IFAS News

University of Florida

Reeling from citrus greening, UF/IFAS researchers support new olive industry in Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, Research

Extension

DELEON SPRINGS, Fla. – Richard Williams unfurls his long, sturdy frame from a tractor and begins a stroll through 20 acres of olive groves at his farm in Volusia County, Florida. His in-laws, the Ford/Veech family, has spent six generations farming in Florida, and has a more than 50-year-old citrus grove.

Williams checks the leaf structure to see which of the 11,160 olive trees are giving fruit. He has a lot riding on the Florida Olive Systems, Inc., project that is being funded by the Ford/Veech family.

“Planting olives is not for the faint of heart by any stretch of the imagination. This is so new that we are learning every day,” said Williams, whose wife Lisa helps run Florida Olive Systems, Inc. “But it’s a new opportunity to reinvent ourselves after catastrophic losses to citrus greening.”

(more …)

UF/IFAS researchers find shallow flooding reduces a major rice pest

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Crops, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

rice plants

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — University of Florida scientists at the Everglades Research and Education Center have found an important way to control the destructive rice water weevil, one of the major pests in rice production.

UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Ron Cherry and his team discovered that shallow flooding of rice fields can help reduce rice water weevil populations during Florida’s growing season, between April and September. Previous studies of the effect of flood depth on the pest have been inconsistent. (more …)

Davis appointed associate dean for UF/IFAS research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Citrus, Crops

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — John Davis, professor and associate director of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has been named associate dean for UF/IFAS research.

“Dr. Davis is an excellent researcher and teacher, and knows UF/IFAS very well. He has assisted this office for many years in a variety of roles, and understands how to support faculty in this important position,” said Jackie Burns, dean for UF/IFAS research. “We are thrilled to have Dr. Davis join our team.”

Davis earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics / Forestry from Michigan State University in 1989, and joined UF/IFAS after a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. He now specializes in genomics of ecologically important species and their interactions, with a majority research appointment in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation in UF/IFAS.

(more …)

Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame adds 4 new inductees on Feb. 9

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Extension, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Livestock

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame is honoring four new inductees in Tampa on Feb. 9 who have ties to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame honors men and women who have made lasting contributions to agriculture in this state and to the mentoring of youth, who represent the future of agriculture in Florida. All four inductees have played major and vital roles in mentoring young people through Extension, 4-H, at UF or on their ranch. The 2016 Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees are: (more …)

UF/IFAS study shows 10-day weather forecasts can increase farmers’ profits

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, IFAS, Research, Weather

Citra farm, University of Florida/IFAS Research and Education Center, wheat, tilling soil, disking, tractor, field. UF/IFAS Photo: Josh Wickham.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new University of Florida-led study shows how Australian wheat farmers can use hypothetical 10-day weather forecasts to increase their annual profits by hundreds of thousands of dollars, a finding that can be applied to other parts of the globe.

Scientists now want to know how a real – meaning, imperfect – 10-day weather forecast will affect farmers’ decisions on when to plant and fertilize, said Senthold Asseng, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. They may apply their new findings on a fresh study that would predict crop yield based on 10-day forecasts in the United States.

“U.S. farmers make decisions based on anticipated growing conditions, including rainfall and temperature,” said Asseng, who led the study. “So I think it would be very useful to develop a project with farmers to explore if they could make more money or be more sustainable when considering a short-term forecast in their decision making. If so, real forecasts need to be analyzed and combined with farmers’ decisions.”

(more …)

UF/IFAS study: Mite might control pest that attacks Florida’s $125 million-a-year cucumber crop

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

IFAS Extention faculty are working to increase food safety. By following food safety guidelines, farmers and packing facilities are improving their processes, but consumers must be aware of how to select, store and serve fresh produce in order to minimize their risk of contracting food-borne illnesses. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A predatory mite might feed on a pest of cucumbers, a $125 million-a-year crop in Florida, newly published University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research shows.

This finding may help growers protect the environment because they could reduce pesticides to keep the pest – known as thrips — at bay. Growers may also save money because they may cut chemical use on their crop. In fact, because this thrips preys on many vegetable crops, the finding could save millions of dollars in pesticide use.

