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Innovative Solutions for Agriculture

California Drought ! the Most Severe Drought in California’s History.

Posted on January 27, 2014 by admin

ART’S PERSPECTIVE:

Drought! Historic Weather Pacific Pattern Drives the Most Severe Drought in California’s History.

drought The “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” of high pressure, ridiculously huge, i.e., 2,000 miles long and four miles high, has been situated off the West Coast for 13 months since December 2012. This weather phenomenon, clearly described by Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury News, is responsible for deflecting Pacific winter storms from coming ashore in California. These storms instead come ashore in Alaska and British Columbia and then flow onto the East Coast. High pressure ridges occur in the Pacific each year and are mainly responsible for regulating the on shore flow of winter storms. An unusually large ridge, smaller than this year’s ridge, was responsible for the historic drought of 1976-77. The consequences of the 2014 Drought? Currently: Sierra Snowpack at 25% of normal; various local rain fall totals 5% to 30% of normal; Federal/ State water delivery projections 0 to 10% of normal. Prospects for the future? Currently, 500,000 acres of Central Valley farmland will have no crops in 2014 (Ag Alert, Jan 15, 2024). Result? “This will equate to billions of dollars in economic activity and thousands of jobs lost in all sectors of the economy, from farmworkers, to truck drivers, processors, advertisers, marketers and equipment and auto dealers to all types of stores, from local mom-and-pops to big chain retailers” (Ag Alert, Jan 15, 2014). The Dawson Company’s strategic partners, Aqua-Tech, Ag Water Chemical, Advanced O3 Systems, all serve to be stewards of California’s water supplies. Each one of these have high level expertise in the optimization of irrigation systems, water remediation and water sanitation. Call any of us with your questions about utilizing the water supplies that you still have available. “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” (RRR) was coined by Daniel Swain, Stanford University, weatherwest.com. All the best, Art Dawson, PH.D. Produce Quality & Food Safety

www.dawsonpostharvest.com

www.thedawsonco.com

What Happens to Water Quality During a Drought?

Usually the first thought during a drought is that the lack of water will cause plants and animals to die or at least suffer growth problems of some sort. This thought is very true. However, during a drought the water quality can be adversely affected, which in turn can cause problems even if the organisms obtain sufficient water. In drought conditions, heavy metals, chemicals, sediment and salts can be concentrated. Total dissolved solids, nitrates and sulfates increase. Additionally, the occurrence of algal blooms and high microbial populations may be exacerbated. Further, the pH of the water can shift toward being either acidic or basic. This pH shift can increase chemical toxicity and bioaccumulation. The upset in the normal ecological balance can negatively impact animals, and plants. While nitrates are needed by plants, excess amounts can be concentrated in the plants and be passed on to the consuming organism. In humans, excess nitrates in the water can cause “blue baby syndrome” and increased blood pressure. Similarly, sulfates can also be stored by plants. When excess sulfates are present in water, the taste and odor of the water is negatively impacted. Further, excess sulfates can cause diarrhea. Increased chemical toxicity caused by pH shifts could affect plant growth. Higher concentrations of microorganisms in the water may result in deposition of harmful bacteria on plants or the ingestion of detrimental microbes in humans and animals. In periods of drought, water quality needs to be monitored closely to avoid undesired side effects. References: Texas Water Resources Institute Natural Resources Defense Council Van Vliet & Zwolsman, Journal of Hydrology, 2008 Noble Foundation Until Next Time, Allan Pfuntner Hartono and Company hartono_co@msn.com 808-345-3413

Wine Quality Enhancement via Thermal Treatment in the Vineyard

Posted on July 6, 2013 by admin

ART’S PERSPECTIVE:

the Dawson Company’s remarkable client, Agrothermal Systems is bringing quality to the wine industries of the U S and New Zealand.

Dawson-PostHarvest---New-Zealand-Wine-Grapes

“Dream results from a wine quality perspective on the Cabernet Franc test with 20% more berries per bunch and significantly lighter weight per bunch giving us a much higher skin to pulp ratio. We saw both higher brix and lower acids. These are critical components to wine quality.” This is from AgroThermal Systems’ CEO, Martin Fischer, regarding 2012 results of New Zealand vineyard trials.

Dr. Art Dawson visited the New Zealand trials earlier this year. Based on observations in the field, the decision was made to have wine made from the Cab Franc thermal treated replicated test plots and the non-thermal treated test plots in the same vineyard. The test vineyard is the famous and historic Mission Estate Vineyard in the Hawke’s Bay region of the North Island.

Martin Fischer says, “I can’t wait to taste it and see an analysis.”

Martin Fischer has kindly accepted our invitation to contribute an article to our newsletter. As CEO and Founder, he is the visionary driving force behind the AgroThermal System’s sales and marketing programs. These programs are supported by an extensive vineyard demonstration program consisting of multi variety, replicated field trials in California, Oregon and Washington.

Martin Fischer’s comments appear below:
2013 Heat Treatment Trials Underway

2013 will be a huge step up in proving the numerous benefits of Thermal Plant Treatment thanks to some very large development partners who committed to trials after seeing results from the work done in 2012. Trials are taking place in Washington, Oregon and California. 2012 was our first year of wine trials in the US and we intentionally limited testing to a few acres in Napa and Sonoma, CA in order to field test the new equipment design and verify fruit set and wine quality benefits. In Oregon, Adelsheim Vineyard, one of the leading Pinot Noir brands in the West experimented with the technology.

The 2012 “concept tests” showed that thermal technology increased fruit set when applied during bloom and in several varietals produced better quality wine. These results led to a much greater interest in TPT among the larger companies and far more aggressive trials are underway. This season at the Southern end of the Salinas Valley alone there are more than 30 acres dedicated to trials and the combined acreage controlled by just these growers is in excess of 25,000 California acres. In addition to expanding work from 2012 on Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc we will be adding Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay. Most of the growers involved in California are primarily interested in seeing increased fruit set and larger yields with a secondary goal being improved wine quality and chemistry. We are in discussions with Fresno State to monitor these tests by providing yield data as well as fruit quality and wine chemistry evaluations. This would be the second year in which FSU has been involved in evaluating the technology. In Washington testing is just beginning and the growers involved have asked Washington State University to provide evaluations as the season progresses

In Oregon, Adlesheim Vineyards will be expanding trials after initial testing in 2012. According to Chad Vargas, Production Manager at Adelsheim “In January and again in April we did a barrel tasting of the test and control Pinot Noir wine produced during the 2012 crop year and were encouraged by the differences we experienced. The TPT process had some distinct and subtle advantages in the glass and we are now expanding our use of the technology during the 2013 season.” In my discussions with Pinot Noir growers in Oregon they are less interested in increasing yields on Pinot Noir, as they firmly believe larger yields often lead to inferior wine quality. It was interesting that Adelsheim got a 7% increase in yield on the TPT test block vs. control in and they got better wine as well. They and we are very excited about expanding our knowledge in 2013.

By Marty Fischer, Co-Founder and CEO of AgroThermal Systems.

marty@agrothermalsystems.com

 

All the best,
Art Dawson, PH.D.


909 597 6077

http://www.thedawsonco.com

 

About The Dawson Company

The Dawson Company consists of experienced, hands-on market and product development professionals. We create sales! Our clients include Agrichemical Registrants, Distributors and Technology Suppliers with “Need to Know” and “Need to Sell” priorities in pre-harvest and post-harvest markets.

909 597 6077

http://www.thedawsonco.com/

 

A Milestone in Successful Wine Grape Field Trials

Posted on April 1, 2013 by admin

ART’S PERSPECTIVE:

A Milestone in Successful Wine Grape Field Trials
as Conducted by the Dawson Company.

AgroThermal Systems 2012 Wine Grape Field Trials,
Enhancement of Wine Quality.

gft

The Dawson Company consults for cutting edge technology providers in the area of strategic marketing, sales direction, and demonstration/efficacy field trials. AgroThermal Systems, The Dawson Company’s client, has a very interesting technology. Their ‘thermal treatment’ technology deeply impacts plant physiological processes leading to, among other things, enhanced wine grape quality.

