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Pest/Disease Management

Whitefly Management on Spring Melons 2021

Now that the produce season is essentially finished, it time to move into melons.  Spring melon crops are rapidly growing, and so are insect pest populations. Cabbage loopers and leafminers are becoming evident in some areas, and PCAs should start ramping up their monitoring and sampling. More importantly, whitely populations are quietly becoming abundant on the spring melons of all …

CDFA Teams up with Partners to Introduce California Pollinator Coalition

A broad array of organizations from across California’s agricultural and environmental landscape today announced a working coalition to address their shared commitment to the health of wild and managed pollinators. The Coalition is focusing on increasing the value working lands provide to our environment, to benefit biodiversity and farmers alike. The California Pollinator Coalition, convened by Pollinator Partnership, the California …

Late-season Thrips Management in Lettuce

Effective control of western flower thrips (WFT) to prevent cosmetic scarring and contamination is important in spring lettuce crops, and now that INSV has been found infecting plants in Yuma lettuce, management becomes even more important.  For most of the growing season, WFT numbers have been below average based on sticky trap counts, field reports and population densities here at YAC. …

Controlling Important Pests in Organic Strawberry Production

A new study published in the journal Pest Management Science showed that semiochemicals can effectively manage one of the most economically damaging pests in organic strawberry production, the lygus bug (Lygus spp.). Semiochemicals are organic compounds that send signals to insects that alter their behavior, used either to attract them or repel them and can act as an alternative to …

National Cucurbit Project Reupped for $7.1 Million

The Cucurbit Coordinated Agricultural Project (CucCAP), a multi-institution, nationwide research and outreach initiative led by Michigan State University and dedicated to cucurbit crops — cucumbers, squashes, melons and watermelon — has been awarded $7.1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The new funding extends the project that began in 2015 for four years. The goals …

Broccoli Rotations Lower Pathogen Populations and Reduce Disease Incidence of Verticillium Wilt

In 1999, several UC researchers published foundational research in a paper titled, “Evaluation of broccoli residue incorporation into field soil for Verticillium wilt control in cauliflower.” Since this publication more than 20 years ago, many studies have further investigated this concept and many coastal growers, especially organic producers, have adopted broccoli rotations as a strategy for Verticillium wilt control. Today, …

$12 Million to Eradicate an Invasive Rodent of Unusual Size

You may have heard of them in the comedy film Princess Bride as “Rodents of Unusual Size”, but this is the real thing — only not so large and formidable.  Nutria were originally introduced into the United States as part of the fur trade in the late 1800s, but were eradicated from California in the 1970s.  They made a sudden …

UC Cooperative Extension Investigates the Reality of Steam-Weeding Lettuce Fields

Despite the tremendous need, there are currently no preemergence herbicides that are organic-compliant. Steam injected into the soil such that the soil temperatures reach >140°F for 15-20 minutes will kill weed seed in the soil. The effect of this reduction in the seedbank viability results weed control in the treated area that persists for several weeks or months, similar to …

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 …

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 …

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