<![CDATA[Ag Metrics Group - News & Updates]]>Thu, 26 May 2022 12:09:48 -0700EditMySite<![CDATA[Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA) Field Day Recap – January 12, 2022]]>Thu, 13 Jan 2022 23:27:24 GMThttp://www.agmetricsgroup.com/news-updates/florida-strawberry-growers-association-fsga-field-day-recap-january-12-2022
Mark Keeley, Ag Metrics Group, presents
Mark Keeley, Ag Metrics Group, presents "Combining Soil Solarization with Conventional Chemical Fumigants and Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) in Florida Strawberry Production" project at the Florida Strawberry Growers Association 2022 Field Day
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​(Dover, Florida)
Strawberry growers, industry leaders, researchers from University of Florida Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC), and researchers from Florida Ag Research (an Ag Metrics Group Company) gathered for the annual Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA) Field Day on January 12.
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Florida Ag Research presented a “Proof of Concept” field demonstration intended to evaluate the suitability of using solar radiation to enhance soil borne pest control with Conventional Fumigants and Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation in commercial Florida strawberry production. Potential benefits of the system include:
 
a) Solarization and ASD are approved organic soil pest control options
b) Solarization with conventional soil borne pest control inputs may allow reduction in chemical usage
c) ASD is a potential waste recycling system
​The project, which began in June of 2021, was published by Florida Ag Research/Ag Metrics Group scientists and growers: Frank Sances, Balaji Aglave, Mark Keeley, Kaleb Williams, and Charlie Boone.
 
The Solarization Project was presented by Ag Metrics Group’s Mark Keeley (formerly a Station Manager of Florida Ag Research). “It was great to come back out and present this exciting work to growers and researchers since the ‘Field Day’ was cancelled last January,” said Keeley, “And a great opportunity to introduce Mariano [Galla], the new Florida Ag Research Station Manager, to the Florida strawberry grower community.”
L to R: Florida Ag Research / Ag Metrics Group Project Team: Kaleb Williams - Field Operations, Mark Keeley - Special Projects, Brad Booker - Pacific Ag Research Station Manager (former Florida Ag Research Station Manager), Charlie Boone - Assistant Station Manager, Balaji Aglave - Nematology / Plant Pathology, Mariano Galla - Station Manager
L to R: Florida Ag Research / Ag Metrics Group Project Team: Kaleb Williams - Field Operations, Mark Keeley - Special Projects, Brad Booker - Pacific Ag Research Station Manager (former Florida Ag Research Station Manager), Charlie Boone - Assistant Station Manager, Balaji Aglave - Nematology / Plant Pathology, Mariano Galla - Station Manager
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<![CDATA[Combining Soil Solarization with Conventional Chemical Fumigants and Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) in Florida Strawberry Production]]>Tue, 11 Jan 2022 08:00:00 GMThttp://www.agmetricsgroup.com/news-updates/combining-soil-solarization-with-conventional-chemical-fumigants-and-anaerobic-soil-disinfestation-asd-in-florida-strawberry-production
Frank Sances, Balaji Aglave, Mark Keeley, Kaleb Williams, & Charlie Boone
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Introduction
This "Proof of Concept" field demonstration  is intended to evaluate the suitability of using solar radiation to enhance soil borne pest control with Conventional Fumigants and Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation in commercial Florida strawberry production.

