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Wine Leaders Adapt to Drought

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As the baby boomers pass the glass to the millennial generation, there will be trade-offs in consumption, but California wine will hold its own in the global market despite shifts in consumer demographics. (Photo: UC Davis | John Stumbos)
As the baby boomers pass the glass to the millennial generation, there will be trade-offs in consumption, but California wine will hold its own in the global market despite shifts in consumer demographics. (Photo: UC Davis | John Stumbos)

California’s wine industry leaders are adapting to drought and consumer shifts.  

Sept. 22, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

California wine will hold its own in the global market despite shifts in consumer demographics, scarce water, and competition from imported wines, craft beers and cocktails, according to wine industry leaders surveyed by the University of California, Davis.

Findings from the tandem surveys of wine executives and industry professionals will be presented at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, during the Wine Industry Financial Symposium at the Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, California.

“Wine industry leaders are keenly aware that this is a time of great change for California wineries and related business,” said Robert Smiley, professor and dean emeritus of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

“As the baby boomers ‘pass the glass’ to the millennial generation, there will be trade-offs in consumption, but the industry professionals surveyed indicate that they are prepared to meet these and other challenges by adjusting their brand composition, adapting new technologies and becoming more efficient in their use of water,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

UC Davis and Mars, Incorporated Announce Plans To Create First-Of-Its-Kind Innovation Institute

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The new institute would focus on food, agriculture and health.

Sept. 17, 2014
By Andy Fell
University of California, Davis


The University of California, Davis, through its World Food Center, and Mars, Incorporated today have agreed to pursue the establishment of a new institute designed to deliver big-impact, Silicon Valley-type breakthroughs in food, agriculture and health.

An independent advisory committee chaired by Bruce German, professor of food science and technology at UC Davis, will facilitate the design and development of the Innovation Institute for Food and Health prior to its launch in January 2015.

“Establishing the Innovation Institute for Food and Health will mark a great step forward in addressing the sustainability challenges we face at the nexus between food, agriculture and health,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “We are proud to be at the forefront of this multidisciplinary and multifunctional effort to confront these issues head-on through innovation at scale.” Read the rest of this entry »

Solving The Bluetongue Disease Mystery

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Veterinary researchers monitored cows and tiny gnat-like biting midges on a Northern California dairy to discover where the bluetongue virus hides during the winter. (Photo by Peggy Greb | USDA.gov)
Veterinary researchers monitored cows and tiny gnat-like biting midges on a Northern California dairy to discover where the bluetongue virus hides during the winter. (Photo by Peggy Greb | USDA.gov)

The virus survives winter by reproducing in the transmitting insect.

Sept. 16, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

The bluetongue virus, which causes a serious disease that costs the cattle and sheep industries in the United States an estimated $125 million annually, manages to survive the winter by reproducing in the insect that transmits it, report veterinary scientists at the University of California, Davis.

The findings solve a century-old mystery and are particularly significant as global climate change brings more moderate winter temperatures around the world.  The new study appears Sept. 12 in the journal PLOS ONE.

“By conducting this epidemiological study on a commercial dairy farm in Northern California, we were able to demonstrate that the virus overwinters in female midges that had fed on an infected animal during the previous season,” said lead author Christie Mayo, a veterinarian and postdoctoral researcher in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

“This discovery has important ramifications for predicting the occurrence of bluetongue in livestock and, we hope, for eventually developing controls for the disease,” said co-author James MacLachlan, a UC Davis veterinary professor and viral disease expert. Read the rest of this entry »

Evolutionary Bio Key To Solving Global Problems

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The pink bollworm, a global pest of cotton, has evolved resistance to genetically modified cotton in India, but not in Arizona, where farmers have planted refuges of conventional cotton to reduce selection for resistance. (Alex Yelich/University of Arizona)
The pink bollworm, a global pest of cotton, has evolved resistance to genetically modified cotton in India, but not in Arizona, where farmers have planted refuges of conventional cotton to reduce selection for resistance. (Alex Yelich/University of Arizona)

Study: evolutionary biology must be used to help tackle global agriculture challenges. 

Sept. 12, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis


Evolutionary biology techniques can and must be used to help solve global challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental sciences, advises a nine-member global team led by an evolutionary ecologist from University of California, Davis.

Findings from the study will appear Sept. 11 in Science Express.

“Evolutionary biology is often overlooked in the study of global challenges,” said lead author Scott Carroll of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Institute for Contemporary Evolution, also in Davis.  “By looking at humanity’s problems across the domains of nature conservation, food production and human health, it is clear that we need to strengthen evolutionary biology throughout the disciplines and develop a shared language among them.”

The new study calls attention to how evolutionary biology can be used to address challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental sciences, for example, in crop breeding, avoiding antibiotic resistance, genetic therapy for diseases and mitigating the effects of climate change. Read the rest of this entry »

New 3-Day Pistachio Production Course

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(Photo Credit: Diane Nelson / UC Davis)
Nuts growing in a pistachio orchard. (Photo Credit: Diane Nelson / UC Davis)

The Fruit & Nut Research and Information Center at UC Davis now offers a three-day course in pistachio production.

September 12, 2014
By Diane Nelson
University of California, Davis

The latest advances in pistachio production will take center stage at a three-day extension course in Visalia in November, offered by the Fruit and Nut Center at UC Davis and University of California Cooperative Extension. The course, Advances in Pistachio Production, will be held Nov. 18 through Nov. 20 in the Visalia Convention Center.

“This course sets the standard for UC pomology extension courses with a wide array of farm advisor, specialist, and faculty instructors representing decades of experience in California pistachio production,” said Louise Ferguson, Cooperative Extension specialist with the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences. “Topics span the full range of pistachio production including tree biology, orchard establishment, pruning, irrigation, nutrition, pest management, harvest and postharvest.”

In addition to the essentials of California pistachio production, the course will feature new lectures on hot topics, including Read the rest of this entry »

Baby Desert Tortoises Get A Headstart in the Mojave

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Desert tortoises are tough, yet habitat loss and disturbances now have them listed as a federally threatened species.Sept. 10, 2014

By Kat Kerlin & Andy Fell
University of California, Davis


A baby desert tortoise lies on its back atop a scale inside a new building at Mojave National Preserve. It wriggles—slowly­—its arms and feet like an infant on a changing table.

The site, the Ivanpah Desert Tortoise Research Facility, is designed to give struggling desert tortoises like this one a headstart on survival. Located on the preserve itself, researchers from the University of California, Davis and the University of Georgia, will use the facility to research juvenile tortoise survival.

Desert tortoises are tough. They can flourish in places most species find inhospitable. Able to store water for use during a drought, they can go a year without water. Yet habitat loss and other disturbances have threatened their existence, and they are now federally listed as a threatened species.

“The Mojave desert tortoise population has been declining for decades due to loss of Read the rest of this entry »