University of Florida

Ag and Gardening Day set for UF Homecoming on Nov. 7

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Lawn & Garden, Research

University of Florida Stadium. UF/IFAS photo: Marisol Amador

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — This year, anyone involved in gardening or agriculture and gardening-related industries and education can “come home” to Gainesville as the University of Florida introduces Agriculture and Gardening Day for Homecoming weekend.

UF Athletics and UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are hosting the event that revolves around the game between the Gators and the Vanderbilt Commodores, which kicks off at noon, Nov. 7.

“Florida’s agricultural, gardening and related food industries add $140 billion to our economy and employ nearly 300,000 people,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “The industry is second only to tourism in Florida, and this is a great way to honor and recognize those who work so hard to put food on our tables and plants and flowers in our yards. We welcome back to Gainesville those who make agriculture and gardening part of their daily lives, and we look forward to their camaraderie.”

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UF/IFAS researcher discovers new species of fungi

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

Cladophialophora floridana

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The next time you take a stroll through the woods here in Gainesville, you might want to look down – you could be walking on an undiscovered species of fungus.

University of Florida post-doctoral researcher Keisuke Obase did just that recently, finding the newly named Cladophialophora floridana, in honor of the state, at Split Rock Conservation Area and C. tortuosa at Bivens Arm Nature Park.  The discoveries have been accepted for publication in the journal Mycoscience. (more …)

UF researcher: Rarest bat in the world lives in South Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, RECs, Research

Holly Ober

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Halloween comes around once a year, but for Holly Ober, a researcher with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, an interest in a bat found nowhere else in the world but South Florida is a year-round opportunity to study the unique mammal.

The Florida Bonneted bat, one of the rarest species in the world, nestles in tree cavities, palms, and buildings in only a few counties in the state. The largest bat in Florida, its ears point forward over its eyes, and its fur ranges in color from brown to gray, said Ober, associate professor in the Department Wildlife Ecology Conservation, who works out of the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy.

“The Florida Bonneted bat was listed as federally endangered in 2013 and since then interest has grown considerably,” Ober said. “We don’t even know the exact geographic distribution or what type of habitat the bat occurs in. We do know this bat can only be found in south Florida.”

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Two UF/IFAS doctoral grads start genetics company

Topic(s): Announcements, Environment, Forestry, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, New Technology, Research

RAPiD Genomics 101615 - Leandro Neves

Leandro Neves

RAPiD Genomics 101615 Marcio Resende

Marcio Resende

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two former doctoral students from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are running a genetics startup company in Gainesville and recently were recognized by Gov. Rick Scott as “Young Entrepreneurs.”

Marcio Resende said he came up with the idea for RAPiD Genomics while in Brazil due to a demand from a forestry company that needed someone to do some genotyping for them. Several factors, including costs, kept him from pursuing the notion.

But when he came to the United States to pursue his doctorate, he started talking to Leandro Gomide Neves, a fellow doctoral student, and Matias Kirst, a professor of forest genomics at UF/IFAS. They decided to open RAPiD Genomics. At the same time, they teamed up with some colleagues to invent a genotyping method, which gave them extra motivation to pursue the idea of opening a business.

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UF/IFAS-developed app saves significant water and money

Topic(s): Conservation, Economics, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Lawn & Garden, New Technology, RECs, Research, Weather

In this photo released from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, extension agent Janet Bargar checks the water flow and direction of a pop-up irrigation system at a home in Vero Beach – Friday, May 25, 2007. Bargar, a water quality expert, suggests residents check with their county extension office about local watering restrictions. She says the ideal time to water is before sunrise and that residents should check irrigation systems regularly to be sure they’re working properly and not watering the sidewalk.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — An app developed by scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences may save homeowners about 30 percent on water usage, which translates into lower utility bills, new research shows.

Kati Migliaccio, the lead designer of the irrigation app, led a study at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida. Through their research, scientists found the app saved 42 percent to 57 percent of the water used with time-scheduled irrigation.

