The Food Provider ~ March | April | May 2015

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In This Issue


International Year of Soil

Aloha Kākou

Welcome to the Spring 2015 issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

In this issue we continue to celebrate the 2015 International Year of Soils with original CTAHR research on the nutrient retention capacity of biochar (charcoal based soil amendment), increased availability of local fertilizer resources, verification of rapid, in field nutrient sap meters and the preservation of wild pollinators.  

Our featured farmer this issue comes from the windward side of Oahu. Mr. Fung Yang has been commercially producing certified organic edible mushrooms for 5 years. He shares with our readers how he maximizes under-utilized green waste to cultivate certified organic Portabella and Crimini mushrooms.  

Jump over to our funding sources section and you will find RFP’s for WSARE’s 2016 sustainable agriculture grant programs and its list of 2015 awardees. The WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawai'i. We highly encourage you to apply.

We hope you find this issue of HānaiʻAi useful, and welcome your input.

Featured Farmer: Fung Yang
Small Kine Farm, Waimānalo, Oʻahu

Tutu portabella mushroom from Small Kine Farm

Read the full article here.

Hot Tip from Small Kine Farm

Fung Yang of Small Kine Farm

Small Kine Farm: http://www.smallkinefarm.com/

Mahalo nui loa to Fung Yang for this interview and photos.
Additional photos by Ted Radovich.


Sustainable & Organic Research and Outreach News

Pollinator Habitat Guide Available Online

Tomato variety trial

Jolene Lau, NRCS Public Affairs Specialist

In October 2014, the American Samoa Community College was awarded a NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant to install demonstration sites and development a vegetation guide for pollinator conservation practices in American Samoa. In partnership with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the American Samoa Community College worked with the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Hoʻolehua and other agencies to proudly provide, “Habitat Planting for Pollinators.” This technical note provides guidance on protecting, designing, and installing habitat for pollinators on or near farms. Read here.

FMI: Jolene Lau, email: Jolene.Lau@hi.usda.gov

Nutrient retention capacity of biochar

Biochar trials

Arnoldus Klau Berek and Nguyen V. Hue

Highly weathered soils, mainly Oxisols and Ultisols, in the tropics, including those in Hawaii, are poor in nutrients due to leaching and therefore hardly support good crop growth. Biochar reportedly has a great capacity to retain nutrients due to its numerous small pores and large surface area/charge. Our research showed that nutrients from compost when mixed with biochar added to a Hawaiian Ultisol (Leilehua series) and an Oxisol (Wahiawa series) were retained longer and became more efficient, enhancing Chinese cabbage (pak choi) growth, especially in the Ultisol. Read here.

FMI: Arnoldus Klau Berek, email: Arnoldus Klau Berek, email: akberek@hawaii.edu, Nguyen Hue, email: nvhue@hawaii.edu

Unravelling the Mysteries of Francisellosis and Developing Strategies for Prevention and Mitigation in Cultured Tilapia


RuthEllen Klinger-Bowen, Clyde Tamaru, and Kathleen McGovern-Hopkins, UH-CTAHR
Esteban Soto, Dept of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Ross University, St. Kitts, West Indies

With the increased interest in backyard and commercial aquaponics, stakeholders have become increasingly aware of Francisella noatunensis subsp. orientalis (syn. F. asiatica) or Fno and the necessary biosecurity measures to become Fno-free. This CTSA funded research on Fno became one of the ten most cited articles in the Journal of Aquatic Animal Health in 2013-2014 (Soto, et.al, 2013). The distribution of the Fno pathogen that plagues cultured tilapia on Oahu can possibly be brought under control. Read here.

FMI: Ruthellen Klinger-Bowen, email: rckb@hawaii.edu, or Clyde Tamaru, email: ctamaru@hawaii.edu

Comparison of potassium (K+) status in pak choi (Brassica rapa Chinensis group) using rapid cardy meter sap test and ICP spectrometry

Cardy meter

Chandrappa Gangaiah, Amjad A. Ahmad, Hue V. Nguyen, and Theodore J.K. Radovich, UH-CTAHR TPSS

Nutritional status of vegetable crops is often monitored by analysis of dried plant tissues, which is costly and often takes time. To avoid this time delay and cost, two greenhouse trials were conducted, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Magoon facilities, to examine the use of a portable cardy meter (CM) in determining K concentrations in fresh petiole sap of pakchoi (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group) then compared with dry tissue analyzed using a standard laboratory method. The results suggest that the cardy ion meter could be used for rapid monitoring of relative K status of plants. Read here.

FMI: Chandrappa Gangaiah, email: gc6@hawaii.edu, or Amjad Ahmad, email: alobady@hawaii.edu.

