USDA Announces $400,000 to Support Ag Science Entrepreneurs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced availability of $400,000 through a new competition to help university researchers bring their discoveries to the marketplace. The Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) competition is a joint initiative of NIFA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“Federal funding is crucial to agricultural research, especially to help move university-developed technologies into commercial products, aka technology transfer,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “I-FAST competition gives researchers the training they need to help make their research marketable.” Continue reading

Cucurbit leaf crumple virus verified in south Georgia

In Southeast Farm Press

by Stormy Sparks and Bhabesh Dutta, University of Georgia

While we have all been bracing for the potential onslaught of silverleaf whiteflies, the one bright spot was that the viral diseases that caused the bigger disasters in 2016 had not been seen in 2017. This is no longer the case.

Cucurbit leaf crumple virus, which decimated snap beans and squash last fall, has been verified from squash in South Georgia (the week of Aug. 1). As with the whiteflies, this first occurrence is earlier than the disease was detected last year. This has also occurred at lower whitefly densities than last fall, which suggests the potential that a fair percentage of whiteflies may already be carrying the virus. Continue reading

USDA research finds conservation tillage works better after first year

In Southeast Farm Press

An onslaught of the weed Palmer amaranth in the southeastern United States has left many farmers wondering if they should continue using environmentally friendly cover crops and conservation tillage or switch to conventional tillage.

Palmer amaranth is aggressive, drought tolerant, a prolific seed producer, and capable of developing resistance to glyphosate, known as Roundup. Because of that, thousands of acres in Alabama and elsewhere are at risk of being converted to conventional tillage, which may better control the weed, but increases soil erosion and threatens long-term soil productivity.  Continue reading

Weed control economical, yield-critical in corn

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Just how much water are weeds using in a corn crop, and is it more economical to treat or not is the focus of a Texas A&M AgriLife study.

Dr. Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist in Amarillo, and her Texas A&M AgriLife Research graduate student Aislinn Walton have found in early results heavy weed pressure could result in a 100-bushels-per acre yield loss on a corn crop. Continue reading

Event in North Carolina highlights the good and bad of kudzu

In the Mountain XPress

by Kari Barrows

For a reviled invasive species, kudzu has a surprising number of fans. Nancy Basket is one. The artist first encountered the plant when she moved to South Carolina from the Pacific Northwest in 1989.

“Nobody liked it — everybody had jokes about it,” Basket recalls. “But I’m Cherokee on my dad’s side, German on my mother’s, and I have a different outlook. Just like some people can dog-whisper, I could kind of whisper to plants, and I felt kudzu was reaching out, trying to find somebody that liked it.” Continue reading

US Forest Service establishes Incident Team in Mississippi for southern pine beetle

The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it has established an Incident Management Team to direct efforts to suppress southern pine beetle infestations that threaten to damage tens of thousands of acres of pine forests in Mississippi.

Forest Health officials have classified the level of infestations as a severe outbreak. “This outbreak is unprecedented in scope with beetle activity progressing at breakneck speed with infestations rapidly escalating in size, coalescing, and decimating whole plantations,” said Jim Meeker, an entomologist with the Forest Service. Continue reading

Extension demo plot shows most economic management tool during heavy fall armyworm year

In Delta Farm Press

by Mary Hightower, University of Arkansas

Fall armyworms don’t bother with calendars. They’re here, they’re hungry and – never mind that it’s mid-summer — they’re in their second generation.

However, they can be managed, and that’s what Kelly Loftin, Extension entomologist, and Hank Chaney, regional agricultural and natural resources specialist, have been working with Steven Stone, Lincoln County Extension staff chair, all with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, have been eager to show in a pasture outside of Star City in southeastern Arkansas. Continue reading