Weather Holds Peanuts’ Fate

first_img John Beasley, UGA CAES Peanut plants produce pegs, a kind of elongated stem, that enter the ground and swell to produce peanuts. White mold on a peanut plant (in circle.) As dry and hot as the summer has been, a Universityof Georgia scientist says peanuts still stand a chance to make a good crop.”Overall, the crop looks good,” said JohnBeasley, an Extension Servicepeanut agronomist with the UGA Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “It’s getting late in the season. Butwith good weather — even less than ideal weather — we could still harvest a good crop ofpeanuts.”center_img Beasley said the temperature has affected peanuts as much or more than the drought.”Even irrigated peanuts have suffered in the extremely high temperatures we saw allover the state through June and July,” he said.He calls 1998 an “almost bizarre year.” Too much water in the spring keptfarmers from planting. Then too little water in the summer has kept the plants fromblooming and pegging.And for Georgia’s peanuts, valued in 1997 at $360 million, the blooms and pegs are thecrop. The blooms form pegs, or elongated stems, that enter the ground, swell and producethe fruit we know as peanuts. The weather from the first of August through October is what will make or break thepeanut crop, Beasley said. Growers hope for warm days and a late frost to keep the cropmaturing.But other factors are complicating the maturity of the crop. Late planting meant theharvest was already delayed. Rain through the last week of July and into early Augustprovided water for peanuts and for weeds, insects and diseases.”All of those factors can harm plants and delay maturity,” Beasley said.”Worst of all is the white mold we’re seeing.”Tim Brenneman, a CAES plantpathologist, said white mold is the worst he’s seen in the state in five years.”We’re seeing (white mold) the worst in irrigated fields,” he said, “wherethe high temperatures and available water provided ideal conditions for the mold to begindevelopment earlier than we’re accustomed to treating for it.” Brenneman said fungicides are available to decrease the fungus’ presence and impact inthe field. But once the fungus is there, it’s hard to control. The good news is that onlyabout 40 percent of Georgia peanut fields are under permanent irrigation, and drylandfields aren’t as susceptible to the fungus.The last “really bad” year was 1991, Brenneman said, when white mold cutyields by $57 million. “We don’t think it will be that bad this year, since we’ve gotgood fungicides,” he said. “But it has still caused, and will continue causing,some losses.”Beasley remains optimistic, though.”There’s still a very good chance the peanut crop can set and be harvested,”he said. “Peanuts have an ability to withstand early-season drought and then put on agood crop during the last half of the season. We’re betting that’s going to be the casethis year.”last_img read more

07 Garden diseases

first_img“Trap crops” can reduce viral diseases carried by small insects.Plant a few rows of a crop like rye or corn around your maingarden. This will tempt insects to feed there first, reducing therisk of diseases some small insects are known to carry.Be carefulWhen you water the garden, don’t splash soil onto plant foliage.If possible, irrigate by running water between the rows. Use amulch layer of straw, bark, shredded paper or plastic to keepsoil from splashing onto plants and keep fruit from touching bareground.If you use tobacco, wash your hands thoroughly before handlingplants. This will prevent the spread of tobacco mosaic virus,which can infect many kinds of vegetables, particularly tomatoesand peppers.After harvest, remove and destroy all plants from the garden andsanitize your garden equipment. This will reduce theoverwintering of disease-causing organisms.Most important, use proper cultural practices to keep your plantshealthy. “Healthy plants don’t get diseases as easily as weakones,” Langston said. “Healthy plants are the best controlagainst plant diseases.”(Brad Haire is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) Volume XXIXNumber 1Page 7 By Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaDiseases can turn the dream of a bountiful garden crop into anightmare come harvest time. But gardeners can do a few things toreduce the risk these veggie enemies pose.”Most vegetables are susceptible to a number of diseases,” saidDavid Langston, a vegetable plant pathologist with the Universityof Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Wilts, leaf spots, blights and fruit rots, he said, are just afew of the problems that plague vegetable gardens every year.Plant diseases are caused by four main types of organisms: fungi,bacteria, nematodes and viruses.Attack timeWhen conditions are wet and temperatures warm, vegetable plantsare more susceptible to diseases caused by fungi and bacteria.Scout your garden regularly.When the garden is dry, nematode damage is more evident. You cantest your soil for nematodes by submitting a sample throughyour county UGA Extension Service office.Viral diseases can show up at any time, Langston said.Many plant diseases can be on or within the seeds. “Seeds shouldnot be saved from year to year,” he said. “This is important toprevent a number of diseases.”Buy seeds from a reputable dealer, because you can’t distinguishhealthy seeds from diseased seeds. Make sure you followdirections on when and how to plant them.Best defenseDisease-resistant plant varieties are the most efficient way ofcontrolling vegetable diseases. Buy resistant varieties when youcan. Resistance traits are usually listed in seed catalogs and inplant stores.Don’t plant your garden near or beneath trees. The shade willreduce the drying of plant foliage after rain and increase thechances of diseases. Besides, vegetables like a lot of sunlight,and the trees will compete for vital nutrients.Crop rotation is important. If you keep planting the samevegetables in the same spot year after year, you’re asking forsoil-disease problems.Grow the same or closely related vegetable plants in the samesoil only once every three to five years, Langston said. Thispractice starves out most pathogens that cause stem and leafdiseases.Veggie cousinsVegetable families include:center_img Alliaceae (chives, garlic, leeks and onions).Brassicaceae (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,cauliflower, collards, mustard, radishes, rutabagas andturnips).Cucurbitaceae (cantaloupes, cucumbers, honeydew melons,pumpkins, squash and watermelons).Fabaceae (all beans, English peas and Southern peas).Solanaceae (eggplant, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes).Asteraceae (lettuce).Poaceae (corn).Malvaceae (okra).Chenopodiaceae (spinach)Apiaceae (carrots).last_img read more