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UF/IFAS Gulf Coast REC, Florida Ag Expo to celebrate milestone anniversaries

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

Front entrance of the University of Florida/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida.  UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When growers, Extension agents and scientists gather for the Nov. 4 Florida Ag Expo in Balm, Florida, they’ll celebrate two anniversaries: the 90th year of the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center and the 10th year of the expo.

The Gulf Coast REC serves as an invaluable tool to growers and grower groups, said Tony DiMare, vice president of the DiMare Company and former chairman of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, among other groups. He’s currently chairman of the Florida Tomato Committee.

“Because of the subtropical climate in Florida, which we grow in, and the continual introduction of new pests and diseases, we continue to face many challenges as growers that jeopardize the sustainability of our business and industry,” DiMare said. “Without the research to help identify new pests and diseases, and without furthering the work on the existing problems to help find solutions to minimize or eliminate the issues, we would not be able to stay competitive and survive.

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Ona White Angus Field Day set for Oct. 22

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

Ona White Angus 070615

Please see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Get ready to see the latest on a new breed of cattle, courtesy of research by scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

UF/IFAS scientists and administrators will host the field day Oct. 22. Activities will start at 8 a.m. at the Turner Agri-Civic Center, 2250 NE Roan St. in Arcadia and finish after lunch at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona.

“This Field Day will highlight topics related to the impacts of heat stress on beef cow/calf production – an important subject for Florida beef producers,” said John Arthington, director of the Range Cattle REC.

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UF/IFAS researchers seek ways to keep pathogens, pests from traveling with grain

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Finances, Food Safety, IFAS, Pests, Research

Beef cattle grazing in front of a grain silo at the Range Cattle REC in Ona, Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member says new research can help grain handlers and grain inspectors find key locations for pathogens and pests along rail routes in the United States and Australia.

In a new analysis in the journal BioScience, UF/IFAS researchers evaluated how wheat moved along rail networks in the United States and Australia. Through their analysis, researchers identified U.S. states that are particularly important for sampling and managing insect and fungal problems as they move through the networks, said Karen Garrett, a UF/IFAS plant pathology professor and senior author of the study.

“The movement of pests and pathogens can be especially important when there are quarantines against the movement of particular species, or when pesticide-resistant insects invade new areas and make management more difficult,” said Garrett, who began work earlier this year in the UF/IFAS Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS).

“This innovative research to understand how effectively the world’s food networks function and how they can be improved addresses one of our core missions for ISFS,” said Jim Anderson, professor of food and resource economics at UF/IFAS, director of the ISFS. “This work can have real impact.”

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UF/IFAS researchers earn $11M in federal grants to study specialty crops

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Economics, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers will work to improve avocado production, develop turfgrass with improved drought responses and combat a bacterial disease riddling tomatoes, working with $11 million in recently awarded federal grants.

The grants were announced Oct. 5 by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Randy Ploetz, a plant pathology professor at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida, will use $3.4 million to study how to stem the impact of laurel wilt on avocados. Kevin Kenworthy, an associate professor of agronomy, received $4.4 million to study drought resistance in certain turf grasses, and Gary Vallad, an associate professor of plant pathology at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida, will use $3.4 million to improve the management of a bacterial disease that plagues tomato production.

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New UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key to expand opportunities

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Extension, IFAS, Research

cedar key

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jack Payne, University of Florida senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, has a vision for Florida’s Nature Coast region: to support and expand the world-class research conducted by UF scientists while supporting the communities and helping to conserve the region’s rich resources.

With that in mind, the UF Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences has created the Nature Coast Biological Station, to be housed in Cedar Key. The station is a site to help enhance conservation and improve management of natural resources up and down the Gulf Coast — from Hernando to Wakulla County, Payne said.

“UF/IFAS has had a longtime presence in Cedar Key and has a history of doing important work in these communities,” Payne said. “We helped establish the clam industry, and now, 70 percent of clams sold in the state come from that region.”

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