The results of AgroThermal’s 2012 varietal wine grape field trials, assisted and conducted by The Dawson Company, were measured not only by the horticultural factors of plant yield and grape berry quality, but also by the impact on quality attributes from wine made from the same replicated trials.

Malbec variety grapes were selected for this trial due to the growing worldwide commercial interest in this particular variety. The treatments were made during the 2012 growing season and three key wine quality attributes were judged as the result of “thermal treatment” in Napa Valley, CA grown Malbec variety grapes.

The three key wine quality attributes measured were:
Enhanced flavor: “fruity” taste;
Enhanced aroma: “fruity” aroma;
Enhanced satisfaction: improved “mouth feel”.

The Malbec grapes received weekly thermal treatments by AgroThermal System’s heated air blast. After harvest, grape samples were subjected to micro vinification. Thermally treated and non-treated (control) grapes were converted into samples of wine at Fresno State University’s Department of Viticulture and Enology.

Early this year, AgroThermal System’s experts initiated “blind” wine tastings comparing wine produced from the grapes of the thermally treated vines to wines from the control or non-treated vines. To date, nine individual professional entities representing commercial organizations within the USA wine industry have participated in these taste tests. Each of these “tasters” noted that some wine samples have distinctly superior qualities which can be characterized as: more “fruity” taste, more “fruity” aroma, and an improved “mouth feel”. In every case the superior samples were the wine produced from the thermally treated grapes.

Additionally, beyond the thermal treatment’s enhancement of the key quality aspects of wine in this 2012 trial, several years of thermal treatment experience in New Zealand, Chile and Brazil have demonstrated exceptional savings in pest control costs. The added benefit of cost savings can be attributed to the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) related impacts from the periodic thermal treatment of hot/high velocity air as it disrupts the biosphere within the vineyard.

CONGRATULATIONS to the AgroThermal Systems Team for achieving such a MILESTONE!

More on the impact of ‘thermal treatment’ on plant yield, berry quality, berry numbers and input savings due to biosphere disruption, in the next editions of The Dawson Company Newsletter.

All the best,
Art Dawson, PH.D.

909 597 6077

http://www.thedawsonco.com/


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Produce Quality & Food Safety
So Why is Heat Such a Big Deal?

Every organism has its own heat range for optimum growth. Wine grapes can be particularly picky, depending upon the variety. A premium bottle of wine can command a premium price – like a 1947 bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc Vinfolio San Francisco that sold for over $33,000 in 2006.

Many grape growing areas, including California, are divided into certain regions depending upon their climates. This classification technique was devised in 1944 at the University of California, Davis, by A. J. Winkler and M. Amerine. The technique is called the Winkler Scale, and is based upon the sum of degree days over 10°C during the period of April 1 through October 31. The calculations result in five designated growing regions, appropriately termed I, II, III, IV and V.

Regions I (1,111-1,390 growing-degree days) and II (1,391-1,670 gdd) produce dry table wines with light to medium body. Region III (1,671-1,950 gdd) yields sweet and full-bodied dry wines. Region IV (1,951-2,220 gdd) produces grapes used in fortified wines which are those with added distilled spirits. Lastly, Region V is best for table grapes and it yields low quality table wine.

Wines from Region I include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Region II produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Syrah, Zinfandel and Semillon come from Region III. Regions IV and V examples are Port, Barbera and Muscat. The above are general varieties produced and considerable overlap can occur.

From the preceding, one can readily ascertain that heat is an extremely important factor, and adjusting the micro-climate surrounding the grapes can aid in producing more consistent grape yields and quality. Coupling the knowledge of heat production to the knowledge of grape heat demand could also result in increased production of various grape varieties.

Turn on the heat machines!

Until Next Time,
Allan

Hartono and Company LLC
Produce Quality & Food Safety
808-345-3413

________________________________________________________________________________

About The Dawson Company

The Dawson Company consists of experienced, hands-on market and product development professionals. We create sales! Our clients include Agrichemical Registrants, Distributors and Technology Suppliers with “Need to Know” and “Need to Sell” priorities in pre-harvest and post-harvest markets.