Cotton conference

first_imgUniversity of GeorgiaAnyone who wants the latest information about cotton production and marketing should attend the first annual Georgia Cotton Conference at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center Jan. 29-30 in Tifton, Ga.The conference will include the Georgia Cotton Commission annual meeting, the Georgia Quality Cotton Awards ceremony and educational workshops given by experts with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Registration is free. For more information, call (229) 386-3412 or go to the Web site www.ugatiftonconference.org.last_img read more

Georgia biofuels

first_imgBy Sam FahmyUniversity of GeorgiaThe University of Georgia gave policymakers in Washington an up-close look at the future of biofuels by demonstrating how raw materials as diverse as algae, chicken fat and wood chips can be turned into fuel.UGA is among 13 institutions nationwide to win “The Grand Challenge,” a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the 25x’25 Alliance, a coalition of leaders from the agricultural, forestry and renewable energy communities. The challenge recognizes universities that have taken leadership roles in renewable energy research, teaching and outreach.As winners, UGA scientists were among the 80 exhibitors at the USDA’s Bioenergy Awareness Days June 19-22 in Washington. They demonstrated ways to harness the state’s rich natural resources to create sustainable fuels that benefit the economy as well as the environment.“The Grand Challenge helps focus the nation on the future of renewable energy,” said Craig Kvien, professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and one of several authors of UGA’s winning entry. “Collectively, there are going to be some good ideas presented that can be used to help develop bioenergy policy and to improve research and outreach programs at our institutions. The fact that UGA was recognized says a lot about all of the people across campus working on renewable energy research and outreach.”The UGA exhibits demonstrated how:* Algae can be grown in wastewater and then harvested and processed to create a biofuel.* Waste chicken fat from poultry processing can be refined to oil that can be used in industrial boilers or further refined to biodiesel. * Wood chips and pellets made from timber scraps can be processed into a biofuel. * An autonomous, ethanol-powered tractor can save farmers time and fuel by working around the clock with minimal supervision. K.C. Das, associate professor of engineering and director of UGA’s biorefining and carbon cycling program, pointed out that Georgia currently imports all of its petroleum-based fuel but is rich in plant materials and animal waste – collectively known as biomass. It can be converted into biofuels. In addition to algae, chicken fat and wood chips, UGA engineers are creating biofuels from industrial and municipal wastes, restaurant grease and agricultural products that can’t be sold to supermarkets, such as bruised watermelons and peaches or even outdated cola and juice. UGA scientists are also searching for ways to break down efficiently the tough, fibrous parts of plants so that agricultural wastes such as husks and stems, rather than corn kernels and other edible plants, can be used to create ethanol. Other candidates for ethanol production include fast-growing poplar trees, napier grass and switchgrass, all of which don’t require much water or fertilizer to grow.UGA has more than 80 scientists, engineers and economists working on basic and applied biofuels research. They’re collaborating through the university’s Biofuels, Biopower and Biomaterials Initiative, also known as B3I.“The B3I allows us to synergize the resources at the university for a common goal,” said Joy Doran Peterson, professor of microbiology and B3I director. “And the recent surge in gas prices and ongoing concerns about global warming really underscore the urgency of our work.”The UGA researchers said they’re pursing a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach because there’s no single approach – no silver bullet – that will solve the nation’s energy needs.“The strength of UGA’s approach is that we’re exploring several solutions so that communities can derive energy from the raw materials that are best suited to their circumstances,” Das said. “Just imagine the benefits of diversifying our energy sources.”last_img read more

