Crop protection and cybersecurity

by John Herlihy, Virginia Tech

Plants feed us. Without them we’re goners. Through thousands of years of genetic modification by selective breeding, humans have developed the crops that keep us alive. We have large kernels of grains, plump fruits and nutritious, toxin-free vegetables. These forms would never be found in nature, but were bred by people to keep us healthy and happy.

Unfortunately, microbes find our wonderfully productive food plants just as delicious as we do. These plant pathogens cause diseases that have changed world history and still affect us today. Continue reading

AgriLife helps Texas tomato producers make better connections through grafting

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

A team of Texas A&M AgriLife researchers and horticulturists are investigating how successful integration of vegetable grafting into current tomato production practices could present new opportunities for the Texas tomato industry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service reported just over 2,100 acres in Texas were used for tomato production in 2012 and gave an estimated crop value of $4.9 million in 2015. Continue reading

Cotton growers should be patient in treating for target spot

In Delta Farm Press

Conditions in west Tennessee are setting up as conducive for target spot infestations in cotton. Or maybe not.

Heather Kelly, Extension pathologist at the University of Tennessee Research and Extension Center in Jackson, says several factors need to coincide for target spot to pose a threat to cotton. Continue reading

Assistant Professor of Palm Mycology at University of Florida

This is a 12-month tenure-accruing position that will be 70% research (Florida Agricultural Experiment Station) and 30% extension (Florida Cooperative Extension Service), available in the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (FLREC), Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), at the University of Florida.  This assignment may change in accordance with the needs of the unit.  Duties will include development of a productive, interdisciplinary, extramurally funded research program with an emphasis on palm diseases caused by fungi. The candidate will need to maintain a global perspective to be ready for the movement and establishment of fungal diseases, including, but not limited to, diseases caused by Fusarium, Ganoderma and members of the Botryosphaereaceae. This may include etiology of emergent diseases, genetic diversity/population genetics of pathogens, epidemiology of diseases, management of diseases, host-pathogen interactions, and microbiome studies (rhizosphere, endophytes, biocontrol). Extension responsibilities will include maintaining and updating education programs for Extension agents, stakeholders and the public on the identification and management of palm diseases, continuation of the FLREC palm school and maintenance of online tools for identifying palm diseases. The incumbent will provide proactive leadership, training, and assistance to county faculty. Tenure will accrue in the Department of Plant Pathology.  The faculty member will participate actively in undergraduate education and graduate education by chairing graduate committees, serving on graduate committees, supervising thesis and dissertation research, supervising undergraduate research, and publishing the results with his/her graduate students.  The faculty member will seek contract and grant funding actively to support his/her program.  The faculty member will engage in Extension activities in his or her program area.   Continue reading

UGA research aimed at stopping gummy stem blight in the greenhouse

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Georgia watermelon growers who have a targeted, informed disease management plan for gummy stem blight disease could save money and lessen the environmental impact of producing this favorite summertime fruit.

University of Georgia horticulturist Cecilia McGregor, along with fellow UGA scientists Marin Brewer and Bhabesh Dutta, studies the impact of reduced fungicide use through early detection of gummy stem blight in watermelons. Continue reading

New cotton disease in Alabama comes from Brazil

In Southeast Farm Press

by Patrick Shepard

A virus that is previously known to be vectored by aphids into cotton has been recently identified as the primary suspect virus from limited samples of cotton in Alabama. Similar symptomology has been reported in the coastal counties of Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.

“The cotton blue disease (CBD) symptomology was observed at the end of 2016 by one of my former graduate students, Drew Schrimsher, in his grower cotton variety trials,” says Auburn University plant pathologist Dr. Kathy Lawrence. Continue reading

Webinar: A History and Future of White Pine Blister Rust in North America

This webinar will examine the biology, disease cycle, and history of white pine blister rust in North America and provide information on cultural control methods and resistance breeding programs for western white pine and whitebark pine. Continue reading

UGA Extension fruit pathologist says use lime sulfur on blueberries to manage Exobasidium disease

By Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

The key to managing Exobasidium leaf and fruit spot disease in blueberries, which makes the fruit unmarketable, is one application of lime sulfur approximately two weeks prior to bud break, according to Jonathan Oliver, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit pathologist.

Exobasidium disease causes spots on the leaves and fruit, decreases the fruit’s size and, because of the fruit’s immaturity, gives it a bitter taste. The leaf spots eventually turn velvety and white and lead to early defoliation, and the spotted fruit is not fit for sale. Continue reading

APHIS Posts New Pale Cyst Nematode (PCN) Eradication Program Report

APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Pale Cyst Nematode (PCN) Eradication Program in Idaho has posted its 2017 fourth quarter report (October 1 – December 31). The report updates program activities and eradication progress, and provides quarterly and aggregate regulatory, survey and laboratory data.

The PCN Eradication Program is a cooperative effort among PPQ, Idaho State Department of Agriculture, and industry stakeholders. The program’s goal is to control PCN spread, and eventually establish Idaho as PCN-free. Continue reading

Planting time for spring gardens is around the corner, so prep now

Spring gardens may not be as soon for the northern states in the southern region, but the recommendations in this article are applicable to all gardeners.

by Adam Russell, Texas AgriLife

The time is now for East Texas vegetable gardeners to make preparations for planting early varieties and spring garden staples, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Gardeners have some cool-season vegetables planted already and are soon preparing to plant early vegetable varieties, such as onions, said Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension small-acreage vegetable specialist, Overton.  Continue reading