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

Field Crops

Meet our new Agronomy 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

Agricultural Policy Watch: Right to Repair Making Progress Around the US
I can fix most things on my Ford Ranger. It's about three parts more complicated than a 1960s VW beetle. When I can't fix it, I don't have to take it to a Ford dealer. This is because a pile of ‘right-to-repair' legislation was introduced in the...

Soil Pit 1 Free soil pits and (some) analysis
Field crop growers, PCAs, and other members of the ag community.  As a new UC advisor with a degree in soils, I am in the process of getting better acquainted with the soils in the area. Sacramento, Solano,...

Small Grains and Alfalfa/Forages Field Day: May 11th, 2017
Parking and registration is free and so is the barbeque lunch... University of California Small Grains - Alfalfa/Forages Field Day  Thursday, May 11, 2017, UC Davis Agronomy Field Headquarters  2400 Hutchison Dr., Davis, CA 95616,...

Garbanzo rows Alternative Crops: Garbanzos. Things to consider and where to get contracts
“Commodity prices are in the tank.” “Wheat prices these days don't look so good.”  “Diesel's worth the price of gold, it's the cheapest grain he's ever sold.” Two quotes from growers I've spoken with, one from...

Immature two-row Malting Barley, Butta Variety, Sacramento Valley near Capay, CA Alternative Crops: Malting Barley
Fluctuations in commodity prices mean that wheat can be a darling or a demon. When prices are high, wheat can command more acres pushing up the prices for canning tomatoes. When prices are low, growers are inclined to look at wheat's value in terms of...

Agronomy Newsletter

Issue Type Date Added
Sacramento Valley Field Crop Newsletter - Summer 2018 (1,209KB) PDF 6/13/18
Sacramento Valley Field Crops Newsletter - Winter, 2018 (569KB) PDF 2/28/18
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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