Researchers discover control for devastating disease in Texas vineyards

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

A product that helped stop a 100-year-old battle with a cotton disease in Texas has been proven effective in stopping the same fungus from devastating vineyards, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist.

“There are a lot of vineyards in Texas, both established vineyards and new ones, that are losing vines to cotton root rot,” said Dr. David Appel, who led the research with graduate student Sheila McBride. “So essentially we took a compound that was approved for use on cotton in 2012 and put it into the vineyards. And after about four years of research, we are absolutely confident of the results we are getting in suppressing the disease on grapevines.” Continue reading

Farmer-saved wheat seed quality should be checked before planting

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Producers across the Rolling Plains and Central Texas who have not planted winter wheat or those who are seeing spotty stands in earlier-planted wheat might consider their seed quality, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

Dr. Emi Kimura, AgriLife Extension agronomist in Vernon, and Dr. Clark Neely, AgriLife Extension small grains specialist in College Station, are advising producers as they move into planting season in those regions that farmer-saved wheat seed from the 2014-15 crop might have had some quality issues that could cause problems with the 2015-16 wheat crop.

The costs associated with using saved, low quality seed can be higher than purchasing certified seed, they warned. Continue reading

UKAg researchers to collaborate with UT in $1.8 million grant to study organic dairy production

By Aimee Nielson, University of Kentucky

Kentucky is home to nearly 30 organic dairies, and that number is expected to double in the next three to five years. Organic dairy producers have voiced frustration at the lack of research-based forage production information available. Recently, however, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment began a partnership with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture to conduct research that may fill the gap and help organic dairies strengthen their profitability.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $1.8 million grant to UT, and UK will subcontract nearly $500,000 of that amount to begin multidisciplinary research in the departments of Animal and Food Science, Agricultural Economics and Plant and Soil Sciences. Continue reading