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USDA Study Reveals Airborne Fungus Can Trigger Plant Growth

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) recently announced that a harmless airborne fungus, Cladosporium sphaerospermum strain TC09 (TC09), can dramatically accelerate plant growth if a germinating plant is near the fungus as it emits volatiles or gases. Scientists used tobacco and pepper plants as models to study the conditions for accelerated plant growth once exposed to …

National Project Tackles Virus Threats to Potato Industry

A University of Idaho-led team will tackle a pair of viruses that cause major losses to the potato industry. U of I researcher and potato virus expert Alex Karasev will lead the project funded by a $5.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The team of two dozen scientists will target potato …

Grafting Watermelon Prevents Disease, WSU Study Shows

A new study from Washington State University’s Department of Horticulture found that splice grafting helps watermelons resist disease. For more than 10 years, watermelon growers in Washington’s Columbia Basin have been struggling with a disease called Verticillium wilt, caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae. The findings were recently published in the American Society for Horticulture Science. For decades, methyl bromide, a fumigant used …

Five Steps for Ag Processors to Adapt their COVID-19 Incident Response Approach

COVID-19 is a health crisis in the United States but major industries, like agriculture, chemical manufacturing, oil and gas exploration and production, all need to keep functioning as essential businesses in the midst of the crisis.  The response to COVID-19 has core parallels to major industrial accident response, which involves deploying the right resources for the task.  Every incident, be …

California Ag Leadership Foundation Announces New Leadership

The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF) has announced the hiring of two individuals to its leadership team, Dwight Ferguson and Abby Taylor-Silva, to lead the organization which operates one of the foremost leadership development experiences in the United States, the California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP). “I am excited to announce that we are cultivating a new way forward as we …

Pythium & INSV Infections in Salinas Lettuce Fields

In 2020 the incidence of Pythium wilt (caused by Pythium uncinulatum) of lettuce has increased in severity and in the number of affected fields. Pythium infections in lettuce fields have been observed frequently, but not always, occurring with INSV infection. As a result, there has been confusion distinguishing between these two diseases and the role of each of them in causing …

Managing Root-Knot Nematodes in Crop Rotations

A question came up about managing root-knot nematodes in processing tomato and lima bean rotations.  Root-knot nematodes are tiny worm-like soil dwelling pests that cause root galling on plant roots, resulting in significant yield and quality losses. Symptoms of severe root-knot infestations include patches of chlorotic, stunted, necrotic, or wilted plants. These nematodes also predispose plants to other soilborne pathogens …

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Round II Begins Sept. 21 (What’s Included)

President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020. “America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still …

Plant, Insect Viruses Work Together to Spread Disease

In what may be a first for science, researchers with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found an example of plant and insect viruses working together to increase their spread. Michelle Heck, an ARS research molecular biologist, was leading research into poleroviruses, a type of plant virus spread by aphids, when she and Cornell University graduate students Jenny Wilson and …

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