Cooperative Extension, Sutter-Yuba Counties
University of California
Cooperative Extension, Sutter-Yuba Counties

Field Crops

Meet our new Argronomy Advisor in Sutter, Yuba, and Colusa Counties!

Sarah Light is the new Agronomy Advisor working on field crops in Sutter, Yuba, and Colusa Counties. She will be based in our Yuba City office.

Tell us a little about yourself:

Sarah Light 2

I've just moved back to California from Oregon for this position. I moved up to Oregon for a dual master's program in Soil Science and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University. I was based at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Eastern Oregon where I conducted research projects in potato production systems. One project evaluated the impact of the accompanying anion (chloride vs. sulfate) from potassium fertilizer applications on nutrient content in potato plants, with a specific focus on the movement of chloride in the system. Another project evaluated the efficiency of essential oils and selective fertilizer application to manage Verticillium wilt, with the goal of finding alternatives to an expensive end increasingly regulated soil fumigant. I also worked as technician at the USDA Agricultural Research Service on a project that evaluated the impact of biochar application on soil water properties.

My background is a bit unique in that my first degree is in Latin American Studies with a minor in Spanish Literature, and I worked in various roles in the non-profit sector for 5 years after college, including as a professional event planner and fundraiser. I went down to Mendoza, Argentina to work on a small farm in 2010, and have been passionate about agriculture ever since. I was born and raised in the Bay Area and worked on urban farms and gardens there for several years before I started grad school. Also, I'm fluent in Spanish.

Why do you want to work with UC Cooperative Extension?

I enjoy doing applied research, solving problems, and working with people. I love science and agriculture. Extension gives me the opportunity to do work that I enjoy, while having a real impact.

What do you have planned for this year?

I look forward to developing a field crops research and education program that meets the needs of growers in the area, while continuing to protect our valuable natural resources. This year I'd like to meet as many farmers, CCAs, PCAs, and stakeholders as I can so that I can familiarize myself with the issues in the Sacramento Valley. My crop list includes alfalfa, beans, wheat, corn, sorghum, barley, sunflower, safflower, soybean, canola, as well as other small grains and pseudo-cereals. 

Is there anything we can do to help you get settled? 

Yes, I'd love the opportunity to come meet with you to discuss the issues you are facing on your farm! I'm glad to come out for a farm call so feel free to call (530) 822-7515 or email if any issues arise. I look forward to meeting you!

SacValley Field Crop Blog

Reminder: Grower Meeting this Wednesday, February 21st
Rotational Crop Grower Meeting Wednesday, February 21st, 2018, 8 a.m. - Noon Norton Hall, 70 Cottonwood Street, Woodland 7:45 a.m.             Registration, Coffee, and Donuts 8:00...

Have you filled out your Ag Census yet?
Growers, if you have ever wished that there were more resources for the crops you grow in your rotations, take a minute to fill out the Ag Census survey. This is essentially your vote on USDA spending. This is a way for growers to get...

Evaluating Wheat Stand A Slow Start to Winter Rains: checking your stand before nitrogen topdressing in wheat
After a dry beginning to the season wheat growers might be trying to decide how to proceed with their nitrogen fertility program. If not irrigated, most wheat planted in the Sacramento Valley during November will likely have been stunted by the...

Heat map Grain Small Grain Variety Trial Results Now Available plus New Tools Available for Seed Selection.
Cooler temperatures are indicative that mid-November is approaching fast.  Results from UC's variety trials from the 2016-2017 season are now available here. Growers are encouraged to try out the new variety selection tool developed by the UC...

Soil Pit Soils of the Southern Sacramento Valley Field Tour Thursday, October 12th
Soils of the Southern Sacramento Valley Field Tour Thursday October 12, 2017 8 a.m.-12.15 p.m. Rominger Brothers' and Triad Farms 3.0 CCA Credits Pending   Rominger Brothers Ranch 26981 Cty Rd. 29, Winters, CA 95694 7:45-8:00...

Agronomy Newsletter

Issue Type Date Added
Sacramento Valley Agronomy Notes - Fall, 2017 (1,120KB) PDF 9/28/17
Agronomy Notes - August, 2017 (234KB) PDF 8/3/17


New University of California Cooperative Extension Resources

The results of the Statewide 2017 Small Grain Variety Trials are in! Mark Lundy, Statewide Specialist in Grain Cropping Systems, has published the results from this year's variety trails. Check them out here:


Statewide Fertilization Guidelines: In collaboration with the CDFA Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) Daniel Geisseler, our statewide Specialist in Nutrient Management, has been working to create fertilization guidelines that farmers can use to optimize their nutrient management plans for specific crops. This valuable resource is available online for a variety of tree, field, and vegetable crops including alfalfa, corn, wheat, sunflower, safflower, and dry bean. Check them out here:



Small Grains Survey Results: The results are in! Mark Lundy, Statewide Specialist in Grain Cropping Systems, has published the results from his 2017 small grains survey. This survey was conducted online earlier this year and is intended to guide the research and extension efforts at UCCE. Read about the survey and results on the UC Small Grains Blog:

Keep an eye out!

  • Lygus bug populations are building in the area - keep an eye out for them in the field, especially in bean production.
  • Sporadic high temperatures over the past 6 weeks have caused heat stress symptoms in some field crops in the area. If a field looks bad - this may be the culprit. Heat stress can be problematic and can also increase the susceptibility of crops to other pests and diseases.
  • There have been a few cases on Southern blight (casual agent Sclerotium rolfsii) reported in Colusa County. This pathogen has a wide host range and can be severe in vegetable crops grown in rotation with bean. Call me if you have a diseased field and aren't sure what the issue is, or if you have confirmed Southern blight and want more information about ways to manage the pathogen. 
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