IFAS News

University of Florida

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 …)

Florida consumers prefer “Fresh from Florida” plants

Topic(s): Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, RECs, Research

 

Various Fresh from Florida labeling upon orange juice and citrus containers.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumers prefer plants with the “Fresh from Florida” label, according to a new survey by a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences economist.

In the survey, summarized in a UF/IFAS Extension document, 83 percent of respondents recalled noticing the “Fresh from Florida” logos on plants in retail garden centers. To be designated as “Fresh from Florida,” 51 per cent of the product must originate in the Sunshine State, according to Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services guidelines.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has partnered with the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association to include horticulture plants in the state’s “Fresh from Florida” campaign.

Hayk Khachatryan, an assistant professor of food and resource economics at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida, co-authored the document with his post-doctoral research associate, Alicia Rihn. As part of a larger study, they wrote the document after surveying 301 Florida horticultural plant consumers in June and July 2014 in Orlando and Gainesville.

(more …)

EVENT CANCELLED – UF/IFAS hosting FDA educational seminar on Food Safety Modernization Act rules – EVENT CANCELLED!

Topic(s): Agriculture, IFAS, RECs, Safety

Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and onions in a fresh salad. Food, vegetables, healthy eating. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is holding one of only five national educational seminars on the Food and Drug Administration’s new final food safety rules. The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act covers produce safety, preventive controls for human and animal food and foreign supplier verification.

The seminar, which provides an opportunity for the industry and public to give input before the guidance documents are issued, is free and open to the public.

The seminar is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2016, from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Everglades Research and Education Center, 3200 E. Palm Beach Road, Belle Glade, Florida. Lunch will be served to those who have pre-registered for the event. (more …)

Two key factors control phosphorus movement from soil to groundwater

Topic(s): Agriculture, Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pollution, RECs, Research

 

Gurpal Toor working in his lab at the Gulf Coast REC in Balm Florida.  UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New insights into how phosphorus leaches into groundwater could help reduce its potential impact on water and the environment, a UF/IFAS scientist says.

Phosphorus poses an environmental threat when it travels from soils to open water bodies, including lakes, streams and rivers. When too much phosphorus is applied to soils, the ground cannot hold all of the chemical, said Gurpal Toor, an associate professor of soil and water science at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida. As a result, phosphorus leaches out and migrates to water bodies, lowering water quality and leading to algal blooms. Such blooms can choke off oxygen to fish and underwater plants.

(more …)

Florida Bull Test sale set for Jan. 16 at the UF/IFAS North Florida REC

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS, Livestock, RECs

Florida Bull Test Sale 010616

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Marianna, Fla. – A Jan. 16, 2016 sale will conclude the annual Florida Bull Test at the UF/IFAS Northeast Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida.

Only bulls meeting specific benchmarks are eligible for the sale. In addition, bulls are inspected for structural soundness and disposition and must pass a breeding soundness exam to qualify for the sale. Additional information, such as actual performance data, expected progeny differences (EPDs), and carcass ultrasound data is available for bull buyers to aid in the selection of excellent quality bulls to purchase.

Internet bidding will be available at the sale. Potential buyers will need to preregister on the Cattle in Motion, LLC website (http://www.cattleinmotion.com/ ) before the sale.

For more information on the Florida Bull Test, visit http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/florida-bull-test/, or call 850-526-1621. Catalogs for the sale are available by request.

(more …)

Father-daughter duo team up for citrus research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Families and Consumers, IFAS, RECs, Research

Jude and Melinda Grosser at his laboratory at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Fla.

LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — When Jude Grosser’s daughter, Melinda, was in elementary school, he would often take her to his laboratory at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, where he works as a researcher on citrus diseases and creating new varieties.  In the lab, he let Melinda look at fluorescent proteins from jellyfish, glowing in plant cells under the microscope, and even grow microorganisms in her petri dish handprint.  Now, the 26-year-old is set to get her Ph.D. in molecular microbiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the spring and still finds herself working with her dad.

The pair recently co-authored a research paper on new grapefruit cybrids, developed when the nuclear genes from a ”Ruby Red” grapefruit were combined  with  genes from within a cell’s cytoplasm (the jellylike material that makes up much of a cell) from a “Dancy” mandarin. The change increased the harvest window of the new grapefruits by three months.  This resulted in the commercial release of a new UF/IFAS grapefruit cultivar N2-28 ‘Summer Gold Grapefruit’ that can be harvested into August.  Melinda was working as an undergraduate Howard Hughes Medical Institute “Science for Life” student in the laboratory of UF Department of Horticultural Sciences Professor Christine Chase in Gainesville for her contribution to the project. (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 …)

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