Tropical Autumn Shrub

first_imgIt has been called the world’s most colorful shrub, which is certainly not an exaggeration. I have been in love with it ever since I made my first visit to the Caribbean 30 years ago. If you are a gardener, then you probably know the plant I am talking about — the croton.Crotons are known botanically as “Codiaeum variegatum” and are native to Malaysia, Indonesia, northern Australia and western Pacific islands. As far as its family classification, it is a Euphorbiaceae, so it is related to copper plants and our wonderful Christmas plant, the poinsettia.In the Caribbean and in its native habitats, you’ll see this somewhat woody perennial reach heights of more than 6 feet, giving a carnival-like atmosphere to wherever it is being grown. Here in Savannah, Georgia, and the South Carolina low country, I have never seen so many grown as annuals in the summer landscape. With that in mind, gardeners everywhere can do that, too.For the amount of impact they give, crotons are certainly a good buy. Depending on the size you buy, they will reach 2 feet tall and perhaps a little wider. The heat and humidity prevalent in most of Georgia sets up the perfect conditions to allow them to thrive. Wherever I look, whether grown with elephant ears, hibiscus or the Hawaiian ti plant, crotons look festive and tropical.You might be wondering why I’m touting this most amazingly beautiful tropical in September? The answer is opportunity. I don’t know if you have been to a garden center lately, but this time of year, crotons show up as special buys. I love this for a couple of reasons.First, I love using crotons in partnership with Belgian mums to create a colorful fall display. I like them with pumpkins and asters, too. Let your creative genius come alive. There are no rules to follow on how to use tropical crotons, so buy several. Don’t be bashful.As I write this, I am sitting in a large sunroom with a ton of glass and available light, which would be the perfect spot for not just the world’s most colorful shrub, but the world’s most colorful houseplant. In the landscape, croton needs fertile, organic, rich soil with good drainage. As an indoor houseplant, select a good, fluffy, humusy blend that contains controlled-release fertilizer.Indoors, croton needs bright light with a moment or two of direct sun. In the landscape, they thrive anywhere other than pure shade. The sunlight stimulates an incredible display of color. As a houseplant, keep croton amply moist, but never soggy or wet. If your room has low humidity, consider placing the container on a saucer of wet gravel.The croton is cold hardy to zones 10 and 11 and, in these locales, they would be spaced 3 to 4 feet apart. If you are going to use them as annuals, like in my region, mass or cluster them together 18 to 24 inches apart for the showiest display.There are a number of selected varieties and types of leaf shape and size, but you will be buying generically. You have to agree that a plant with large, glossy, waxy leaves and every shade of gold, yellow, green, red and pink is simply too mesmerizing to overlook.I hope you take this opportunity to use croton in your fall décor. And, next spring, their addition to your landscape will shock your neighbors, friends and relatives.Follow me on Twitter @CGBGgardenguru. Learn more about the University of Georgia Coastal Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm at >www.coastalgeorgiabg.org.last_img read more

