Spooky new fungal disease on southern golf courses unmasked

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

A turfgrass disease that looked like an ink spill on many southern golf courses has been identified and all but blotted out, according to a plant pathologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

The disease, which occurs on short-cut Bermuda and Zoysia grasses, had golf course superintendents from Texas to Florida “scared,” Dr. Young-Ki Jo said, because it ruined the aesthetic looks of their fairways and greens, which could have some players teed-off. Continue reading

NIFA Announces Funding Available for Organic Agriculture Research, Education and Extension Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $17.6 million for research and outreach activities to support the organic agriculture sector. The grants are funded through NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  “The organic industry is the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture, with sales growing by $4.2 billion last year to reach a record $43.3 billion,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “Over the past seven years, USDA has invested nearly $261 million in research to improve the productivity and success of organic agriculture, including seed-breeding. The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative is one of the many ways USDA is helping this sector meet growing consumer demand.” Continue reading

RFA for Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative is open

The OREI seeks to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems through the integration of research, education, and extension activities. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products. Priority concerns include biological, physical, and social sciences, including economics. The OREI is particularly interested in projects that emphasize research, education and outreach that assist farmers and ranchers with whole farm planning by delivering practical research-based information. Projects should plan to deliver applied production information to producers. Fieldwork must be done on certified organic land or on land in transition to organic certification, as appropriate to project goals and objectives. Refer to the USDA National Organic Program for organic production standards. Continue reading

Forestry webinar series kicks off Nov. 1

By Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service will offer a forestry webinar series on five evenings in November and December. The idea behind the web-based series is to provide woodland owners with a convenient way to gain beneficial information they can use on their own properties.

The series is designed primarily for woodland owners, but anyone interested in woodland, timber and wildlife topics is welcome to participate. Those who have attended the Kentucky Woodland Owners Short Course or other UK Department of Forestry educational programs will find new and valuable information in the webinar series. Continue reading

UK extension helps farmers out of sticky situation

By Katie Pratt, University of Kentucky

In the Monroe County community of Vernon, sweet sorghum production is the economic driver for the area’s Amish population. When a new pest threatened to destroy the 2016 crop, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service stepped in to help the farmers save the crop and their livelihood.

Since 2013, the sugarcane aphid has made its way north each summer after spending the winter in Mexico and Texas. Before then, it did not feed on sorghum nor pose a serious threat. Continue reading

Join us for the Center’s Second Annual IPM On-Line Conference

The second annual IPM Online Conference hosted by the Northeastern IPM Center (NEIPMC) will feature updates from active projects funded by the Center’s Partnership Grants Program. In addition, the online conference will have updates from IPM-related projects funded through the Northeastern Sustainable Agriculture and Education (NE SARE) Program and USDA-NIFA’s Applied Research and Development Program (ARDP) and Extension Implementation Program (EIP).

The rapid style conference will feature 5 minute presentations in which the speakers will discuss, show, or possibly sing! about 1 or 2 highlights from their projects. The purpose of the conference is to increase collaboration and awareness about current IPM-related research and extension in the Northeast in a fun way. Continue reading

Weed Control & Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand

by South Dakota State University

Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, SDSU Extension Weeds Field Specialist said the two go hand-in-hand.

“The same management practices which increase soil health, like planting cover crops or a diverse cash crop rotation, also can be deterrent to weeds,” Shaffer explained. With the rise of herbicide resistant weeds not just on the horizon but in your fields, farmers want answers. Most have turned to a new herbicide in the past. Continue reading