​Potential benefits:
a) Solarization and ASD are approved organic soil pest control options
b) Solarization with conventional soil borne pest control inputs may allow reduction in chemical usage
c) ASD is a potential waste recycling system
Methodology
Alternate use of clear plastic for summer solarization with chemical fumigants and ASD, then summer plastic replaced with black plastic mulch just prior to planting.  Crop finished with black mulch.
Summary of Findings To-Date
  1. This preliminary study and early season results  are insufficient to fully evaluate treatment effects on soil borne pest management (Table 2) and total potential yields. Full season results will be available June 2022.
  2. Clear plastic mulch used was damaged by warm soil fumigation which may underestimate the potential efficacy of fumigants applied during solarization (Data not shown).
  3. Early season plant growth and root development  were numerically improved by solarization except in the K-PAM treatments (Table 1).
  4. Nutsedge control was generally superior with solarized chemical fumigation, but ASD performed better under black plastic compared to clear over summer months (Photo & Table 3).
  5. Total early season fruit yields (7 harvests) were similar among treatments, but lowest for non-inoculated solarized plots.
  6. Conventional grower practice yields were highest overall, although ASD + Solarization was also high yielding (Chart 1).
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<![CDATA[In the Western US: Pest Management Research - Perennial California Crops with Pacific Ag Research]]>Thu, 08 Jul 2021 21:48:43 GMThttp://www.agmetricsgroup.com/news-updates/in-the-western-us-pest-management-research-perennial-california-crops-with-pacific-ag-research
Pacific Ag Research logo - Ag Metrics Group
  • New High Density Apple Plantings - San Luis Obispo & Salinas Stations
  • New Experimental Vineyard planted in the Monterey County Fog Belt
  • New Almond Orchard for on-site trials at Five Points Station near Fresno
High Density Apple Plantings: Pacific Ag Research (PAR) has two new high density apple test systems, one at its San Luis Obispo station, and one at its Salinas location (2022) in the fog belt near Castroville. These sites provide highly favorable environments for foliar diseases and uniform field test conditions. The plantings are unique to PAR and offer research managers a dependable high pressure fungal and bacterial test system.
Viticulture Expansion: On the same company property in the Salinas fog belt, a new experimental vineyard has also been established. This site has two disease-sensitive wine grape varietals growing under the highly challenging fungal disease conditions of the site.  With the 2021 addition of this coastal vineyard, PAR now has company viticultural research sites in four California counties (Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Fresno), with a total of six wine and table grape varietals.
Chenin Blanc grapes - viticulture expansion at Pacific Ag Research - Ag Metrics Group
Additional On-Station Almonds: At Pacific Ag’s Five Points station, a new almond planting was established for 2022 field trials. The new site contains the usual high-level security and company-managed inputs for on-station trials with high-value test substances.
Pacific Ag Research Almond plantings at Five Points Station - Ag Metrics Group
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<![CDATA[Michigan Ag Research: In the Midwest: Acreage Expansion, Equipment Acquisition, New Construction]]>Wed, 30 Jun 2021 07:00:00 GMThttp://www.agmetricsgroup.com/news-updates/michigan-ag-research-expansion
Michigan Ag Research logo - Ag Metrics Group

  • Additional 150 acres purchased by Michigan Ag Research
  • New heavy-duty New Holland tractors acquired this year
  • New laboratory, shop, and dormitory under construction
New 7,500 sq. ft. Laboratory, Dormitory & Shop
Land: We are proud to announce that Michigan Ag Research (MAR) is now over 200+ acres of irrigated and deer-fenced research farm land. With the addition of this new acreage, MAR can conduct much larger trials, provide more opportunities for crop rotational studies, and even fallow plots where protocols require.
Equipment: Michigan Ag has added two additional New Holland tractors to complete our fleet of light, medium, and heavy-duty tillage and spray tractors. The purchase now allows us to quickly install crop plantings for last-minute projects and to work around inclement weather.
New Holland HD tractors - Michigan Ag Research - Ag Metrics Group
Facilities: To advance toward our objective of having a best-in-class, office/lab campus at Albion, MAR is now in the final stages of construction of a massive 7,500 sq. ft. structure, which will include:
  • Specialized entomology lab facilities
  • Nematology soil extraction and microscopy rooms
  • Low humidity storage rooms for electronics and sensors 
  • Dormitory rooms allowing for on-site technician resources
  • Equipment shop for maintenance of tractors and implements
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<![CDATA[In the Southeast: Promotions and New Certifications of Staff and Facility at Florida Ag Research]]>Thu, 24 Jun 2021 21:27:41 GMThttp://www.agmetricsgroup.com/news-updates/ag-metrics-group-announces-new-hires-and-promotions-for-florida-ag-research
Florida Ag Research Logo - Ag Metrics Group
Frank Sances and Mark Keeley inside the new Insect Pollinator Lab at Florida Ag Research - Ag Metrics Group
Frank Sances and Mark Keeley inside the new Insect Pollinator Lab
  • Mark Keeley was promoted to Director of Regulatory (GLP) Services - Ag Metrics Group
  • Assistant Station Manager Charlie Boone is the Interim Station Manager for Central Florida
  • Kaleb Williams was promoted to Field Operations Manager
  • FAR is now a USDA-approved bio-safety containment facility (APHIS-PPQ/BRS Research)
We are happy to announce promotions and new talent at Florida Ag Research.

