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No-till annual wheat better for soil health in California’s climate

California wheat farmers could both maintain their yields and improve soil health by growing annual wheat without tilling the soil year after year.

This could be one more encouragement to farmers to adopt a sustainable practice commonly called conservation tillage, no-till or minimum-till cultivation, impacting how we grow a grain that supplies about 20 percent of the calories and protein for people around the world

Postdocs mingle at college social

Postdoctoral researchers from across the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences gathered today on the lawn in front of Mrak Hall to enjoy coffee, get to know each other and support each other in their unique roles at UC Davis.

Among the early career scholars was Rukmangada M. Srikant, from the Department of Plant Sciences. After finishing a doctoral degree in India in 2019, he arrived in Davis in late 2022. He’s working in the lab of Ming-Chen Luo on wheat genetics.

Pumpkin Social a smashing success

Children and elders alike enjoyed the Department of Plant Sciences' 2023 Pumpkin Social, the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic the annual even has returned in-person. At least 400 people attended, said organizer Vincent Vasquez, the department's new administrative assistant. Special thanks go to the helpers including co-organizer Susan Hendrickson, the department's administrative assistant for purchasing.

Staff scientist Vincent D'Antonio remembered

Vincent L. D'Antonio, a long-time staff research associate in the former UC Davis Dept. of Vegetable Crops, died on Sept. 23 in Vacaville, Calif. He was 74,   D'Antonio was born in Newark, N.J., and lived in California for the last 50 years. He graduated from Rutgers University in Newark with a bachelor of arts degree and the University of California, Davis, with a master of arts degree. After college, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Jamaica. He held positions as a research scientist and a plant geneticist before settling at UC Davis.

Klein’s career boosted with Borlaug Scholar award

Doctoral student Marie Klein’s career is getting bolstered with recognition and connections after being named a 2023 Borlaug Scholar by the National Association of Plant Breeders.

“Being a part of an exceptional community of plant breeders offers me invaluable opportunities for learning and growth,” said Klein. She is a third-year doctoral student in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, working in the lab of department Chair Gail Taylor.

Pest control outreach will continue across the West

Growers will continue to get support and information about the latest research on controlling pests and disease in their crops through the Western Integrated Pest Management Center. The center received a $1 million grant for the 2023-24 year, part of ongoing yearly funding, said center co-director Kassim Al-Khatib.

The Western IPM Center is one of four regional centers nationwide that offer hubs to study, experiment with and promote sustainable pest control practices. The aim is to spot regional problems and find solutions.

Parasitic weeds threaten California tomato farmers

At first glance, Orobanche ramosa looks like an interesting blossoming plant, one that could add a unique flair to flower arrangements. But it’s a parasitic weed that attaches to roots, sucks out nutrients and is threatening California’s $1.5 billion processing tomato industry.

Four grad mentors lauded for ‘dedication and commitment’

Honest communication, real caring, encouragement – and making the time for all that – are among the essential ingredients for mentoring graduate students, according to four faculty members in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences recently commended for their advisory passion. (Professional secret: Sometimes it helps to act grumpy.)

Brian Bailey, Dan Kliebenstein, Amanda Crump and Alessandro Ossola were honored by the UC Davis Graduate Program with the 2023 Advising and Mentoring Award. They were among 34 faculty recognized across the university.

Beckles helps lead summer program for diverse students

This summer, four students from historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, came to UC Davis for seven immersive weeks of research, field work, training and mentoring.

The students from Fort Valley State University in Georgia and Florida A&M University worked with faculty studying plant, food and other sciences as part of the Plant Agricultural Biology Graduate Admissions Pathways, or PABGAP, program.