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 …

Extreme Heat Sweltering Watermelon Crop

Jim Rogers Watermelon, Weather

By Clint Thompson Extreme heat the past couple of weeks should lead to an early end for watermelon harvests across the Southeast. Especially with temperatures this week eclipsing 100 degrees Fahrenheit, watermelons ripen quicker, leading to fields being done earlier than expected. “Everything is based on growing degree days. We accumulate a lot more growing degree days when it’s 100 …

Heat Impact on Georgia Watermelons

Jim Rogers Georgia, Watermelon, Weather

By Clint Thompson High temperatures in Georgia the past couple of weeks should have a positive and negative impact on the state’s melon crops. Tim Coolong, associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discussed what growers experience when temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (F). “I think the quality of the fruit is going to …

North Florida Watermelon Update

Jim Rogers Watermelon

By Clint Thompson North Florida watermelon producers should carefully consider whether another round of fungicide applications is in their best interest, especially as harvest season nears an end for many. Bob Hochmuth, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Regional Specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida, said fields that are mostly free of disease may not …

close up photo of green watermelons

North Florida Watermelon Harvests Continuing

Jim Rogers Florida, Watermelon

By Clint Thompson Harvests of North Florida watermelons are in full swing across the Suwanee Valley. How long they are able to continue vary from farm to farm. Bob Hochmuth, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) regional specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida, discusses the outlook for how much longer the harvests will continue. “There’s …

Disease Update for North Florida Watermelons

Jim Rogers Disease, Florida, Watermelon

Gummy stem blight remains the main disease threat to North Florida’s watermelons, as harvests continue across the Suwannee Valley. The combination of increased rains and harvest equipment moving through the fields provides better potential for the disease to spread, says Bob Hochmuth, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) regional specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida, …