While much of the world has stopped, the plants keep on growing.
Whitney Brim-DeForest, the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Cooperative Extension rice and wild rice advisor, has been conducting research on weeds found in rice fields around the Sacramento Valley, with her current study ongoing since January.
“Obviously, due to the coronavirus, it has been more difficult to focus on research, and the way that we have to interact with each other — colleagues, employees, students — is a little different than normal,” Brim-DeForest said.
Yet she does see some upsides to working in her near-empty greenhouse on the UC Davis campus. She finds that “spending time with the plants, both in the greenhouse and in the field, is a source of stress relief.”
Brim-DeForest said her survey aims “to get a better idea of the weed species found in California rice fields, both native and non-native, as well as the distribution through the nine rice-growing counties.”
The study, which involves collecting 200 soil samples from rice grower fields in the Sacramento Valley, is the first in decades.
“The last published survey was in the 1980s, so it has been 40 years, and a lot has changed,” Brim-DeForest said.