Webinar on organic management of yellowmargined leaf beetle

Wednesday, December 9: An Integrated Approach to Managing Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle in Crucifer Crops, by Rammohan Balusu, and Ayanava Majumdar, Auburn University and Elena Rhodes, University of Florida. A previous eOrganic webinar on the Yellowmargined Leaf Beetle described the biology and basic management approaches for this pest. This webinar will provide advanced IPM information related to trap crops, attractants, and biorational insecticides. We will conclude with a detailed discussion of organic integrated pest management strategies suitable for multiple pest problems in organic and conventional crucifer production systems. Register

Webinar: Mobilizing Volunteers for Invasive Plant Removal

November 12 @ 12:00 pm EDT1:00 pm EDT

Free – $10

Many invasive plants (like rash-producing invasive vines and thorny shrubs) are preventing community members from enjoying local forests and are degrading local natural ecosystems. Controlling invasive plants is a big challenge but “Many Hands Make Light Work” and through the use of volunteers, many communities are making headway with invasives.

Volunteer-led program give residents an opportunity to connect with people while taking care of the natural resources around them. Volunteer programs also enable community members to help protect forest plants and wildlife while spending time outdoors, meeting new people and restoring natural habitats.

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USDA Announces $48 million in Available Funding for Specialty Crop Research and Extension Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $48 million in grants to solve critical specialty crop challenges through the integration of research and extension activities. The grants will be funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), administered by NIFA and made available through the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The SCRI program addresses the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by funding projects that address key challenges in sustaining all components of food and agriculture production systems,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Ultimately, this research will ensure a safe and secure food supply for our growing population.”

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Heat and humidity make growing pumpkins difficult in Georgia

By Tatyana Phelps

High temperatures, humid nights and disease pressure make growing pumpkins difficult for south Georgia farmers, according to Tim Coolong, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension vegetable horticulturist.

Georgia only produces a few hundred acres of pumpkins, and an estimated 80 to 90 percent of those are grown in north Georgia, he said. Most pumpkins grown in Georgia are sold as decorations, and pumpkin growers in north Georgia sell most of those to tourists, Coolong said.

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Cover crops can add nutrients and help with weed control

by Scott Miller, Clemson University

Dorchester County farmer Jimmy Fender was skeptical, opting reluctantly to skip fertilizer treatments and rely on cover crops for the nutrients that would feed his cash crop.

Fender planted a mix of clover, vetch and radish in September 2014 to serve as winter cover on about 100 acres of cornfield. In late March, he killed the cover and tilled it into the soil, which added an estimated 90 pounds per acre of nitrogen to his field. As part of a trial test with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Fender skipped some fertilizer treatments in part of that field. In the end, yields were close to those where more fertilizer was applied. Continue reading

Clemson scouting for federally designated noxious weed

by Scott Miller, Clemson University

Benghal dayflower, a state- and federally designated noxious weed that spreads rapidly and can smother agricultural crops, has been identified in Dorchester County.

Officials with the Clemson University Department of Plant Industry (DPI) will be scouting fields Oct. 5-9 in Dorchester, Colleton, Orangeburg and Bamberg counties to determine the extent of the weed’s infestation. All DPI personnel will have state-issued identification badges. Continue reading

Clemson awarded $175,000 grant for cover-crop research

by Jim Melvin, Public Service Activities, Clemson University

Clemson University’s Sustainable Agriculture Program has received a $175,000 collaborative grant to study and refine no-till cover-crop management for weed control in vegetable production.

The three-year grant (No. 2015-7006-24163) was awarded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s crop protection and pest management program. NIFA is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Field trials will be held in three separate locations: the Clemson Student Organic Farm; Clemson’s Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston; and City Roots Farm, a Columbia-based farm operated by Robbie and Eric McClam.

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