Laulima in Action 20 July 2021

Laulima in Action

Kauaʻi Extension builds a new greenhouse for its Ag Station

The greenhouses at the Kauaʻi Agricultural Research and Extension Station (KARES) were in need of complete replacement, so in early 2021, thanks to the support of CTAHR leadership, we were able to have our two failing greenhouses removed, and approval to purchase two replacement greenhouse kits. Sandra Cabral (Kauaʻi County secretary) worked diligently to process this large purchase and get the new greenhouse kits on the boat and headed our way. Once the old greenhouses were demolished, and the pads were clear, the challenge of installing the new houses (each 35’ wide by 84’ long) began. The Kauaʻi team rose to the challenge! The talented farm team of Frank Matsuno (farm manager), Michael Carle (agricultural technician), Lou Nishida (mechanic), Michael Zins (seasonal volunteer), and myself worked through the many steps of putting the structure together.

We started with carefully setting the concrete footings, then installing the frame and hardware, fastening screening on the sides, rebuilding greenhouse benches, and, redoing the water lines.  The tricky last step was placing a single large sheet of plastic to cover the roof of the house.

Extension agents Emilie Kirk, Roshan Manandhar, James Keach, Amjad Ahmad, and others were on hand to make fine work of this. Please enjoy these photos, which show the demo and construction process over time. Now, it’s on to Greenhouse Number Two!

National Clean Plant Network 20 July 2021

National Clean Plant Network

Extension will use a new APHIS grant to study sweet potato

When a virus or virus-like agent infects a vegetatively propagated crop, the negative consequences can go far beyond a disappointing yield, appearance, taste, and plant longevity. If the difficult-to-find disease goes undetected inside the propagation material, the problem could be passed on to a new farm, establish itself, and spread even further. Since 2008, the National Clean Plant Network has brought together growers, scientists, and government agencies with the shared goal of safeguarding clean plants and ensuring a sustainable source of disease-free, vegetative propagation materials (such as cuttings, slips, scionwood, etc.). No less than the long-term viability of farmers and feeding a hungry planet are at stake. With a new grant from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a group of CTAHR Extension agents and researchers on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Maui, and the Big Island have joined the network’s sweet potato group. For their first project, Amjad Ahmad, Rosemary Gutierrez, Roshan Manandhar, Susan Miyasaka, Sharon Motomura-Wages, and Jensen Uyeda, along with Dr. Jon Suzuki from the USDA ARS, DKI US Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) in Hilo, will focus on ‘Okinawan,’ the purple-fleshed sweet potato variety that is a primary commercial cultivar in Hawaiʻi.

“During the first year, we hope to produce a total of 100 virus-tested ‘Okinawan’ plantlets in the tissue-culture laboratory of the Komohana Research and Extension Center, then distribute to Extension agents across the state,” Susan says.

The plan calls for these Extension agents to multiply the clean material to produce 500 cuttings, and distribute them to growers. The agents will use either pot or hydroponic cultures under conditions that will minimize any re-introduction of disease, while Dr. Suzuki will test for major sweet potato viruses in order to ensure that the propagating materials are clean. If all goes well, by the second year of funding, the agents will be able to ramp up production to distribute 2,500 clean cuttings to growers.

Read more about the National Clean Plant Network.

Unhitch the Bias 20 July 2021

Unhitch the Bias

TPSS welcomes July 22 workshop by American Statistical Association

Your conclusions are based on the data, correct? But what if your analysis of the data includes bias? Tune in July 22 (that’s tomorrow) at 10:00 a.m. for “Addressing Bias: Propensity Score Weighting Using the Latest Methods,” an American Statistical Association Traveling Course. The workshop is co-hosted by the Dept. of Tropical Plants and Soil Sciences, along with the UHM Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and ASA Hawaiʻi Chapter. “Here is a free, professional-development opportunity to broaden your analytical skills,” says Mikey Kantar. “This workshop will provide methods for faculty and researchers to better understand bias in their data, learn about new ways of addressing the bias, and ultimately, make better conclusions. Please REGISTER and enjoy.”

Rainfall and Wildfires 20 July 2021

Rainfall and Wildfires

NREM Extension is interviewed for KHON2 newscast

“My research has found that… higher rainfall events can contribute more to fire risk down the road than real-time drought conditions,” Clay Trauernicht told KHON2 newscasters on Monday. The Extension Specialist in Ecosystems and Fire in the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Management was interviewed about recent brushfires occurring throughout the Islands. Another contributing factor, he says, is that former agricultural lands are abandoned and overrun with invasive species. Twenty-five percent of Hawaiʻi’s landmass, about 1,000,000 acres, is dominated by these grasses and shrubs.

On the other hand, fuel breaks would allow firefighters to come in and provide a safe environment for them to work.

“More importantly than fuel break stopping it is the fuel breaks that allow the firefighters to come in and provide a safe environment for the firefighters to work,” Clay said.

Read the full KHON2 story.

Kristy Lam's M.S. Thesis Defense 7/30/2021 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Kristy Lam's M.S. Thesis Defense

Wailepo: Exploring soil porous system changes and evaluating point pedotransfer functions to predict soil water retention for some Hawaiian soils

Soil water retention is an important soil property that facilitates soil physical, chemical, and biological processes. However, there is limited soil water research in Hawaiʻi. Understanding soil water retention behavior across a diverse range of agricultural soils is essential to soil and water stewardship in Hawaiʻi. To address this knowledge gap, I explored the key edaphic properties related to the soil pore system and soil water retention behavior across a diverse range of important agricultural soils of Hawaiʻi. In my first chapter, I estimated pore size distribution from the soil water characteristic curve and assessed mineralogical, management, and depth effects on pore size contribution. In my second chapter, I evaluated various soil physical and chemical properties as water retention predictors, then developed and compared pedotransfer functions using two approaches (Gene Expression Programming and Multiple Linear Regression) to predict water retention at -10 kPa. With an improved understanding of the SPS changes and soil water retention modeling, we will set the foundation needed to adapt the CropManage approach to irrigation scheduling under Hawaiʻi specific conditions.


Date: July 30st, 2021

Time: 8:00 - 9:00 AM HST


Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/94601235774?pwd=TGZyNW9hSzJORERlczF6c2l1d29ydz09


Meeting ID: 946 0123 5774

Passcode: 729128



Dr. Jonathan L. Deenik (Chair)

Dr. Yin-Phan Tsang

Dr. Sayed M. Bateni


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