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Avocado Educational Grower Seminar Series Continues to Progress and Benefit California Growers

The Issue

California produces about 90 percent of the nation's avocado crop. California avocado growers compete in both the domestic and international markets with countries with much lower costs of production and labor availability. To stay competitive will require more efficient farming strategies and a significant increase in productivity on the part of California growers, especially with the increase of water costs and labor constraints. To adapt, growers need to dramatically increase yield per acre using the same amount of water or less. Evolving farming practices and new information is essential for growers to stay competitive with the world market.

What Has ANR Done?

Since 1995, University of California Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with the California Avocado Society and California Avocado Commission has developed a seminar series to help avocado growers. Each seminar is tailored to each specific growing region in the state: Riverside and San Diego Counties, Central Coast, and northern Central Coast. As part of the educational series, growers and stakeholders are exposed to various topics: economics, pest management, water quality and usage, soil science, pruning techniques, biocontrol, Integrated Pest Management, salinity, labor, and harvesting, etc. The audience has a say in what topics will be discussed, and we have had positive feedback in all three locations. Per stakeholder request, roundtable discussions and field tours have also been incorporated into the program. These seminars have gained a positive reputation amongst growers and continue to impact the industry in a positive manner.

The Payoff

Seminars provide new information that growers share

Surveys determined that these seminars address current issues affecting avocado growers in their growing regions and expose them to new skills and knowledge, encouraging change in current cultivation practices. For example, subjects such has high-density plantings, rootstock selection, and salinity management help growers maximize production. In the most recent survey (8/2017), data suggested that as many as 52 percent of the attendees come to the seminars with little to no knowledge on some of the subjects presented and as many as 73 percent of the attendees leave the seminars with either “quite a bit”, or a “complete understanding” of knowledge from the material. In addition, more than 50 percent of the clientele that attended the seminar said they are likely going to share the material learned that day with as many people as possible (10+ people). This assures that the information given is circulating and reaching those who cannot physically attend the meetings. The collected survey information shows a positive outcome and assures the success of the educational seminar series.


Supporting Unit: Riverside County

Sonia Rios, Subtropical Horticulture Farm Advisor, UCCE Riverside/San Diego, (951) 683-6491, sirios@ucanr.edu

Etaferahu Takele, Management/Agricultural Economics Farm Advisor, UCCE Riverside, (951) 683-6491, ettakele@ucanr.edu

Ben Faber, Subtropical Horticulture Farm Advisor, UCCE Ventura, (805) 645-1462, bafaber@ucanr.edu