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University of Florida

Florida agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam to keynote Florida 4-H fundraiser

Topic(s): Uncategorized

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida 4-H Foundation will host a fundraising event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 11 to benefit the statewide UF/IFAS Extension Florida 4-H Youth Development Program.

The event, to be held at the University of Florida President’s House, will feature “Fresh From Florida” agricultural products and the opportunity to spend time with Florida’s 11th Commissioner of Agriculture and proud Florida 4-H alumnus, Adam Putnam. Putnam will be the featured speaker for the evening.

The Florida 4-H Club Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization which uses private donations to help expand and strengthen the UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program. For more information about the Foundation and Florida 4-H, please visit florida4h.org.

Tickets for the event are $300 per person or $500 per couple. For more information on this event, including sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ali Baker at 352-294-2906 or a.baker17@ufl.edu.



By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu


Source: Ali Baker, 352-294-2906; a.baker17@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS scientists: Keep your dogs out of warm lakes

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

Lake dog sickness (2) 082515

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida scientists warn against letting your dog swim in warm water bodies after they found several lakes with a pathogen that can make canines sick.

Animals, including dogs and horses, can contract pythiosis from swimming spores, said Erica Goss, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of plant pathology. About 10 cases of humans getting sick from this disease have also been reported in the U.S.

In addition to keeping their animals out of lakes, people should avoid ponds and other standing water that contains grass and aquatic vegetation, particularly in the hot months, Goss said.

“Lined ponds should be OK, because the pathogen is probably soil borne,” she said. “I believe that dogs who do not swim have also gotten it though, possibly from eating infested grass. Dogs that drink infested water can get intestinal infections.”

(more …)

UF/IFAS program highly successful in keeping phosphorus out of the Everglades

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Conservation, Crops, Environment, IFAS, Livestock, RECs

Wide angle scenic of Everglades National Park near Homestead, Florida.  Parks and recreation, Florida, river of grass.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A 20-year plan to dramatically reduce phosphorus levels of agricultural water entering the Florida Everglades is working, thanks to proper implementation of best management practices by growers, training by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and cooperation with state and federal agencies.

“It is a partnership that has worked,” said Samira Daroub, a professor of soil and water science at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade. “It is one of the success stories in the area and also in the country.” (more …)

UF/IFAS scientists warn of pharmaceutical peril for aquatic organisms in urban rivers

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pollution, RECs, Research, Safety


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — River beds in urban areas worldwide store pharmaceuticals, and University of Florida scientists warn they can pose a potential environmental danger to aquatic organisms.

UF/IFAS Post-Doctoral Researcher Yun-Ya Yang conducted a study along rural and urban areas of the Alafia River, which runs through parts of Hillsborough County and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. In her study, Yang collected sediment samples at several sites along the river and found 17 pharmaceuticals.

Yang found a lower amount of pharmaceuticals than in previous similar studies because river beds in Florida do not contain enough silt and clay, but they can still present an environmental concern.

These types of chemicals are not confined to the Alafia River or urban-area rivers in Florida, said Gurpal Toor, an associate professor in soil and water science, who supervised Yang’s study. The scientists say their findings are representative of urban rivers worldwide, partly because wastewater treatments plants, septic systems and industrial wastewater empty into water bodies. Landfill chemicals also leach into water bodies. All these sources contribute these contaminants in the environment.

(more …)

Two UF/IFAS animal sciences faculty members each earn $450K cattle research grants

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Environment, IFAS, Livestock, RECs, Research

Cliff Lamb.  Professor and coordinator, Animal Science Programs.  UF/IFAS Photographer Tyler Jones.

Geoffrey E. Dahl (Geoff), Professor and Chair, Ph.D. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.

Please see caption below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Geoff Dahl wants to know why heat makes cows less prone to produce milk, even when they are not lactating.

Dahl, a UF/IFAS animal sciences professor, has won a $450,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how to reduce mammary cell growth so he and his colleagues can develop strategies to limit the negative impact of heat stress on cows that are late in pregnancy and not producing milk, the so-called “dry cows.”

Dahl was one of two UF/IFAS animal sciences faculty members to win $450,000 NIFA grants last week. Cliff Lamb, a professor at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida, will study the differences in fetal development of Bos Indicus cows compared to Bos Taurus cows.

Heat stress causes cows to eat less and reduces milk during lactation, Dahl said. But it also decreases mammary growth late in a cow’s pregnancy, when cows normally do not produce milk as they prepare for the next lactation.

“That depression of mammary growth translates to less milk throughout the next lactation, and thus reduced efficiency and profitability for dairy producers,” said Dahl, who’s also chair of the Department of Animal Sciences.

(more …)

UF/IFAS Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide now online

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

ROOTSTOCK guide 071415

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide is now online at http://flrootstockselectionguide.org in a format that lets visitors interact with the guide.

Visitors to the site can find 104 publications supporting the ratings in the guide and can conduct queries of the rootstock information, said Stephen Futch, UF/IFAS multi-county Extension agent. The information and tools let you make informed citrus rootstock selections for your groves.

Three large buttons on the home page let you:

  • Open and interact with the Rootstock Selection Guide. It presents information on 45 rootstocks and 20 traits.
  • Open the Consult Guide, which introduces new technology to help you arrive at the best rootstock recommendations for your circumstances.
  • Open the Learn section, which contains a bibliography of references in an easy to use database with more than 100 published articles.

To access the website, go to www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu, then click on “Extension,” then “Horticulture,” then “Varieties and Rootstocks.”


Caption: The Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide, developed by UF/IFAS faculty members and Extension agents, is now online at http://flrootstockselectionguide.org in a format that lets visitors interact with the guide.