Armed with new data, it’s important for growers to use the mite to mitigate the pest, UF/IFAS researchers said.

“It will take some time for growers to be trained to use biological control agents in the field for maximum benefits,” said Garima Kakkar, who spearheaded the study as part of her master’s thesis when she was a graduate student at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.

(more …)

UF/IFAS hosting Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference in January

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Crops, Economics, Environment, IFAS, RECs, Safety

A man checks fertilizer levels on a tractor on a farm. Farm equipment, fertilization, agriculture, food crops. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

APOPKA, Fla. — Florida agriculture and food industries are among the largest economic contributors in the state. Agricultural producers manage 9.5 million acres, growing more than 300 commodities, including everything from citrus and cows to peanuts and potatoes. Agricultural products are shipped to national and international markets.

On January 28, some of the state’s top agriculture thinkers will gather at the University of Florida’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka for the Florida Agricultural Policy Outlook Conference scheduled for 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Cost is $50 and includes a catered lunch. The event is organized by the UF Food and Resource Economics Department, under the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (more …)

UF CALS student, faculty study cost-savings for blueberry cold protection measures

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Crops, Economics, Extension, IFAS, Research, Weather

Cold Blueberry protection (2) 120815

Jeff Williamson, professor of horticultural sciences at the University of Florida in Gainesville, checks a blueberry crop for freeze damage, Thursday FEB-28, 2002. He said the 50-acre crop was protected from the late winter freeze by sprinklers that put a coating of ice on plants, thereby insulating them against temperatures ranging from the high teens to the low 20's around the region on Thursday morning.

See caption for both photos below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For Tori Bradley, learning about cold weather may turn into cold hard cash for Florida blueberry growers.

Bradley, a University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences graduate student, interned with faculty to develop cold-weather protection strategies so blueberry growers can save money.

As part of her UF/IFAS Research internship, Bradley studied the economic advantages for growers who use precision cold protection, according to a new UF/IFAS Extension document, http://bit.ly/1N5A9gc. Bradley studied the differences between precision cold protection and uniform cold protection. Blueberries bloom in late winter or early spring in Florida, making them susceptible to frosts. For uniform strategy, growers start frost protection irrigation when the temperature hovers between 31 and 35 degrees.

By using the precision method, growers can save an average of $44 per acre per season on irrigation pumping costs, depending on their location in Florida, according to Bradley and her faculty mentors.

(more …)

UF/IFAS global plant disease expert named national science fellow

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Pests, Research

Frank White AAAS 120415

Frank White

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences global authority on the genetic basis of plant disease resistance has been named a Fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Frank White, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, was named a Fellow last month.

“It is an honor to be recognized by your fellow scientists,” White said. “I was very pleased when notified. Of course, much credit goes to the many outstanding young scientists who worked in my group and numerous excellent mentors and collaborators during my career.”

(more …)

Irrigation method saves 50 percent of water needed for potato growth

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Crops, Economics, IFAS, Research, Weather

 

 

 

Citra, Pivot irrigation watering fields. UF/IFAS Photo: Josh Wickham

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have found an irrigation method that uses 50 percent less water than traditional systems to grow potatoes – an important finding for the $131 million-a-year Florida crop.

The system is called “hybrid center pivot irrigation.” With this method, about two-thirds of the water used to help grow potatoes is sprayed from above ground, similar to natural rainfall, and about one-third comes from under the ground – a traditional method known as “seepage irrigation.”

UF/IFAS Assistant Professor Guodong “David” Liu led a group of UF/IFAS researchers in testing the impact of hybrid center pivot irrigation on soil moisture and temperature at a Manatee County, Florida potato farm.

The method saved about 55 percent of water in a three-year trial at the farm. Additionally, researchers found no loss in crop yield using less water. Liu said he now is convincing growers to use center pivot irrigation with fertigation, in which all the water comes from above-ground sprinklers. Scientists say they may save one third more water.

(more …)

Back to Top