Mark Keeley has been promoted to Director of Regulatory Services - Ag Metrics Group, developing the corporation's GLP business nationally. Mark will complete the 2021 bio-efficacy season with FAR.
Assistant Station Manager Charlie Boone is the interim Station Manager. Charlie continues in his supervisory role overseeing the facility's land and labor resources for our Central Florida farms. As an Environmental Horticulturist, Charlie is particularly well-suited to manage FAR's extensive greenhouse, shadehouse, and microplot experimentation programs.
Kaleb Williams recently added his Certified Crop Advisor license to his Pesticide Research licenses and has now been promoted to Field Operations Manager. Kaleb grew up in agriculture and has independently farmed commercial vegetables for several years in Central Florida. Appropriately, he now manages all farming activities for station trials and off-site projects. He continues to oversee his farming and technical staff conducting test substance and trial maintenance applications. Kaleb also leads trial imaging, including drone overflights and colorimetric plot evaluations for field trials.
New for 2021!
Florida Ag now conducts Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense “Panama Disease” trials on banana.
Florida Ag Research  - Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense “Panama Disease” trials on banana
Panama Disease
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<![CDATA[Conventional and Novel Fungicide Efficacy for Controlling Pestalotiopsis in Florida Strawberry]]>Fri, 28 May 2021 07:00:00 GMThttp://www.agmetricsgroup.com/news-updates/conventional-and-novel-fungicide-efficacy-for-controlling-pestalotiopsis-in-florida-strawberryFlorida Ag Research Report
Frank Sances, Balaji Aglave, and Mark Keeley
Summary
Efficacy of various fungicide tank mixes which included combinations of Inspire and Rhyme, with Uptake, EnviroChlorite (DragonFire), Sportak 45 EC, AgroMos, and SoilSet are reported here for controlling Pestalotiopsis on strawberry. Plots were artificially infested with Pestalotiopsis and control on fruit and foliage, as well as yield effects, were assessed through the end of March.
Figure 1. Overview of Brilliance variety strawberries planted in Thonotosassa, FL. Plants were infested with Pestalotiopsis just prior to the first application of various tank mixes and fungicides.
​Experimental Design
Replicated plots were sprayed initially in mid-February to simulate grower conditions. Inoculated and noninoculated untreated check plots were included for reference and fungicide treatments included conventional and novel products applied alone or as tank mixes (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Treatment list applied once February 16, or February 16, February 23, and March 2.
​Results
Crop Response
No crop injury was observed with any fungicide treatment used. RapidSCAN remote sensing equipment was used to measure canopy greenness (NDVI) and density (NDRE). Plants treated with the three Rhyme or Uptake sprays, or a solo application of Sportak 45 EC had significantly lower plant health readings for both parameters.

Pestalotiopsis Control
Strawberry plants in the inoculated and uninoculated check plots had higher average Pestalotiopsis severity one week after the second application. Plots treated with tank mixes of fungicides plus surfactants tended to have lower disease severity than the fungicide only applications, and plots treated with Sportak 45 EC, was among the least infested of any treatment.

​Foliar fungal control, relative to the inoculated check, was highest for plants treated with three applications of tank mixes of Inspire and Uptake (78%, Figure 3), while EnviroChlorite provided the least control (7.6%).
Figure 3. Control, relative to the untreated check, for foliage and fruit. Average severity ratings over time (SAUDPC) were used to tabulate control with the Abbott’s formula.
​On fruit, differences among treatments were not statistically different from the untreated control (p=0.109). However, numerically treatments of AgroMos and SoilSet, whether alone or with Rhyme, as well as Rhyme alone, performed best for Pestalotiopsis control on fruit.

Botrytis was also present in the field, although infection was uniform among treatments with no significant control observed with any of these spray regimes.
Yield
Marketable, unmarketable, and diseased berries were counted and weighed from seven post-treatment harvests (Figure 4). Marketable and unmarketable totals were uniform among treatment. The fewest Pestalotiopsis-infected fruit yields came from plots treated with tank mixes of Inspire and Uptake, with under 0.3% infected total berries. Switch and EnviroChlorite did not perform as well as the other fungicides in this study, with the most infected fruit as a proportion of the total yield (almost 3%).

Estimated gross returns were calculated based on Florida returns for strawberries per the USDA market report. Returns to the grower were not statistically significant (p=0.58) among these fungicide treatments.
Figure 4. Total yield for marketable, unmarketable (misshapen, discolored), or Pestalotiopsis infested berries were counted for seven weekly harvests. Infected fruit yields were significantly higher for plots treated with EnviroChlorite, with 35 infected out of a total 1656 berries harvested.
Conclusions
Tank mixes of Inspire with Uptake applied three times resulted in the best control of Pestalotiopsis on plant foliage among the treatments tested, while EnviroChlorite applied alone was the least effective. Fruit yields however, were not significantly different among these treatments.
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