UF/IFAS Extension Agent: We Need to Manage Fertilizer More Efficiently

Jim Rogers Watermelon

By Clint Thompson North Florida watermelon producers should be wary about the dangers of applying too much water. It can result in leeching of nitrogen in their sandy soils. Producers who apply too much water not only lose the excess water, but they also lose the fertilizer and then yields. Mark Warren, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural …

Input Costs Remain Concern of Watermelon Growers

Jim Rogers Watermelon

By Clint Thompson Watermelon growers in the Suwanee Valley Region are gearing up for the upcoming season. Their main challenge to a successful season is the obstacle that concerned them all of last year – high input costs. It is a subject that Bob Hochmuth, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Regional Specialized Extension agent in …

Watermelon Institute’s Annual Meeting Educates Producers Ahead of Season

Jim Rogers Watermelon

By Clint Thompson The Suwanee Valley Watermelon Institute’s annual meeting in Fanning Springs, Florida on Thursday came at just the right time for the region’s producers. They are about a month away from breaking ground for next year’s crop. The meeting allowed them the opportunity to learn about the latest research at the University of Florida Institute of Food and …

Melon Producers Plan Early to Protect Against Gummy Stem Blight

Clint Thompson Watermelon

It is never too early for watermelon producers in the Southeast to start thinking about management options for gummy stem blight disease. As Clemson Extension vegetable pathologist Tony Keinath puts it, “Early is on time.” He reminded growers in The South Carolina Grower that they should allow time to purchase the right fungicides in case of potential shortages. What Worked? …

MELCAST System Could Help Watermelon Producers Reduce Fungicide Sprays

Jim Rogers Watermelon

By Clint Thompson Imagine a system in place that would aid watermelon growers in knowing when to apply fungicide sprays for management of foliar diseases. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is conducting research to verify the effectiveness of one such system. Mathews Paret, UF/IFAS associate professor of plant pathology, discussed MELCAST, a spray advisory …

Artificial Intelligence: Helps Detect Watermelon Disease Quickly, Accurately

Jim Rogers Research, Technology, Watermelon

The needs of Florida watermelon producers motivate Yiannis Ampatzidis to use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect pathogens early and accurately. One such disease, downy mildew, spreads like wildfire, said Ampatzidis, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering. In newly published research, Ampatzidis used spectral reflectance —  the energy a …

North Florida Watermelon Crop ‘Pretty Well Done’

Jim Rogers Florida, Watermelon, Weather

By Clint Thompson North Florida’s watermelon crop is “pretty well done,” according to Bob Hochmuth, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) regional specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida. The intense heat in recent weeks helped accelerate the crop’s harvest across the region. “I think we were on the way to winding down anyway but certainly …

close up shot of watermelons

Watermelon Producer: It’s Been a Downhill Slide

Jim Rogers Watermelon

By Clint Thompson Various factors have contributed to a difficult watermelon season for Southeast producers. But it has been a challenge, says Carr Hussey, a watermelon farmer in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and chairman of the board of the Florida Watermelon Association (FWA). “From the beginning it’s been a downhill slide. These guys are actually probably selling stuff below production …