Florida

How Soils Behave When We Grow Cover Crops

BELLE GLADE, Florida – Florida vegetable farmers who grow cover crops as a green manure between their cash crops anecdotally tout the health benefits, but a two-year study by University of Florida has provided the research to back it up. In a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, University of Florida […]

Grafting Can Help Control Diseases in Organic High Tunnel Tomatoes

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Grafting can help control diseases in organically grown high tunnel tomatoes, according to the results of a University of Florida study. In the study, funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, specialty tomatoes grafted onto two disease-resistant rootstocks effectively managed Fusarium wilt and improved the overall […]

Look to a Trap Crop-Cover Crop Mix as an IPM Strategy in Vegetable Production

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Vegetable farmers looking to curtail pesticide use may find alternative pest management strategies in the form of a trap crop/cover crop mix. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant, University of Florida researchers studied the application of African Marigold (Tagetes erecta) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) for Integrated […]

University of Florida Researchers Expanding the Cover Crop Toolbox for Farmers

HAWTHORNE, Florida – Several new cover crop varieties that have the potential to overcome the limitations of their commercial counterparts are being targeted for use in Florida to provide farmers with a more diverse selection of plants that excel in soil health, weed suppression and pest management. A small group of farmers, Extension agents and […]

Adding Flowering Plants to Strawberry Fields to Enhance Pest Management and Biodiversity

WIMAUMA, Florida — Over the last few years, Florida strawberry growers have been faced with declining market prices, increased global competition, and suspected and documented cases of insecticide resistance. In addition, growing concerns for overall environmental health have increased as we see trends of habitat loss and declining biodiversity, specifically of natural enemies and pollinators. […]

Fewer Greenhouse Gases Released When Cattle Graze on Legume-rich Grass Pastures Compared to Nitrogen Fertilized Pastures

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Beef cattle that graze on legume-enriched grass pastures release fewer greenhouse gases compared with the typical nitrogen fertilization regimes in the Southeastern U.S., based on the limited results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE)-funded study at University of Florida. The results offer a sustainable grazing management alternative for those […]

Some Invasive Trees are Good for Mushroom Production

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Some non-native invasive trees in the Southeast have proven to be ideal substrates for growing edible mushrooms, according to the results of a USDA Agricultural Research Service study funded by a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant. USDA-ARS researcher Stephen Hight, in collaboration with small farmers in southern […]

Cover Crops Acting as Trap Crops Protect Vegetables from Pests

LIVE OAK, Florida – For farmers in central Florida, planting cover crops in strips as a trap crop alongside cash crops is proving to be a highly effective method for attracting beneficial insects and controlling pests. Farmers have been so pleased with the results that they have fully adopted the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy […]

A Natural Method of Reducing Post-Harvest Fruit Decay Found

FORT PIERCE, Florida – University of Florida researchers, through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education grant, have found a natural method of reducing post-harvest citrus fruit decay. In a SSARE Graduate Student Grant study, researchers found that essential oils, specifically carvacrol and thymol, significantly decrease ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit natural decay, weight loss and chilling […]

Cover Crops Reduce Pest Numbers and Improve Cash Crop Yields

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Preliminary research from University of Florida has found that incorporating root-knot nematode-resistant cover crops in a perennial peanut rotation reduces pest numbers in the cash crop and improves yields. The results may be helpful for producers who choose top-yielding, yet susceptible, peanut cultivars, as well as resistant cultivars that historically carry a […]

Perennial Peanuts Shine as N Fertilizer Alternatives in Forage Production

MARIANNA, Florida – Perennial peanuts incorporated in forage grass production, such as bermudagrass and bahiagrass, continue to shine as nitrogen fertilizer alternatives to commercial inputs, according to University of Florida research. Based on the results of a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant, warm-season perennial legumes, in some cases, reduced nitrogen […]

Principles of Sustainable Agriculture

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Taking charge of change, building community relationships, recognizing resource limitations, striving for a high-quality product, and balancing passion with practical business sense are just some principles that tend to make a farmer a role model in sustainable agriculture practices. University of Florida researchers took the knowledge and expertise of agricultural professionals and […]

Cover Crops Can Help Control Pests by Fostering Natural Enemies

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Cover crops used as refuge crops in vegetable production can control insect pests by fostering populations of natural enemies and competitor non-virus vectoring species, based on the results of USDA-ARS research. Research entomologists Stephen Hight with the USDA-ARS Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit in Florida, and Stuart Reitz with Oregon State […]

Expanding the IPM Toolbox to Fight Spotted Wing Drosophila

GAINESVILLE, Florida – University of Florida researchers are expanding the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) toolbox for blueberry growers fighting the spotted wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) – a destructive pest of small fruit crops. Through a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant (GS12-114), entomology graduate student Lindsy Iglesias, along with professor Oscar […]

Whole-Farm Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Video Series

If you want to know the best ways to manage pests via integrated pest management, you can find all of the information you need in a series of video modules created by University of Florida IFAS Extension faculty. These IPM strategy modules are targeted for those looking to implement IPM strategies either on a whole-farm or whole-landscape level.

Integrating Perennial Peanut into Grass Pastures

GAINESVILLE, Florida — Rhizoma peanut (commonly known as perennial peanut) is a warm-season perennial legume well adapted to Florida. It has high digestibility (65-75%) and crude protein concentrations (15-20%), that can really boost livestock performance. Integrating rhizoma peanut into bahiagrass pastures can almost double livestock performance, compared to bahiagrass alone (Figure 1). Rhizoma peanut also […]

Biocontrol Methods for Protecting Honeybees Against Pests

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Research from Florida A&M University has found that fungal pathogens can effectively and economically control the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) – an invasive pest of honeybees – while maintaining colony health. The results pave the way for more environmentally friendly biological controls in a pest management program. Through a Southern Sustainable […]

Using Cover Crops for Pest Management on Small Farms

LIVE OAK, Florida – Two small farmers in Live Oak, Florida are partnering with University of Florida Extension to determine how cover crops can be used to manage insect pests. In a newly funded Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) On-Farm Research Grant, “Establishing and Evaluating Selected Cover Crops on Small Farms to Increase […]

Finding a Fit for Native Pollinators in North Florida Sustainable Farm Management

GAINESVILLE, Florida – Natural landscapes surrounding North-central Florida farms may influence native pollinator diversity along with on-farm vegetation management, according to preliminary results of a University of Florida study. The findings may be useful to farmers interested in encouraging the number and types of native bees that visit their farms. Rosalyn Johnson, a graduate student […]

Techniques for Melon Grafting

A fact sheet developed by University of Florida that introduces commonly used grafting techniques to help farmers interested in grafting melon plants achieve a high-graft survival rate.