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14 Jun

Pythium Efficacy Summary from IR-4

At the IR-4 Ornamental Horticulture Program Workshop in 2009, Pythium Efficacy was selected as a high priority project to expand the knowledge and list of fungicides available to growers for these diseases. In addition to research collected through the IR-4 program, this summary includes a review of experiments conducted from 1999 to 2013 on ornamental horticulture and vegetable crops. During this time period, numerous products representing 38 active ingredients were tested as drench, foliar or soil applications against several Pythium species causing root rot and damping-off on ornamentals, and root rot, cottony leak, damping-off and cavity spot on vegetables. Pythium species tested included: P. aphanidermatum, P. irregulare, P. mamillatum, P. dissotocum, P. myriotylum, P. ultimum and P. vipa. Most trials were conducted on P. aphanidermatum and P. ultimum. Although there were insufficient data for definitive conclusions, several relatively new products that are included in the Pythium efficacy project looked promising. These were Adorn, Disarm, Fenstop, Heritage and Pageant. V-10208 also looked promising. The phosphorus acids/phosphorus acid generators (Agri-Fos, Alude, K-Phite, Magellan, Phostrol or Vital) provided mix results. Acibenzolar, BW240 and CG100 were generally ineffective. The established standards Subdue Maxx and Terrazole/Truban generally performed well. Conversely, the registered biological products Companion/QRD 713, PlantShield/RootShield and SoilGard generally looked ineffective. The data from these trials suggest that the effectiveness of some fungicides in controlling Pythium root rot may vary, depending on the species of Pythium or crop.


Are Biocontrols Compatible With Insecticides And Fungicides?

11 Jun

From Greenhouse Growers:

As an article from the Ontario Ministry of Food And Agriculture states, “The Holy Grail for an IPM Manager: a pesticide that controls all pests and is completely compatible with all biocontrol agents (BCAs). Obviously, it’s not going to happen.”

Some products can be used with biocontrols and some can’t. Biocontrol suppliers have shared the following links to help you make the right choices for using traditional controls in conjunction with biocontrols.

Syngenta’s Integrated Crop Guide
To learn about how Syngenta products can be used along with biological control agents, download this free integrated crop management guide.

Koppert Side Effects Guide
Detailed information about the compatibility of pesticides with most beneficials and the persistence of a possible harmful effect.

BioWorks NemaShield Compatibility Chart

BioWorks RootShield Compatibility Chart

BioWorks CEASE Compatibility Chart

Becker Underwood Compatibility Chart
For the company’s beneficial nematode products

Biobest Side Effects Manual
The Biobest side effects manual incorporates results from the Biobest Green Lab’s extensive compatibility studies, as well as published data and new legislative regulations. This list is based on all crop protection products available on the market.

Biobest Side Effects App For iPhone

Biobest Side Effects App For Android


Pediatricians back organics

31 Oct

“Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages “. Pediatrics 2012;130:e1406–e1415

The US market for organic foods has grown from $3.5 billion in 1996 to $28.6 billion in 2010, according to the Organic Trade Association. Organic
products are now sold in specialty stores and conventional supermarkets. Organic products contain numerous marketing claims and terms, only some of which are standardized and regulated. In terms of health advantages, organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease. Organic farming has been demonstrated to have less environmental impact than conventional approaches. However, current evidence does not support any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits from eating organic compared with conventionally grown
foods, and there are no well-powered human studies that directly demonstrate health benefits or disease protection as a result of consuming an organic diet. Studies also have not demonstrated any detrimental or disease-promoting effects from an organic diet.

