Tomato spotted wilt virus has not been put “to bed”

In Southeast Farm Press

by Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia

Peanut growers hoped tomato spotted wilt virus was a thing of the past. New, improved varieties with TSWV resistance along with other better management tools finally put the disease “to bed.” But tomato spotted wilt virus will not stay down.

Once a disease that threatened the peanut industry in the Southeast, tomato spotted wilt had been on the decline since 2005 and was nearly nonexistent in peanut fields between 2009 and 2012.

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John Rife will be Mid-Florida Specialty Crops Conference keynote speaker

The Mid-Florida Specialty Crops Conference Planning team is pleased to announce John Rife as our conference keynote speaker.

Rife is a well-known, passionate advocate of sustainable food systems and small, local businesses. He is an urban farmer and also founder and owner of East End Market in Orlando, Florida.

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IPM Enhancement Grant deadline approaching

If you’re thinking about applying for an IPM Enhancement Grant, you have almost one month before proposals are due! Continue reading

Writing an IPM Policy for your School District – EPA Webinar on November 10

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Center of Expertise for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) will host a webinar, “Writing an IPM Policy for your School District,” on November 10 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Continue reading

Pecan scab down this year for Georgia farmers

By Tatyana Phelps, University of Georgia

There will be between 110 and 120 million pounds of pecans harvested this season, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells estimates, making this year’s Georgia pecan crop the best he’s seen in the last three years.

“In 2013, it was a really wet year,” Wells said. “When we have a really wet year, pecan scab disease is really bad and that puts a lot of stress on the tree. Whatever happens to a tree one year affects it the next year, and sometimes for the next couple of years. This year, the trees seemed to have recovered from that.” Continue reading

Grant promises Georgia blueberry farmers more weapons in fight against spotted wing drosophila

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

A tiny fly is having a huge impact on American fruit farmers. Known as spotted wing drosophila, the insect is costing famers more than $700 million a year in lost produce and prevention costs.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture tasked University of Georgia researchers with developing a long-term management plan for the flies. The $2 million NIFA grant will be led by Ashfaq Sial, a national leader in spotted wing drosophila management and an entomologist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Continue reading

With organic rice in demand, scientists help farmers improve production

Organic rice is increasingly desired by U.S. consumers, but farmers know that growing the grain chemically free can mean providing a feast for insects, diseases and weeds.

That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture has put $1 million on a multi-state team of scientists with a track record of battling pests toward the goal of making organic rice profitable for farmers and more available for consumers. The grant also establishes the first Center of Excellence for organic rice research in the U.S.

“Organic rice is important to the U.S., and most of the organic rice acreage is located in the southern growing region and California,” said Dr. Xin-Gen “Shane”” Zhou, Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist in Beaumont and project leader. “Organic rice acreage has increased to about 50,000 acres in the nation. In contrast, conventional rice acreage is on the decline. Continue reading