909 597 6077

http://www.thedawsonco.com/

 

Food Waste In Spite of Magnificent Technologies

Posted on February 8, 2013 by admin

ART’S PERSPECTIVE:
Food for Concern: Food Waste In Spite of Magnificent Technologies…..

waste

Two hundred twenty two (222) million tons/year! That is the total consumer food waste in industrialized countries.* More than forty percent (40%) of food losses in industrialized countries occur as “food waste”. * “Food waste” is that portion of the total food loss that occurs in the areas of food service, food retailing and household waste.

Conversely, the balance of the food loss in industrialized countries occurs on the farm, in the packing house, in the fruit ripening rooms, the coolers, the transportation system.
For many years, our clients have focused on reducing food losses at each of these points within the produce production system. Several clients focus specifically on maximizing food production. Each client brings its own magnificent technology and makes a positive contribution to our abundant food supply.

Packing houses have been the focus of our former client, BASF, in creating protective fruit coatings; Aqua-Tech in providing ozone sanitation for fresh produce; AgroFresh in controlling natural fruit ripening at the packing house; Makhteshim Agan in providing postharvest decay control materials and Aqua-Tech, again, in sanitizing fruit in coolers and truck vans. All of these technologies are effective in reducing food losses.

Ag Water Chemical; AgroThermal Systems; KeyPlex and Westbridge Ag Products are directly involved in optimally irrigating and fertilizing fresh fruits and vegetables on the farm.

Today our client, It’s Fresh!, is extending produce freshness technology into the retail store and into the kitchens of fresh produce consumers. It’s Fresh! is the highly innovative and cost effective technology directly focused on extending produce life in store and at home.

We are pleased with each of our client’s success in making direct contributions to abundance. They are enhancing supplies of fresh produce all around the world.
But we are shocked at the gross quantity and huge cost of food wasted. Most of the waste happens after the produce has been or could have been protected by these magnificent technologies!

Food waste in the USA is in the neighborhood of $165 billion each year! ** USA families discard between $1,365 and $2,275 of fresh food each year. **

All of these magnificent technologies, and the consumer still discards 40% of his food?

Perhaps this is the “next real frontier”…….training our people to effectively utilize our abundant food supply.

*Global Food Losses and Food Waste, Extent, causes and Prevention: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2011
**WONKBLOG, How the U.S. manages to waste $165 billion in food each year, Aug 22, 2012.

All the best,
Art Dawson, PH.D.

www.thedawsonco.com

______________________________________________________________________________

 

About The Dawson Company

The Dawson Company consists of experienced, hands-on market and product development professionals. We create sales! Our clients include Agrichemical Registrants, Distributors and Technology Suppliers with “Need to Know” and “Need to Sell” priorities in pre-harvest and post-harvest markets.

909-957-0507

______________________________________________________________________________

Produce Quality & Food SafetyFood Waste?…..
Not Just Wasted Food

Take a moment to read the below excerpt from a report by the National Resources Defense Council (Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill, August 2012). You may or may not agree with their views, but the information provided is food for thought (pun intended).

“Food is simply too good to waste. Even the most sustainably farmed food does us no good if the food is never eaten. Getting food to our tables eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. That is more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. Not only does this mean that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also 25 percent of all freshwater and huge amounts of unnecessary chemicals, energy, and land. Moreover, almost all of that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where organic matter accounts for 16 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Nutrition is also lost in the mix-food saved by reducing losses by just 15 percent could feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. Given all the resources demanded for food production, it is critical to make sure that the least
amount possible is needlessly squandered on its journey to our plates.”

You may have seen the news story on ABC News on January 28, 2013: “Americans Throw Out $190 Worth of Food Each Month” (an average). The family surveyed on the broadcast threw out about $350 worth of food in a month. Astounding!

Regardless of the figures, we waste a lot of useable food. Are we too picky? Too spoiled? Or both?

Until Next Time,
Allan

Hartono and Company LLC
Produce Quality & Food Safety
808-345-3413