Credit: UF/IFAS file.

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Stephen Futch, 863-9546-8644, shf@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS expert wins lifetime achievement award for his international work for nonprofits

Topic(s): Announcements, Families and Consumers, Finances, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

Muthusami Kumaran.  Family, Youth, and Community Sciences.

Muthusami Kumaran

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Since 2012, for three summers, UF/IFAS students have travelled to India with Family, Youth and Community Sciences nonprofit management faculty member Muthusami Kumaran to learn about Non-Governmental Organizations (nonprofits) and development.

While there, Kumaran also lends his expertise on strategic planning, fundraising and best management practices to local NGOs.

This year brought an added bonus: Kumaran won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sethu Valliammal Educational Trust and the Soka Ikeda College of Arts and Science for Women, for his years of work with nonprofit organizations and NGOs worldwide. The trust, a major NGO itself, operates schools, colleges and vocational training institutions with a focus on providing educational opportunities to underserved students.

“It’s amazingly humbling,” Kumaran said of the award. “I truly consider it an honor to serve NGOs.”

(more …)

Book examines the use of predatory mites for biological control

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

Biological Control Book editors 081315Biological Control Book 081315

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Biological control of pests, weeds, plants and animals gives “the best hope to providing lasting, environmentally sound and socially acceptable pest management,” according to a new book edited by two UF/IFAS scientists.

The book, “Prospects for Biological Control of Plant Feeding Mites and Other Harmful Organisms,” was recently published by Springer Science. It includes chapters by scientists in California, Kenya, Benin, Brazil, Colombia, Greece, Spain and New Zealand.

Research compiled in the book examines how predatory mites can be used to control other plant-eating mites and other harmful organisms such as stable flies, mushrooms flies and some soil pests, said Daniel Carrillo, a UF/IFAS assistant professor in entomology. The book serves as an important resource for anyone searching for efficient and sustainable biological methods of pest control. Biological control is vital because pests become more difficult to control as they build resistance to pesticides.

“So, biological control is a sound alternative,” Carrillo said. “You can release predatory mites to control spider mites, whiteflies and thrips, among other pests. People use them in greenhouses mostly.”

(more …)

UF/IFAS’ Lance Osborne wins Entomologist of the Year award

Topic(s): Uncategorized
Lance Osborne, Ph.D., Professor, IPM Biological Control of Insects & Mites at the Mid-Florida REC-Apopka. Studying plants, greenhouse. UF/IFAS Photo: Marisol Amador.

UF/IFAS Entomology Professor Lance Osborn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida entomology professor Lance Osborne chalks up at least some of his success to his understanding and supportive wife of 43 years, Pat.

“Nothing would happen without her – she even lets me keep bugs in the refrigerator at home,” said Osborne, who also serves as the associate director of UF’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka.

This month, Osborne was named Entomologist of the Year at the 98th annual meeting of the Florida Entomological Society held in Fort Myers.  In addition, the Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association, Action Chapter honored him this week with the Gene A. Batson Award for outstanding service and leadership, the chapter’s highest honor.  (more …)

UF/IFAS researchers race to develop a plan to fight rose rosette virus

Topic(s): Uncategorized


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are racing to develop a plan to prevent or treat rose rosette disease, which is decimating the rose industry in other states.

“Rose rosette is a devastating disease and one of the worst things to come along,” said Gary Knox, professor of environmental horticulture and Extension specialist in nursery crops. “So, we joined a multistate comprehensive project to find a management plan.”

The challenge is in detecting the virus before symptoms arrive, Knox said. “A nursery might not know it has the disease and sell rose plants to unsuspecting customers. Months later, the disease shows up,” he said. “The major issue is being able to detect the virus before it shows up.”

Rose rosette was first discovered in Florida in December 2013. The disease is caused by an Eriophyid mite called Phyllocoptes fructiphilus, which transmits the virus, said Mathews Paret, assistant professor of plant pathology, who is stationed at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center. The virus causes roses to have excessive thorn production, leaf distortion and excessive branch development, known as witches broom, and will eventually kill the plant, he said.

Rose rosette disease spread from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast over several decades and is poised to obliterate the rose industry because there is no known effective treatment, Paret said. Currently, The United States Department of Agriculture through its National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative has extended a $3.3 million research grant to a 17-member group headed by David Byrne of Texas A&M University to fight rose rosette disease.

At UF/IFAS, Paret leads a group of researchers in searching for methods to manage rose rosette. Paret and his team are developing techniques to detect low levels of the virus in the plant. “The goal is to detect the virus in non-symptomatic plants utilizing a rapid field-based assay.,” he said.

Industry experts and organizations are eager to work with UF/IFAS researchers to find an effective management plan. Some of the preliminary studies were funded by the Florida Nursery Growers’ and Landscape Association, Knox said. Meanwhile, Wholesale nursery growers in the Big Bend region have donated plants, labor and expertise to the experiments, he said.

“They are anxious for us to develop options for managing this virus, because this disease is doing serious harm in the rest of the country,” Knox said. Rose production is a $400 million annual business in the United States, he said. Florida is the fourth largest producer of roses in the U.S.

Now, Paret and his team are trying to develop a field-based detection system to find the virus early. “We need a technique where we can go to the field and test leaves in the field,” Paret said. “The virus has not been established in Florida and needs to be detected and managed effectively before it settles in.”

In addition, Paret is looking at new compounds for preventing or managing the disease. The team is treating plants with compounds that would potentially help plants defend themselves better against the virus, Paret said. “We are trying to reduce the severity of the symptoms,” he said.


By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu



Mathews Paret, 850-875-7154, paret@ufl.edu

Gary Knox, 850-875-7162, gwknox@ufl.edu


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