Publications & Programs

Beneficial Insect FlashcardsBACK IN PRINT
Beneficial Insect Flashcard Sets

AVAILABLE April 2015: Beneficial Insect Flashcard sets can be purchased for $10 from your local Master Gardener Office.


CRATE: Center for Rural Agricultural Training and Entrepreneurship

In this column, the CRATE team will publish recent project activities that will help local farmers to explore competitive and economically viable organic crop production methods.

CRATE: Hot Water Treatment as Potential Control of Mites and Scales on Tea Plants

Megan Manley and Koon-Hui Wang, UH-CTAHR

Megan Manley

Two field trials were conducted to determine if hot water treatment by foliar spray could be an effective non-chemical approach to mitigate spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) and scale insect (Coccoidea) infestation on tea plants (Camellia sinensis). A portable water heater was used to deliver hot water, averaging 47°C, on 3-year old ‘Yutaka Midori’, ‘Yabukita’, and ‘Bohea‘ tea plants naturally infested with mites and scales. Plants were sprayed weekly over a 9-weeks period. Hot water spray reduced mites and scales several times during the first 5 weeks in Trial I (P < 0.10), but not thereafter. In Trial II, hot water treatment only reduced scales on week 4 and 5 (P < 0.01) but not mites. Despite nonpersistent effect, hot water treatment could be integrated into a non-chemical IPM program to mitigate foliar arthropod pests for tea production in tropical climates. View poster here.

FMI: Koon-Hui Wang, email: koon-hui@hawaii.edu, Megan Manley, email: manleym@hawaii.edu

From the Agribusiness Incubator

AIP logoBorrowing Money for Your Business

As a businessperson who wants to be successful, you are probably looking for opportunities to improve and/or expand your business. Often times, however, you do not have enough of your own money to pay for new equipment, buy (more) land, or hire the new marketing manager that you desire. At times like these, you might want to find organizations that will lend you the money that you need. Read here.

FMI: Steve Chiang, email: schiang@hawaii.edu

Organic Update

Dole's March Organic Pineapple promotion contributed $1 to the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) for every box of DOLE® Organic pineapples sold in the U.S. and Canada from March 1-31,  raising $6,000 for organic farming research. Link to the OFRF Spring newsletter here.

For New Farmers

Molokai Native Hawaiian Beginning Farmer Program logo


Workshops | Conferences | Meetings

Topics include (agendas are set for each workshop based on speaker availability): Important traditional Pacific island crops and agroforestry systems, Soil fertility maintenance using locally available resources, Pest and disease prevention strategies, Food forestry for home and commercial use, Small-scale enterprise development and value-added processing based on perennial food plants, Hawaiian cultural perspective on Pacific Island agroforestry systems, Strategies for converting to agroforestry systems, Fruit and nut trees for environmental services such as shade, windbreak, erosion control, and noise barriers, their use and maintenance; NRCS practice standards that support their use, Integrating livestock and poultr, Perennial alternatives to annual crops, Advice and techniques for landscapers, Local experiences in agroforestry system implementation.

Videos & Webinars

(USDA Science and Technology Training Library): http://www.conservationwebinars.net/

Examples of Recent Webinars: http://www.conservationwebinars.net/previous-webinars




Many of you have been anxiously awaiting and we are pleased to announce that a permanent Director has been named. Previously the Nevada State Conservationist, Bruce Petersen was selected by Chief Jason Weller to serve as the Director for the Pacific Islands Area. Read here.

Voluntary, incentive-based efforts will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expand renewable energy production, help producers boost their operations and grow the economy. Read here.

Long-term research by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources scientists has documented the capacity for farmland in the San Joaquin Valley managed with conservation practices to sequester carbon, results that could give farmers a seat at the carbon trading table. The study was published this month in the Agronomy Journal.

Funding Opportunities
Feral swine

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) unveiled a new conservation activity in select states and territories to address feral swine management. An ongoing concern in the islands, Hawaii and Guam joins Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi in a pilot effort to reduce adverse impacts of feral swine on our natural resources and on livestock and human health and safety. View announcement here.

The 2016 Calls for Proposals for four Western SARE grant programs have been released. Descriptions of each program and links to the full Call can be found at westernsare.org/Grants/Types-of-Grants.

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program WSARE

Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawai'i. The goals of WSARE are:

For more information, please see: http://www.westernsare.org/ or contact Hawai'i WSARE co-coordinators Dr. Ted Radovich (theodore@hawaii.edu) and Jari Sugano (suganoj@ctahr.hawaii.edu). 

This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.

Mahalo nui loa,

Jari Sugano and Dr. Ted Radovich
Jody Smith, e-Extension Manager
Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program
Cooperative Extension Service
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources