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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS study helps researchers better estimate citrus crop yields

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Citrus crop-yield estimates may be more accurate, thus ensuring higher productivity and more revenue, if an algorithm proves as successful as it did in a recent University of Florida study.

Wonsuk “Daniel” Lee’s study, published in the January issue of the journal Biosystems Engineering, could eventually help Florida’s $9 billion-a-year citrus industry.

Lee, a UF agricultural and biological engineering professor, used an algorithm to find immature citrus in photos taken under different light conditions and fruit that was hidden by leaves and branches. He and his colleagues found 80 percent of the immature fruit.

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UF/IFAS researcher co-authors beetle book

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Forestry, Pests

Xyleborini New Guinea

Cutline at bottom

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Pesky beetles sit, ready to pounce on their unwitting prey: trees around the world, which sustain billions of dollars in damage because of the armored insects, says a University of Florida scientist, who has co-written a book about beetles native to Papua New Guinea.

Thousands of beetle species make their home in Papua New Guinea, a small island off the northern coast of Australia, but only two or three travel to other parts of the globe, said Jiri Hulcr, a UF assistant professor of forest entomology. First, they have to be exported, something humans do by accident, said Hulcr, a member of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ faculty.

“We put them in habitats where they shouldn’t be,” he said, by exporting wood or using it to send ship cargo. “It’s not as though these beetles have evolved as killing species. They have evolved in their native habitat.”

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UF/IFAS researcher wins $300,000 grant to further citrus greening research

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida researcher who helped develop a mathematical model to show how citrus greening spreads within infected trees has received a $300,000 grant from the Esther B. O’Keeffe Foundation to expand the model.

Ariena van Bruggen, a UF plant pathology professor, received the award so she can study the best strategies to combat citrus greening from tree to tree. There is no cure for citrus greening, but methods being used to slow the disease include removal of symptomatic trees, insect control and attempts to boost the tree’s immune system, van Bruggen said.

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UF/IFAS: ‘Perfect storm’ needed for salmonella to spread in post-harvest tomatoes

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, Safety

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have gained new insight into produce-associated salmonella that they hope will eventually reduce the number and severity of the illness-causing outbreaks.

Tomato variety and weather can combine to make what the researchers call a “perfect storm” for salmonella to proliferate in harvested tomatoes, a new study shows.

It remains unclear how much each contributes to salmonella’s spread, but scientists say understanding the process is key to eventually curbing produce-associated outbreaks.

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UF/IFAS researcher to use $500,000 grant to try to make peanuts more drought-resistant

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida researcher plans to use a $500,000 federal grant to study ways to make peanuts more drought tolerant.

Diane Rowland, an associate professor of agronomy and faculty member in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, won the four-year grant in November from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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UF develops first high-altitude device to help detect health threats from the sky

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Environment, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, Research, Weather

DartTestFlight017

Click here for high-resolution version. Caption at bottom.

African dust video

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida researcher is exploring whether the latest plant, animal or human health threats will come from the sky.

Using the first ever high-altitude sampling device designed to collect microorganisms from the upper atmosphere, Andrew Schuerger, an aerobiologist with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will examine the massive dust clouds that roll into Florida from Africa each year.

The maiden flight of the device, known as Dust at Altitude Recovery Technology or DART, was flown on an F-104 Starfighter jet Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

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Grants to help UF researchers grow pine trees faster, produce more energy

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Forestry

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida researchers will use $1.45 million in federal grants to develop trait-prediction models and accelerate the growth of loblolly pine trees to produce more bioenergy.

In his grant application, UF associate professor Matias Kirst, the principal investigator for the study, said Southern pines can be used as renewable biomass for bioenergy and renewable chemicals. However, for pines to meet their potential as a bioenergy crop, researchers must develop more productive cultivars that can be efficiently converted into liquid fuels, said Kirst, who teaches in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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UF/IFAS team awarded strawberry sustainability grant

Topic(s): Crops

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nearly all of the strawberries in the United States are grown in Florida or California, but faced with growing competition in the industry from Mexico, a team of UF researchers is looking for ways to diversify the industry.

Led by horticultural sciences professor Carlene Chase, the team hopes to develop new organic and sustainable methods of growing strawberries in the southeastern United States. Hers is one of two UF teams awarded grants by the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative, a program funded by the Walmart Foundation and administered by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability.

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Florida weather network adds three stations

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, New Technology, Weather

FAWN

GAINESVILLE — The Florida Automated Weather Network is bigger than ever, with three new sites added this year.

Stations added since April are in Citrus, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties, said Rick Lusher, manager of the network at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

That makes 41 stations now in the network, built in 1998 to give the state’s agricultural producers the most current weather information possible.

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UF researchers identify citrus cultivars that show promise in battle against greening

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, RECs, Research

Click above for video about citrus breeding and citrus greening research.

citrus root stocks

Click here for photo. Caption at bottom.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have some encouraging results in the battle against citrus greening.

They have identified citrus cultivars, in this case 16 citrus rootstocks, most of which show a lower rate of infection and more tolerance to citrus greening – the dreaded disease that has wreaked havoc through Florida’s citrus industry since its arrival in the state in 2005.

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