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Q.2-01: Changing Post-Harvest Practices in Rice and Corn fields in California

Presented by Luke Matthews - Email: lmatthews@calrice.org

Agricultural practices are constantly evolving as the climate changes, crops are modified, and advanced technology becomes more readily available. Waste grains from agricultural crops, specifically rice and corn, supply 70% for the food needs for waterfowl in the Central Valley. Considering these factors, understanding how post-harvest treatments have changed in the Central Valley of California is an area of critical information need for the Central Valley Joint Venture. To address this, we conducted road surveys in December and January of 2016-17 and 2017-18. The timing of these surveys was designed to target the post-harvest period of rice and corn agriculture. The most common post-harvest treatments detected in rice fields were flooding, incorporation, chopping, and baling. Over the two survey years we found that rice straw Incorporation was used on 25.8% of the total rice acreage while Flooding only occurred on 47% of rice acreage. Over the two survey years we observed very little change in the use of each post-harvest treatment across the landscape. Corn fields are largely not treated in a way that benefit waterfowl. Corn as a rotational crop was the most common post-harvest treatment at 55% of the total acreage, ground work involved in crop rotation is assumed to eliminate essentially all of the waste grain from the fields. Incorporation was the second most common post-harvest treatment detected in corn fields, at 23% of the total acreage. Ultimately, only 34.7% of the corn acreage was treated in a way that is considered to provide any food value for waterfowl.
Session: Poster Session 2 (Wednesday, August 28, 19:00 to 21:00)