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Pest/Disease Management

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 …

UC Davis Wants Samples of Your Fermented Foods for Science

It’s not always easy to find silver linings during the COVID-19 pandemic, but here’s one that food scientists at the University of California, Davis, have discovered: More people are exploring the ancient art of fermented foods. “My mom made her first batch of sauerkraut this summer,” said Maria Marco, a microbiologist and food science professor with the UC Davis College …

California Must Become a Fire-Adapted Civilization, UCCE Expert Says

The vast California acreage burned in 2020 and the protracted smoky skies should signal state residents and officials to adapt to a new reality, reported Ezra David Romero on Capital Public Radio. The 4 million acres of wildland burned this year isn’t unprecedented. Before 1800, 4.5 million or more burned every year in California, according to a UC Berkeley study. Tragic …

Researchers Continue Grapevine Red Blotch Vector Search

Entomologists have a unique toolbox of gadgets designed to trap and collect otherwise hard to nab insects.  Beating, sweeping, sucking, and carefully brushing, these scientists have no lack of creativity when it comes to collecting what most people can’t even see.  Yet these collections are critical keys to unravel the mystery of crop-threatening disease, where insects often play the role …

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 …

Wildfire Impact on CA Almond Harvest & Crop Update

Are California almond growers really going to reach their record 3 billion pound crop this year? How have the wildfires impacted the harvest season? What kind of pest pressure levels are growers experiencing this year? What should almond growers expect at the virtual Almond Board Conference this year?  Watch this brief interview with Richard Waycott from the Almond Board of …

Orchard Sanitation is key to a Quality Almond Crop

Navel orangeworm (NOW) is the key pest of almonds, causing more income loss due to reject nuts than any other pest. Pesticide sprays, alone, cannot control this pest. A combination of several specific practices has been proven to reduce NOW damage and limit loss of grower income. These practices are winter sanitation, timely harvest and pesticide sprays (where needed). Mating …

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 …

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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