Despite potential for disease, Georgia’s grape industry is thriving

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Georgia’s grape industry, once dormant, is now thriving, according to Phillip Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit plant pathologist. Growing potential for prosperity in the wine industry will require that farmers stay vigilant about certain diseases, like Pierce’s disease, that could negatively impact production.

“Pierce’s disease is the major disease to limit European grapes in Georgia. It is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted by numerous sharpshooter insects, such as the glassy-winged sharpshooter. It clogs the grape xylem, cutting off nutrient and water flow,” Brannen said. Continue reading

Southern IPM Coordinators release their pest management priorities for 2017

IPM Coordinators in the Southern Region updated a list of the major insect pest, disease and weed issues that researchers and extension specialists should try to address in the coming year. During their annual meeting on March 15 at the Southeastern Branch Entomological Society of America meeting, IPM Coordinators reviewed the current Southern Region priorities while sharing some of the challenges in their state.

The coordinators belong to a regional committee called the Southern Extension and Research Activities (SERA) 003. Each major region of the country—south, northeast, north central and west—has a similar regional committee. Continue reading

Variety screening identifies potatoes with resistance to zebra chip disease

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

The Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathology team in Amarillo intentionally infected potato plants with psyllids positive with the bacterium that causes zebra chip, a deadly disease plaguing the potato industry for the past 15 years.

The outcome is some promising germplasm that will help in the battle against the costly disease, said Dr. Charlie Rush, plant pathologist. Continue reading

New spray guide helps watermelon producers with fungicide decisions

In Southeast Farm Press

South Carolina watermelon producers now have information they need to make their 2017 crops more profitable with the release of the updated Watermelon Spray Guide for 2017, which includes updated recommendations for battling blight.

Released by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, this guide provides growers with a look at some major diseases of watermelon leaves in the southeastern United States as well as a step-by-step guide to spraying. Continue reading

AgriLife Research cotton pathologist pursues a mystery

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Dr. Terry Wheeler and her colleagues are embroiled in a mystery.

Wheeler, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathologist at Lubbock, and her cohorts Dr. Jason Woodward, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist at Lubbock, and Dr. Tom Isakeit, AgriLife Extension plant pathologist, College Station, have been getting calls from cotton growers across the Southern Rolling Plains and High Plains about a problem thought to have been resolved 40 years ago. Continue reading

Spotting and managing target spot

To hear first-hand from an expert about how to manage target spot and some results of research to help, tune in next Monday afternoon at 3 PM for Dr. Austin Hagan’s webinar on target spot. Click here to register.

From an article by Tyson Raper, University of Tennessee, in Cotton Grower

As the cotton specialist for the state of Tennessee, I am constantly on the lookout for potential issues that may impact Mid-South cotton production. Over the past several years, I have occasionally observed several “target spots,” or Corynespora leaf spots, on the lower leaves of rank cotton plants. Although the number of spots and number of affected leaves are typically low, many growers have asked if the disease might be able to cause the 200-400/lb lint per acre yield penalties reported along the Gulf coast. Continue reading

Tune in February 27 to learn how to manage target spot

In a webinar on Monday, February 27, at 3 PM Eastern, Austin Hagan, professor and extension plant pathologist at Auburn University, will discuss ways to recognize target spot in your field as well as management techniques to lower the risk.

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. Continue reading