University of Florida

UF team receives $500,000 grant to fight hydrilla

Topic(s): Environment, Invasive Species

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A $512,000 grant will help University of Florida faculty test a new triple-threat approach to controlling hydrilla, the state’s most troublesome invasive aquatic weed.

The grant was awarded to UF in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said entomologist Jim Cuda, an associate professor with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences who leads the team of research and extension faculty.

New approaches to hydrilla control are needed, he said, because in some parts of the state the weed has become resistant to the herbicide fluridone, the most popular chemical control agent.

“The resistant hydrilla will probably move out of Florida,” Cuda said. “So this research doesn’t just concern Florida.”

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Florida’s citrus industry could benefit from soil analysis concepts developing at UF

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, New Technology

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Many of Florida’s natural conditions are perfect for growing citrus. One that’s imperfect is the state’s patchwork variety of soil types, and University of Florida researchers say the situation comes with a price tag for growers and consumers.

If the soil’s nutrient content or water-holding capacity differs from place to place, it can mean lower fruit yields, lower producer profits and higher consumer prices for fresh citrus and citrus juice, said Arnold Schumann, an associate professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Soil Science.

Citrus groves are typically managed as if the soil were uniform. Consequently, areas with poorer-than-average soil may end up deprived of nutrients or irrigation, reducing the grove’s potential yield by 10 to 50 percent, he said.

“Almost every grove has some problems with soil variability,” said Schumann, at UF’s Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

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Southeast Climate Consortium wins $4 million grant, UF to benefit

Topic(s): Environment, IFAS, Research, Weather

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The multistate Southeast Climate Consortium has been awarded a five-year, $4 million grant that will fund climate research and outreach at the University of Florida and other institutions.

The grant is part of a $23.6 million package awarded to six regional centers by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, through its Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments, or RISA, initiative.

The consortium’s work focuses mostly on the effects of climate on agriculture and water resources, said Jim Jones, the principal investigator and a distinguished professor of agricultural and biological engineering with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“These funds will enable us to study climate variability and climate change over all time scales,” he said. “People often want forecasts for the next one to nine months and climate outlooks for the next 10 to 20 years and longer. They want to know how to plan for their agricultural and water management operations and decisions.”

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