Three projects are splitting more than $650,000 in grant funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture to help the state’s producers better understand methods to improve their nitrogen and irrigation management.

The money comes by way of the 2022 cycle of CDFA’s Fertilizer Research and Education Program. According to CDFA, FREP gives grants of up to $75,000 per year for a three-year period for efforts linked to “outreach, education, demonstration, and research projects related to the environmentally safe and agronomically sound use and handling of fertilizing materials.” Entities outside of California are welcome to apply, but all work must be “relevant to California agriculture” and cannot “support proprietary product development, testing or promotions.”

A trio of university officials comprises this year’s recipients.

Ali Montazar with the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources received nearly $225,000 for a project conducting experimental trials to “develop strategies to reduce nitrogen losses and optimize irrigation water use in iceberg, romaine and leaf lettuce.”

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Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Assistant Professor Charlotte Decock is getting about $203,000 for an investigation into barriers to adoption broccoli growers face in adopting the “pump and fertilize” practice of irrigation as well as to provide outreach and demonstration of its execution.

Finally, UC Davis researcher Patrick Brown will receive a little more than $224,000 for the construction of an integrated yield monitoring system for use in almond and pistachio off-ground harvesting. The project will help producers measure the yield of individual trees at full harvest speed and better determine yield variability across fields.

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