Texas A&M AgriLife researchers push drones to ‘read the weeds’

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Even barely poking through the ground, weeds are distinctive. Determining the right tools for early identification and control are the goals of an ongoing Texas A&M AgriLife Research project.

Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, AgriLife Research weed scientist in College Station, is using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to “read the weeds.” Continue reading

The New Our Farms, Our Future Podcast Series: Voices in Sustainable Agriculture

From coast to coast, a diverse community of farmers, ranchers, scientists and educators is working to shape a sustainable future for our food system. Listen to the new Our Farms, Our Future podcast series and join this community for intimate conversations about the state of agriculture, how we got here and where we’re headed. Continue reading

Trying to tame fire ants? Consider whether you want to eliminate the mounds or the ants

By Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

Fire ant research is not a hot topic in the scientific community because effective control products are available, but fire ants can kill people, so management of this pest remains an ongoing issue, according to Will Hudson, University of Georgia entomology professor.

“It’s a measure of the state of entomology. We used to have a fair amount of fire ant research going on in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said Hudson, who has studied the control of turf insects for the past 30 years. “But fire ants are still important because other ants aren’t going to kill you. If you are allergic and you get stung by a whole lot of fire ants, you could die.” Continue reading

WSSA Seeking New NIFA Fellow

The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) is seeking a qualified individual to serve as a Weed Science resource for USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and to act as a liaison between WSSA members and USDA-NIFA employees.  Dr. Donn Shilling from the University of Georgia has served in this role for the past three years, but plans to step down from this position in 2018.  Our intention is for Donn and the new NIFA Fellow to initially work together during the transition period.  Ideally, the new individual will travel to Washington, D.C. approximately once every 6 – 8 weeks to interact and work with USDA-NIFA employees during the week.  The NIFA Fellow will provide input on a wide range of topics such as current weed management practices, herbicide resistance management, weed biology and ecology, invasive plants, and the potential for new weed management paradigms such as the use of weed genomics and intelligent weed removal technologies.  A key role for the NIFA Fellow is to connect USDA-NIFA staff with WSSA committees and members to leverage their expertise to address these and other Weed Science topics. Continue reading

Pros and Cons of Cover Cropping for No-till Vegetable Production: Making sense of current research and past experiences

No-till vegetable production offers a more sustainable approach to weed management than the frequent use of herbicides and tillage, and also promotes soil health. Because cover crop based no-till vegetable production involves a different approach to management, growers may be reluctant to transition from conventional tillage without seeing the system in action and knowing its costs and benefits compared with conventional tillage. In this workshop Clemson University specialists will discuss the pros and cons of cover cropping and no-till with recommendations based on current research and our experiences in the field over the past decade.

May 17TH, 2018, 8:45 AM – 3:30 PM Continue reading

Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research

The purpose of the Aquaculture Research program is to support the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the U.S. and generate new science-based information and innovation to address industry constraints. Over the long term, results of projects supported by this program may help improve the profitability of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, increase domestic food security, provide markets for U.S.-produced grain products, increase domestic aquaculture business investment opportunities, and provide more jobs for rural and coastal America. The Aquaculture Research program will fund projects that directly address major constraints to the U.S. aquaculture industry and focus on one or more of the following program priorities: (1) genetics of commercial aquaculture species; (2) critical disease issues impacting aquaculture species; (3) design of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture production systems; and (4) economic research for increasing aquaculture profitability. Continue reading

Federal and state agencies working together on cattle ticks in Texas

in Southwest Farm Press

The threat of cattle fever ticks spreading northward into the Southwest U.S. is an issue heavy on the minds of South Texas border region livestock producers, who have been operating under inspection, and in some cases quarantine, protocols imposed by federal and state animal health officials.

The protocols were issued as because of an increase in the number of cattle fever ticks discovered on livestock and wildlife outside the permanent tick eradication quarantine zone on the Texas border. Continue reading