Clemson students studying ways to improve value of cover crops

In Southeast Farm Press

by Denise Attaway

A group of Clemson students is determining how to use shredded leaves to help increase the value of roller-crimped cover crops.

Cover crops are crops planted primarily to naturally manage soil erosion, soil fertility, soil and water quality, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife. Roller-crimping involves attaching roller-crimpers to tractors, rolling over cover crops to flatten and damage them, leaving behind a thick mulch. Rye grass is the cover crop used in this study. Continue reading

Georgia Organics conference includes sessions from the industry’s best

by Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia

More than 1,000 farmers, gardeners, health advocates and organic food lovers are expected to attend the 2017 Georgia Organics Conference and Expo. This year’s schedule includes farm tours, 10 in-depth workshops, 32 educational sessions, three daylong intensive workshops, two keynote addresses, one-on-one consulting sessions and a trade show.

Registration ends on Monday, Feb. 6, for this year’s conference. The two-day annual event, one of the largest sustainable agriculture expos in the South, is set for Feb. 17-18 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.  Continue reading

Webinar: Managing target spot in cotton: results of a USDA NIFA-funded study

Target spot, which is caused by the fungus Corynespora cassiicola, is an emerging disease in cotton in the Lower and Mid-South in the U.S. Phylogenetically, C. cassiicola isolates collected from cotton across the Lower South are distinct from those collected from other crops, particularly vegetables. This suggests that C. cassiicola isolates from cotton are either a recent introduction to the U.S. or has arisen from a mutation. Rainfall patterns along with variety selection and management inputs relating to yield potential influence the target spot risk in cotton. Greatest target spot-attributed defoliation and subsequent yield losses, which may exceed 300 pounds of lint per acre, have been recorded for an intensively managed, susceptible variety having a yield potential above 2.5 to 3 bales per acre.

Dr. Austin Hagan of Auburn University will discuss the results of a two-year study on developing integrated strategies for managing target spot in cotton. Topics that will be addressed in the webinar will include disease distribution, variety susceptibility and potential yield loss, efficacy of registered and candidate fungicides, fungicide application number, timing, methodology, and placement, as well as the influence of cotton cropping frequency, tillage practices, seeding rate, and planting date on disease development and cotton yield. Continue reading

Assistant Professor, Extension Specialty Crops Plant Pathologist, University of Tennessee

Position: 12-month tenure-track, Assistant Professor (100% Extension) of Entomology and Plant Pathology, with particular emphasis on pathogens of non-ornamental specialty crops

Location: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Knoxville, Tennessee

Duties and responsibilities: The recruited individual is expected to develop and deliver a vibrant, nationally recognized innovative applied research and Extension education program focused on diseases of one or more important or emerging crops of Tennessee (e.g., fruits, vegetables, tobacco, hemp). The individual will provide technical expertise on disease management, will develop an educational program using traditional and innovative outreach tools for diverse audiences (e.g., Extension agents and specialists, producers, regional and state leaders, Master Gardeners) and will provide leadership in developing a specialty crop Extension and outreach program that meets the needs of all eligible clientele regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion or veteran status. The candidate also is expected to participate in the training of M.S. and Ph.D. students and to provide service to the department, university, and professional societies or organizations. Continue reading

UGA horticulture students tackle greenhouse and high tunnel production in inaugural protected agriculture class

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

From the miracle of December tomatoes to the marvel of fresh salad greens in space, greenhouses and growth chambers may play an increasing role in creating hyperlocal or hyperportable food systems.

Students in the University of Georgia Department of Horticulture’s “Protected and Controlled Environment Horticulture” course learn how high tunnels, greenhouses and growth chambers are used around the world to help extend the growing season, make farming a little less risky, provide opportunities to grow crops in extreme conditions and reduce our environmental footprint. Continue reading

Disease management in organic crops webinar

Organic farming has significantly increased in importance in recent decades. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, disease management in organic farming is largely based on the maintenance of biological diversity and soil health by balanced crop rotations, including nitrogen-fixing and cover crops, intercrops, additions of manure and compost, and reductions in soil tillage.

“Disease management in organic cropping systems is a serious challenge because of the rigorous restrictions that are in force; besides, management methods can vary depending on climate and topography,” explains James Theuri, a University of Illinois Extension local foods systems/small farms educator. Continue reading

Webinar: Viral Diseases in Cucurbits: Identification and Management Strategies

Join eOrganic for a webinar about viral diseases in cucurbits and organic management strategies, on October 19, 2016 at 11AM Pacific Time (12PM Mountain, 1PM Central, 2PM Eastern). The webinar is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required.

Register now at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7585247422608083970 Continue reading