Avoid Heatstroke

first_imgEvery year, hot summer temperatures lead to life-threatening heatstroke. Adults know to keep themselves hydrated and to get to a cooler place if they begin to feel overheated. Children, however, often don’t know how to protect themselves.Heatstroke in children, particularly those left in vehicles, is very serious.“Heatstroke in vehicles is the leading cause of all non-crash-related fatalities involving children 14 and younger, translating to 61 percent of total non-crash fatalities in this age group,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, fatalities from heatstroke are too common.It is important that we understand the anatomy of children as well as what happens to the body during heatstroke. Small children and infants are very sensitive to extreme heat. A child’s body absorbs heat more rapidly than an adult’s, making a child’s core body temperature rise three to five times faster.Bear in mind that, if it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can be over 125 degrees in 20 minutes. The temperature continues to increase as time elapses.When heatstroke occurs, a child sweats and overheats, just like an adult does. Children’s body temperatures continue to rise and they cannot regulate those temperatures. At this point, the child may display symptoms like lack of sweating, dizziness, lethargy and disorientation. If they remain in the extreme heat, they will lose consciousness. Once their internal body temperature reaches 107 degrees, their organs begin to fail and permanent damage or death quickly follows. This is both grotesque and preventable.We must remember that this could happen to anyone. We have all seen the news stories about children dying after being left unattended in a vehicle. We think, “How could they just leave a child in the car?” or “How could they forget?” We like to think it could not happen to us, but I am here to tell you that, once a child falls asleep in the back of the car or you are not in your daily routine, it could happen. I have taken my children halfway to work only to realize I was supposed to drop them off at the childcare center. Infants in rear-facing car seats are more at risk of being forgotten because you don’t see them as you exit the vehicle.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recommends the following tips to avoid heatstroke in children:Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even if it is “just for a minute.” Don’t do it!Look twice! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It takes little to no time to glance at the backseat.Put something that you will definitely miss in the backseat with the child. Consider placing your purse, cell phone or, if you are like me, a part of your outfit in the backseat.Install a mirror that allows you to see a child in a rear-facing car seat.Avoid distractions while driving. Cell phones are notorious for attracting our attention.Finally, if you see a child who has been left unattended in a vehicle, call 911. You may feel like you are being nosy or that it is not your concern, but precious children are a concern for all of us. Have a safe and wonderful summer!last_img read more

Presidential Garden

first_imgThe butterfly garden at former President Jimmy Carter’s home in Plains, Georgia, has received a much-needed restoration thanks to a group of University of Georgia-trained volunteers.Earlier this spring, representatives for former first lady Rosalynn Carter sought help from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. UGA Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, who are trained to help UGA Extension staff deliver research-based information about gardening and related topics to the public, began work on the project.Dougherty County Extension Coordinator James Morgan, who coordinates the Master Gardener program closest to the Carters, worked with Master Gardeners in Sumter County to put in the sweat equity needed to add to the existing butterfly garden, part of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail.“We came in and enhanced the butterfly garden at the Carter home by adding more plants and doing some maintenance work,” Morgan said. “It was really like a restoration project.”After an initial meeting in April with Rosalynn Carter and representatives from the National Park Service to discuss plans, exchange ideas and visit the site, the Master Gardeners began redesigning the garden.The volunteers have conducted maintenance work on the garden, including weeding, laying pine straw, pruning and removing some plants. They have now restored native and butterfly-attracting plants and established many plants with color, including Knock Out roses.The installation process is still ongoing, Morgan said, and upkeep of the butterfly garden will gradually be turned over to the grounds maintenance crew at the Carter home.“The Master Gardeners did a superb job of restoring our butterfly garden, and I am deeply grateful to them,” Rosalynn Carter said.The Master Gardeners and Morgan were honored to be asked to work on the project.“It was pretty exciting from the standpoint that we were asked to do it and got the opportunity to go onto the site and meet and interact with the former first lady,” Morgan said. “I considered it to be an honor to work on this project for them.”For those interested in learning more about the Master Gardener program, see caes2.caes.uga.edu/mastergardener/.last_img read more

Irrigation Trainings

first_imgUniversity of Georgia Cooperative Extension will host two free workshops in March to show Georgia and Florida cotton and peanut growers how to increase yield and profitability through technology-driven irrigation tools.Attendees will learn about how to use irrigation scheduling techniques such as UGA’s checkbook method and the SmartIrrigation Cotton app and IrrigatorPro app.“Farmers will have an opportunity, independent of the county meetings this winter, to get together and learn about what advanced irrigation scheduling tools and techniques there are out there and how they can apply them on their farms,” said Wes Porter, UGA Extension irrigation specialist.Adam Rabinowitz, UGA Extension agricultural economist, will discuss the capital costs associated with adopting these irrigation tools, the projected return on investment, the annual operating costs of equipment and any associated management expenses.“There’s certainly a need for workshops like these. There’s a need to get farmers familiar with these methods, including the different technologies and apps and soil moisture sensors that are available to them,” Rabinowitz said. “We’re trying to keep the farmers profitable but also help them increase their crop per drop and be good stewards of the water here in Georgia.”The workshops will be held March 18 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia, and March 25 at the Nessmith-Lane Center at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. The conferences will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.There will also be a discussion about Georgia’s climate, including a look back at 2018 which was highlighted by a wet three-week period in May and Hurricane Michael in October. A representative from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division will also be in attendance to discuss regulations and planning regarding the use of water for agricultural purposes. Additionally, there will be a talk focused on irrigating in Florida, including regulatory impacts for agriculture.The workshops were intentionally scheduled before Georgia cotton and peanut farmers plant this year’s crops. Peanuts are mostly planted in April and May once the threat of late spring freezes has passed. The majority of the state’s cotton crop is planted in May, although some acreage is planted in April, weather permitting.“We tried to set the timing just before the farmers start getting their crops in the ground. The information they will learn at these workshops will be fresh on their minds. They’ll understand what they need to do when they get ready to start irrigating,” Porter said.The workshops are being offered as part of a broader UGA Extension multidisciplinary project focused on increasing agricultural water-use efficiency in Georgia. Support for the workshops is provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center.The workshops are free and a networking lunch will be provided, but those who are interested should pre-register at http://bit.ly/ugairrigation. For more information or to register by phone, please call (229) 386-3512.last_img read more

