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UF/IFAS study: Strawberry monitoring system could add $1.7 million over 10 years to some farms

Topic(s): Crops, Economics, New Technology, Research

Natalia Peres strawberries

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida-developed web tool can bring growers $1.7 million more in net profits over 10 years than a calendar-based fungicide system because it guides growers to spray their crop at optimal times, a new UF study shows.

The Strawberry Advisory System, devised by an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher, takes data such as temperature and leaf wetness and tells growers when to spray fungicide to ward off diseases. Growers can use the system by logging onto www.agroclimate.org/tools/strawberry or use the website to sign up for email or text alerts.

Before the system was developed, strawberry farmers traditionally sprayed weekly during the November-to-March growing season. Spraying more often than is needed wastes money and can lead to fungicide resistance, said Natalia Peres, associate professor in plant pathology, who led the system’s development.

Not all strawberry growers use the system, but this research might persuade them to do so, said Tatiana Borisova, an assistant professor in UF/IFAS food and resource economics department.

(more …)

Online tool lets Florida producers, customers find each other

Topic(s): Economics, Families and Consumers, New Technology, Nutrition

From farm gate to dinner plate, consumers are looking for more local food options.  According to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture, industry estimates put local food sales at $7 billion in 2011, reflecting the market’s growing importance.

A revamped online tool, called Florida Food Connect, at www.floridafoodconnect.com, offers agricultural producers an easy-to-use way to reach new customers and offers consumers an easy way to find local growers of the freshest foods.

Florida Food Connect offers large and small producers and growers opportunities to diversify sales and build profitable relationships.

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UF/IFAS study: Model may help growers mitigate costly droughts

Topic(s): Crops, Economics, New Technology, Weather

ingram

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida-created model may help growers plant at optimal times and avoid crop-destroying drought, which can cost millions of dollars in a given year, according to one of the tool’s creators.

If growers know when their crops need the most water, they can plant accordingly, said Keith Ingram, an associate scientist in UF’s agricultural and biological engineering department, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Although forecasts indicate a drought’s likelihood, they aren’t perfect, Ingram said. But they can help a farmer decide whether to plant a crop earlier or later than usual so drought is less likely to occur when the crop is most sensitive to drought, Ingram said.

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UF/IFAS helps create genome database to aid fruit growers, scientists

Topic(s): Citrus, Crops, New Technology

GAINESVILLE, Fla. –Scientists and growers can use a new genome database developed in part by University of Florida researchers to help make fruit trees more disease- and pest-resistant and enhance crop quality.

Researchers who study citrus, rosaceae and vaccinium crops will be the primary users of the portal, said Mercy Olmstead, assistant professor of horticultural sciences at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, but agricultural producers will also reap the benefits.

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A better bedbug trap: Made from household items for about $1

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Household Pests, New Technology, Pests

Benjamin Hottel, a University of Florida doctoral student in entomology, left, and Phil Koehler, an urban entomology professor, demonstrate how to build a do-it-yourself bedbug trap. They created a method for building an inexpensive trap to help those who

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Bug-Trap

This graphic illustrates how you can make the bedbug interceptor trap.

Video available at: http://bit.ly/1vfXPrL.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The contraption seems so simple, yet so clever, like something The Professor might have concocted on “Gilligan’s Island.”

Researchers at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have devised a bedbug trap that can be built with household items. All you need are two disposable plastic containers, masking tape and glue, said Phil Koehler, UF/IFAS urban entomology professor. The traps catch and collect the bugs when they try to travel between people and the places where bedbugs hide, he said.

“This concept of trapping works for places where people sleep and need to be protected at those locations,” Koehler said.

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UF’s Unmanned Aviation Systems featured at the 2014 SUN ’n FUN International Fly-In & Expo

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Environment, IFAS, New Technology, Research
The University of Florida's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Program team launches its aircraft. It is used for recording imagery of natural resources-based subjects, including bird rookeries, alligator nests, manatee gatherings, crops, infrastructure and habitats.

See Photo Caption Below

LAKELAND, Fla. – While most people think of unmanned aircraft solely as military drones, a group University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers know from more than a decade of experience that the small aircraft are used to further science and engineering.

Thanks to an invitation from the Federal Aviation Administration, the University of Florida’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Program will be at this week’s 40th annual SUN ’n FUN Fly-In in Lakeland, the nation’s second-largest airshow, to discuss the UF program, its history, and its interdisciplinary design and research, (more …)

UF/IFAS web tool successfully measures farms’ water footprint

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Crops, New Technology

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A new University of Florida web-based tool worked well during its trial run to measure water consumption at farms in four Southern states, according to a study published this month.

The system measures the so-called “water footprint” of a farm. In the broader sense, water footprints account for the amount of water used to grow or create almost everything we eat, drink, wear or otherwise use.

Researchers at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences introduced their WaterFootprint tool in the March issue of the journal Agricultural Systems, after using it to calculate water consumption at farms in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Texas.

(more …)

UF/IFAS researchers’ work helps U.S. military deliver fresher MREs

Topic(s): Economics, IFAS, New Technology, Research

Jan. 15, 2014

Jeffrey Brecht, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and former UF Professor Jean Pierre Edmond hold up a Meal, Ready-To-Eat.

Jeffrey Brecht, left, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and former UF Professor Jean Pierre Edmond hold up a Meal, Ready-To-Eat.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida researcher Jeffrey Brecht is leading a team of scientists working to eliminate waste and streamline the process of distributing the U.S. Army’s legendary Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MREs).

In a five-year, $6.7 million study, Brecht, the director of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Research Center for Food Distribution and Retailing, and colleagues tested the longevity of MREs, along with First Strike Rations (FSRs) for front-line troops, including special forces.

“These rations were originally developed with a shelf life of three years for MREs and two years for FSRs – but at 80 degrees,” Brecht explained. “However, when they send them to the Middle East, they could be exposed to temperatures as high as 140 degrees, at which point the shelf life could be 4 weeks or less, instead of the three years.” (more …)

UF/IFAS researcher named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biofuels, IFAS, New Technology

Lonnie INgram

GAINESVILLE, Fla.— The National Academy of Inventors named as a Fellow this month Lonnie O. Ingram, a distinguished professor in the University of Florida’s microbiology and cell science department.

Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow were nominated by their peers and it is considered a high professional distinction. NAI members chose Ingram because he has “demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.”

“It’s an unexpected honor and I’m happy to be included among this group,” Ingram said Thursday. (more …)

UF/IFAS scientist’s work with Brazilian citrus greening genome could aid Florida industry

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, New Technology, Research
An Asian citrus psyllid feeds on a citrus tree, leaving the citrus greening bacteria. The bacteria will starve the tree of nutrients and eventually kill it.

An Asian citrus psyllid feeds on a citrus tree, leaving the citrus greening bacteria. The bacteria will starve the tree of nutrients and eventually kill it.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida researcher has mapped the DNA genome of a new strain of citrus greening that could further threaten Florida’s beleaguered $9 billion citrus industry. Knowing the genetic makeup of the various strains is critical to finding a cure.

Dean Gabriel, a plant bacteriology specialist with UF/IFAS, helped sequence and map the genome of the most prevalent form of the disease in Florida, and now he and colleagues have done the same for a new strain of the disease discovered in Brazil. (more …)

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