce valuable co-products of farm and winery resources, focusing on soil amendment and water treatment. Conservation burning is a feasible, low pollution alternative to traditional burning practices that creates biochar rather than ash. The practice of biochar production and application as a soil amendment will be presented along with results from field trials in agronomic crops. This session will be complemented with a presentation on the use of bio reactor technologies for re-purposing farm and winery water supplies, while reducing dissolved solids and odors in the process. Return on investment will be included with case studies.

  • Dr. Wilson Hago, CoolTerra Biochar, Introduction to Biochar: Applications in Agriculture
  • Peter Hirst & Raymond Baltar, Sonoma Biochar Initiative, Conservation Burning Practices as a Value Added Solution to Organic Waste
  • Glenn Wensloff, Elutriate Systems, Bio Reactors as a Cost Effective Solution to Reclaim Water

12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch Break in Exhibit Hall

1:30pm-4:30pm Breakout Session A

Status & Opportunities for Proactive Agricultural Water Management Initiatives

This session will provide information on current water quality results for both surface and groundwater sources, in addition to addressing water related regulatory initiatives throughout the state. Speakers will also provide updates on proactive initiatives in the context of the upcoming renewal of the Ag Order.

  • Kris Beal, Executive Director, Vineyard Team and SIP Certification - Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certification: Incentivizing and Rewarding Integrated Farming Practices
  • Jennifer Biringer, Senior Director, Central Coast, The Nature Conservancy - Blueprint for Collaborative Water Management in the Salinas River
  • Steve Deverel, Principal Hydrologist, HydroFocus Inc. - Distribution of and Processes and Factors  Affecting Groundwater Nitrate Concentrations in Central Coast Agricultural Areas
  • Parry Klassen, Executive Director, Central Coast Groundwater Coalition - Water Quality Driving Shift in Priorities to Drinking Water
  • Sarah Lopez, Central Coast Water Quality Preservation, Inc. - Ag Water Quality Status and Trends
  • Emily Paddock, Water Resources Manager, Driscolls - Two Examples of Creative Partnerships in the Pajaro Valley
  • Abby Taylor-Silva, Vice President, Policies and Communication, Grower Shipper Association of Central California - What’s on the Horizon for Water Supply and Water Quality Priorities on the Central Coast

1:30pm-4:30pm Breakout Session B = 3.0 DPR CE (other), 3.0 CCA

Keys to Effective Vineyard/Orchard Spraying & Drift Management

Dr. Andrew Landers of Cornell University, author of the book Effective Vineyard Spraying will be joining the Vineyard Team to conducting this breakout session on better spray application techniques. This session will highlight modern techniques and technologies that will improve spray deposition, reduce off-target drift, help reduce pesticide use, and show you how to modernize your existing sprayer. This session is a must see for anyone involved in spray applications in vineyards, orchards, or other perennial crops.

  • Fritz Westover, Technical Program Manager, Vineyard Team - Reducing Pesticide Drift through Outreach & Demonstration
  • Dr. Andrew Landers, Pesticide Application Technology Specialist, Cornell University - Effective Vineyard and Orchard Spraying: Techniques and Technologies

4:30pm-5:00pm Legacy Award Presentation

5:00pm-6:30pm Exhibitor's Showcase - Wine & Appetizers


Tuesday, November 18

8:00am-10:00am General Session = 1.0 DPR CE (other), 2.0 CCA

System Factors Affecting Water & Chemical Application Efficiency (English/Spanish)

*This session will concurrently be interpreted in Spanish

Many factors contribute to water use efficiency on the farm. This session will contain information from the design and maintenance standpoint of irrigation systems, to the use of soil moisture monitoring to determine water movement in soil and uptake by plants. Examples of weather and plant stress data will be discussed, and how these factors can be incorporated into irrigation management decisions to prevent excessive water use and optimize crop uniformity. Irrigation system efficiency will also be discussed as it relates to uniform delivery of water and chemicals.

  • Fritz Westover, Technical Program Manager, Vineyard Team - Using Soil, Plant, and Weather Data for Irrigation Management: Results from Two Paso Robles Area Vineyards
  • Dr. Doug Beck, Vineyard Manager and Technical Advisor, Monterey Pacific, Inc. - Managing Soil and Irrigation for Sustainable Productivity Increases and Water Use Efficiency
  • Dr. Ben Burgoa, Program Engineer, Resource Conservation District of Monterey - Efficient Irrigation Design and Maintenance for Uniform Water and Chemical Application

10:00am-10:30am Break with Exhibitors

10:30am-12:30pm Breakout Session A = 2.0 CCA

Nutrient Sampling Strategies & Interpretation in Plants & Soils

Nutrient management in farming systems requires careful planning before crop establishment and frequent monitoring thereafter. This session will begin with an in-depth discussion of how nutrients are taken up by roots and the effects of irrigation on uptake efficiency of commonly deficient minerals. Speakers will then cover the most current practices for nutrient sampling, including plant tissue sampling, soil sampling, time to sample, and interpretation of laboratory results. Results of new work on grapevines in the Pacific Northwest will highlight the usefulness of leaf verses petiole analysis and interpreting critical values at bloom and veraison.

  • Dr. Markus Keller, Professor/Chateau Ste. Michelle Distinguished Professor in Viticulture, Washington State University - Physiology of Nutrient Uptake by Vines and Impacts of Irrigation
  • Dr. Paul Anamosa, Soil Scientist and Viticulturist, Vineyard Soil Technologies - Evaluation & Interpretation of Soil Physical and Chemical Properties for Vineyard Design and Vine Nutritional Management
  • Dr. Joan Davenport, Professor and Soil Scientist, Washington State University - Strategies and Standards for Petiole, Leaf Blade and Soil Sampling in Producing Vineyards

10:30am-12:30pm Breakout Session  B (Spanish)

Efficient Water Management Strategies to Protect Water Resources/Estrategias de Manejo  para Proteger los Recursos de Agua

  • Monica Barricarte, Regional Water Quality Control Board - Central Coast - Leyes de Proteccion del Agua y el Medio Ambiente
  • Dr. Ben Burgoa, Program Engineer, Resource Conservation District of Monterey - Estrategias Para el Manejo del Riego

12:30pm-1:00pm Lunch Break - Boxed Lunches Available for Pre-Order

1:00pm-4:00pm General Session = 3.0 DPR CE (laws & regs), 3.0 CCA

Laws & Regulations - News & Updates

Laws and regulations regarding pesticide use and worker protection are constantly being updated and improved. Pesticide label changes are occurring on a local and global scale. This session will highlight those updates most pertinent to the agricultural community and how those changes might impact day-to-day operation procedures, pesticide handling and management of personnel.

  • Amy Wolfe, President and CEO, AgSafe - The Worker Protection and Heat Illness Prevention Standards - Navigating the Changes
  • Bryan Little, COO, Farm Employers Labor Service - Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
  • Laura Ramage, Agricultural Inspector and Biologist, San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner - Pesticide Label Updates


Check back soon to discover the latest additions to the program!