El Nino Impact

first_imgFarmers who might face a delayed planting season can thank El Nino for Georgia’s exceedingly wet winter, according to Pam Knox, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agricultural climatologist.Row crop and vegetable producers usually begin planting their crops in late March through May, but excessive rainfall and cloudy conditions in January and February have left many fields soaked and soggy. El Nino, a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, directly affects rainfall distribution in the tropics and can have a strong influence on weather across the U.S. and other parts of the world, according to the National Weather Service.“For some, if they have fields that are prone to flooding, I think they’re going to have to consider delaying their plantings there,” Knox said.Georgia’s peanut farmers only have to look back to last year to recall another planting season delayed by weather. Three straight weeks of rain in May 2018 forced peanut producers to wait until June to get their crop in the ground.According to UGA Extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort, planting season is still a month away, so there’s plenty of time left for fields to dry out.“It is in the back of our minds that we do have a lot of work that needs to be done which should have already been done by now. But, because of rain, the farmers just haven’t been able to do it yet,” Monfort said.North Georgia has received the most rainfall of late. According to the UGA Weather Network, Gainesville, Georgia, received 16.19 inches of rain from January 1 to March 6, compared to 12.5 inches over the same period in 2018. In Rome, Georgia, 19.31 inches of rain were recorded from January 1 to March 6, compared to 10.12 inches in the same period in 2018.“We’re in an El Nino winter, so you expect it to be wet. Even so, there are some places in the northern part of the state that are setting records for how much rain they’ve received,” Knox said.Southwest Georgia has received its share of rain as well. During that same time frame, Tifton, Georgia, received 8.08 inches, compared to 6.77 inches last year. In Moultrie, Georgia, 9.08 inches were recorded, compared to 5.62 inches in 2018.Rain isn’t the only weather condition affecting farmers. The threat of another late-spring freeze is also a concern for peach and blueberry farmers. Temperatures in Georgia dipped to below freezing March 6 and 7, just weeks after many peach trees and blueberry bushes started to bloom. The budding trees and bushes remain vulnerable to the freezing temperatures, which have the potential to damage a crop in its earliest stages of growth.“I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet. I think we’re at the point where the chance of another deep freeze is going to be rarer and rarer,” Knox said. “If you look at temperatures for Alma (Georgia) and places like that, it got right around the freezing mark during those couple of days. Some fields got dinged a little, but some got in there a little above freezing.”Here are some characteristics of an El Nino:Warm ocean waters lead to increased tropical rain and thunderstorms.Atmospheric pressure increases near Indonesia and in the western Pacific and decreases in the eastern Pacific.Pressure changes lead to the subtropical jet stream moving into Florida, southern Georgia and Alabama, steering cloudy, rainy systems into the region during winter.Because of changes in the strength of the jet stream, hurricanes are less likely.El Nino, which occurs about every three to seven years, usually lasts for just one year.The likelihood of tornadoes and severe weather increases in the Florida peninsula during an El Nino year.For more information about Georgia weather, see http://www.georgiaweather.net.last_img read more

