2009 Annual Report
Site preparation at the UH Hilo Farm to plant 8 one acre pastures of mulatograss (Brachiaria ruzizensis x Brachiaria brizantha) half with and half without a perennial forage peanut (Arachis pintoi) mixture is nearly complete. A Mulatograss study using pH 5.6 Paauhau silty clay loam soil (Andic Dystrupepts) in the greenhouse to evaluate the relative contribution of surface-applied dairy lagoon solids (DLS) to forage dry matter yield and N status over four harvests as compared to urea N fertilizer when all other nutrients are at adequate levels. designed as a replacement series to determine if the urea N rate (300 kg N/ha/season in four split applications) can be reduced by 12.5, 25, 50, 75, or 100% through use of DLS. A second experiment was also established to compare the effects of pH 4.6 and 5.6 Honolua silty clay soil (Ustic Palehumults) on mulatograss growth.
Microtiter marker analysis was used to identify 61 Hawaiian varieties, 3 Palauan varieties, 11 Hawaiian hybrids. While these markers are unable to resolve all Hawaiian taro varieties and hybrids, we are able to resolve at least 22 groups. Composting systems are under study to determine the best sustainable method to use. Two different types of compost have been created to be used as feed for earthworms (Perionyx excavates) in the vermicomposting set-up with some of it stored for plant growth and disease trials. Kept at room temperature, after two weeks two inches of vermicomposts are ready for harvesting. A shed is being constructed to house alternative vermicomposting systems such as windrow, stackable batch, wedge and continuous flow reactor systems.
Modification of the hot water spray unit into a portable unit with a dedicated power supply is completed and can be used anywhere a water source is available. An experiment to control infestation of coqui frogs in potted plants on the greenhouse bench with hot water is on-going. Initial data collected from two of the sites at the end of the 4 months are mixed. One site showed about 70% reduction however, in a second site where the plants were much larger and rather overcrowded, only a 20% reduction in coqui frogs was observed. No heat injury was observed in the plants or flowers. A diversity of marketable items for producers has been developed from honey bee related products like bees wax, honey, propolis and pollen. The first line of products is marketed under the logo Lava Bee Products and include special packaging of honey, hunk honey, foaming soap and lip balms. These products are currently available in brochure form at www.uhh.hawaii.edu /academics/cafnrm/faculty/arita-tsutsumi.php. The balm is presently in preproduction for commercial sales through the UH. Collaborative efforts to develop control methods for Little Fire Ant (LFA) with the UH Manoa at the UH Hilo farm are underway. A brochure on how to build moat stands for honey bee hives as a physical barrier to LFA has been created and has been made available to the Big Island Beekeepers Association.
ADODR monitored project through meetings, progress report, and communications via email and telephone.