Professor/Farmer Named Director of SWREC

Jim Rogers General

Michael Burton practices what he preaches. That quality makes him an ideal selection for the director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC), effective July 1. Burton spends the academic year teaching and conducting research in agronomy at Missouri State University. In the summer, he runs the family …

Options Available for Management of Gummy Stem Blight

Jim Rogers Disease, Watermelon

Gummy stem blight disease pressure has been light so far this season in North Florida watermelons. That trend may soon be changing, however. Bob Hochmuth, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Regional Specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida, confirmed this week that gummy stem blight disease is beginning to become a problem for Florida watermelons. …

UF/IFAS Strawberry Specialist: Lack of Neopestalotiopsis a Blessing for Producers

Jim Rogers Disease, Research, Strawberry

By Clint Thompson A drier year meant a good production season for Florida strawberries regarding a lack of diseases. A state known for its high-quality strawberry crop was ravaged in prior seasons because of neopestalotiopsis fruit rot disease. But rainy seasons exacerbated the problem. This year’s dry weather led to minimal disease impact, said Vance Whitaker, University of Florida Institute …

Watermelon Production: Preventative Sprays Needed for Rindworms

Jim Rogers Pests, Watermelon

By Clint Thompson North Florida watermelon producers should be applying insecticides on a preventative basis when targeting rindworms. Bob Hochmuth, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Regional Specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida, advises growers that an economical program consists of adding a Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) spray now and continue weekly until pest pressure gets …

Strawberry Growers Could Benefit From UF/IFAS Research into Powdery Mildew

Jim Rogers Disease, Research, Strawberry

Strawberry farmers worldwide may get help from new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) research that shows a way to battle one of the fruit’s fiercest foes. The key: combine genomic data with phenomics. The genome amounts to all the DNA in an organism. Phenomics is the study of plant growth, performance and composition. Through phenomics, …

Florida’s Blueberry Production: May Management Tips

Jim Rogers Berries, Florida

Harvests may be nearing an end for Florida’s blueberry producers, but management should continue during May. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) recommends that growers monitor for leaf diseases like rust, anthracnose, Septoria, target spot and Phyllosticta. Florida’s blueberry producers should continue with insecticide sprays for spotted wing drosophila to protect against any remaining ripe fruit …

ABT Impact Minimal This Season

Jim Rogers Pests

By Clint Thompson What was once a destructive pest of snap beans in South Florida during the 2019-20 season, Asian bean thrips’ (ABT) impact this season was almost non-existent. Now it is the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ responsibility to figure out why, says Anna Meszaros, Extension commercial horticulture agent in West Palm Beach. “At the …

Blackberry Field Day: Attendees Can Tour Orchard at UF/IFAS on May 25

Jim Rogers Berries, Florida

Florida specialty crop farmers interested in producing blackberries can attend the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) blackberry field day at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC). UF/IFAS faculty from Gainesville and from the center — along with a scientist from the University of Arkansas — will present updated findings at the meeting, from …