Whitefly Management

first_imgResearchers from three research institutions are using a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fight whiteflies on vegetable crops.Scientists from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Fort Valley State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in Charleston, S.C., will combine their expertise to collaborate on finding short- and long-term solutions to fight the pest.UGA’s team plans to use an integrated approach to solve Georgia’s whitefly problem in vegetables.“We have seen significant buildup in the last two to three weeks, mostly in the Tift County and Colquitt County region, but I have had reports of isolated problems outside of the area as well,” said UGA vegetable entomologist Stormy Sparks. “The scientists that are part of this grant are studying all aspects of whitefly biology and management to try to find weaknesses that can be exploited for management.”Sparks is one of the researchers on the UGA team, which includes entomologists, plant pathologists, virologists, breeders and vegetable specialists.The scientists will rely on one another’s specialties for the duration of the five-year grant.“My role involves finding resistance to the whitefly-transmitted virus complex in snap bean germplasm, advancing breeding lines and conducting research to find the genetic basis of resistance,” said Bhabesh Dutta, a UGA Cooperative Extension plant pathologist on the Tifton campus and member of the research team. “We’ll then give that information to the breeder so that they can introgress resistance into elite varieties.”Whiteflies are responsible for transmitting multiple viruses, including cucurbit leaf crumple virus and cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus. According to UGA crop loss estimates for fall 2017, these viruses caused between 30% and 50% crop loss in squash and cucumbers and nearly 80% crop loss in snap beans that year.“This project gives us an opportunity to think long term. It’s not going to be a quick fix. We’ll take baby steps to understand the system, understand the problem, and then try to solve it,” Dutta said.UGA entomologist Babu Srinivasan will focus on studying virus transmission by whiteflies and management.“We’re trying to look at how these viruses interact with their host, how they interact with their vectors, and how they’re transmitted,” said Srinivasan, who’s based on the UGA Griffin campus. “Once we understand that, it will help us get closer to management.”The severity, distribution and timing of whiteflies vary from year to year, but they remain a persistent problem for Georgia’s vegetable growers. They are especially problematic in the Tift and Colquitt County region where vegetables are produced year-round.“It was a devastating event for us in 2017 and we certainly don’t need that again,” said Bill Brim, co-owner of Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton, Georgia. “We need the university to work real hard on it and, hopefully, we’ll get some more funding next year for it as well.”Whiteflies built up significant populations as early as May 2017. A warm winter that season did not help diminish the whitefly population. The pest normally becomes a problem in August or September, but the earlier they occur, the worse they become, according to Sparks.“We cannot successfully manage this pest as simply a pest of fall vegetables. We have to look at the entire cycle and realize that what happens in one area impacts the others,” Sparks said. “Because this pest attacks so many different crops across the agro-ecosystem and cycles from crop to crop throughout the year, we have to understand how it survives and builds in our environment to determine the best strategies for control.”Where and how whiteflies overwinter leads to populations in spring vegetables. This can have an effect on summer crops, which then impacts fall vegetables.Following the 2017 epidemic, UGA formed a whitefly team on the Tifton campus. Those researchers are included in this grant project, along with researchers in Griffin, Athens, Fort Valley and Charleston.“We might be able to fix the problem today, but how do we make sure it’s fixed to where it lasts through next year and the year after — and something even more permanent?” asked Allen Moore, UGA associate dean for research and principal investigator for the grant. “With sufficient resources that the federal government is providing, we ought to be able to do all of that. Rather than take 10 years to come up with something, we’re doing it a lot faster because we’re doing it all at once.”The grant designates $560,000 to Fort Valley State University with the remaining money divided among the researchers at CAES and UDSA-ARS in Charleston.Listed are the participating scientists and the areas of whitefly research in which they are involved:Plant resistant traits: Babu Srinivasan (UGA), Bhabesh Dutta (UGA), Andre da Silva (UGA), Cecilia McGregor (UGA) and Somashekhar Punnuri (Fort Valley State).Ecology, biocontrol, cultural practice: Phillip Roberts (UGA), Alton Sparks (UGA), Andre de Silva (UGA), Paul Severns (UGA), Jason Schmidt (UGA), Mike Toews (UGA), George Mbata (Fort Valley State) and Alvin Simmons (ARS).Viruses/transmission dynamics: Babu Srinivasan (UGA), Sadeep Bag (UGA), Paul Severns (UGA), Somashekhar Punnuri (Fort Valley State) and Alvin Simmons (ARS).Molecular tools/biotech: Trish Moore (UGA), Bhabesh Dutta (UGA), Cecilia McGregor (UGA), Somashekhar Punnuri (Fort Valley State), George Mbata (Fort Valley State) and Alvin Simmons (ARS).Insecticide resistance/biorational control products: David Riley (UGA), Jason Schmidt (UGA), Alton Sparks (UGA), Phillip Roberts (UGA), George Mbata (Fort Valley State) and Alvin Simmons (ARS).last_img read more