U of Florida research finds a natural method to reduce post-harvest fruit decay

University of Florida researchers, through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant, have found a natural method of reducing post-harvest citrus fruit decay.

In a SSARE Graduate Student Grant study, researchers found that essential oils, specifically carvacrol and thymol, significantly decrease ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit natural decay, weight loss and chilling injury during storage while not affecting internal fruit quality.  In addition, the essential oils also help control diplodia stem end rot (Lasiodiplodia theobromae), a fungal disease of ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit. The results point to more sustainable alternatives of fungicide use in the industry. Continue reading

Southern SARE research shows cover crops reduce pest populations

Preliminary research from University of Florida has found that incorporating root-knot nematode-resistant cover crops in a perennial peanut rotation reduces pest numbers in the cash crop and improves yields.

The results may be helpful for producers who choose top-yielding, yet susceptible, peanut cultivars, as well as resistant cultivars that historically carry a lower yield. Root-knot nematodes, soil parasites predominant in areas with hot climates and short winters, can reduce perennial peanut yields and affect plant health by feeding on plant roots. Continue reading

Early eastern tent caterpillar egg hatch anticipated for Central Kentucky

by Holly Weimers, University of Kentucky

It is likely eastern tent caterpillars will begin to hatch soon, according to Lee Townsend, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment extension entomologist.

“Eastern tent caterpillars are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Consequently, they can cope with the erratic temperature swings that are common in Kentucky. This year’s unseasonable warmth points to abnormally early activity,” Townsend said. Continue reading

Spider mite control in corn aided by moisture

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to spider mite treatment on corn, according to Dr. Ed Bynum, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Amarillo.

Spider mite damage can reduce corn silage yields about 17 percent and grain yield production by 23 percent or more when not controlled, Bynum said, speaking recently at the High Plains Irrigation Conference in Amarillo. Continue reading