Although organic foods regularly command a significant price premium, well-designed farming studies demonstrate that costs can be competitive and yields comparable to those of conventional farming techniques. Pediatricians should incorporate this evidence when discussing the health and environmental impact of organic foods and organic farming while continuing to encourage all patients and their families to attain optimal nutrition and dietary variety consistent with the US Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate recommendations. This clinical report reviews the health and environmental issues related to organic food production and consumption. It defines the term “organic,” reviews organic food-labeling standards, describes organic and conventional farming practices, and explores the cost and environmental implications of organic production techniques. It examines the evidence available on nutritional quality and production contaminants in conventionally produced and organic foods. Finally, this report provides guidance for pediatricians to assist them in advising their patients regarding organic and conventionally produced food choices. Pediatrics 2012;130:e1406–e1415

A mother-forker’s view on organic research

1 Oct

Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You on NPR raised a lot of questions among listeners and here’s my 2 cents.

From NPR.

I became mother-forker since I put first spoonful of solid food in my son’s mouth (hey, you have to admit that ‘mother-forker’ will attract a lot more eyeballs than ‘mother-spooner’). I started to buy food, as organic as I could. Actually, before that—-when I first found out I was pregnant. The only reason that I didn’t ‘convert’ 100% to organic food was only because of the availability, thanks to the small college towns I’ve been living in.

I don’t give a whole lot cr** (credential or others) about research on whether organic food is healthier for you.

No. 1—-research done on human being  could barely be considered as ‘scientific (at least not enough) research’, compared to plant research. I have a PhD in plant sciences. When we conducted different treatments on plants, we normally require at least 5 replication of each data point. If we want to see effect of organic treatments (e.g. conventional and organic I, II, and III), we’ll have at least 4*5=20 plants. In plant research, we have the luxury of using identical clonal plants, from tissue culture. At the end of the treatments, we have the luxury of ‘harvesting’ (killing) the plants, dry them, and ground them before putting them through various machines to look ‘inside’ of a plant, anywhere we want.

Was any of the human research conducted on 20 identical twins? Think about the difference between you and your brother/sister—-could you really draw something as conclusive from that? Was any of the experimental object ‘harvested’ to measure the outcome (forgiving me saying this)? Yeah, I guess blood was drawn (or something more invasive) during human research, but probably not to the extent as in plant research where we could harvest every organ and the whole thing to get the full picture.

No. 2—-as a scientist, we should always be aware of our own limitation—–not being able to find organic food is healthier is different from finding that organic food is not healthier. The same is true about pesticides/drugs/etc.—- not being able to find pesticides/drugs/etc . is dangerous to human and environment is different from finding that pesticides/drugs/etc. is NOT dangerous. How many times has EPA cancelled certain pesticides  or has FDA revoked its approval of certain drugs ?

Do I really need to continue? Or right, we haven’t even touched the environmental issues yet.

USDA SCEP—P.R.China trip

26 Jul

The first one, sponsored by USDA SCEP—P.R.China, was officially over when my teammates flied back to US on the 2nd. During this trip, we met students, entrepreneurs, officials and professors, among many others, from

China Ministry of Ag.,

China Academy of Agricultural Sciences,

China Agriculture University,

Shanghai and Zhejiang Department of Ag,

Shanghai and Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences,

Zhejiang University Experiment Station and Extension Service,

China Academy of Sciences Chenshang Botanical Garden in Shanghai,

Horticulture crops production enterprises in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhejiang.

We took LOTS of pictures—-plants and food, which I will share with y’all in the future.

What did we learn from this trip?

There’s huge development in China. Many places that we visited were newly-built with the newest being 1 month old.

Huge investment in agriculture. The government has many incentives to encourage agriculture. For instance, one of the local agriculture service center has ‘high tunnel’ cost share program (20% cost share for multi-bays), which is similar to the NRCS high tunnel cost share program. Another thing worth mentioning is that any farm-related income, retail or wholesale, on- or off-farm, is tax free.

Miles of high tunnels (used as rain shelters) when we drive around Kunming, Yunnan Province. All sort of horticulture crops (mainly vegetables and cut flowers) are grown in high tunnels.

Huge development in ag-tourism in major cities (like Beijing, Shanghai or Hangzhou), which is enjoyed by both city and country folks.

Jinyuan Flower in Kunming, Yunnan Province—-Cut flower provider for the 2010 Shanghai Expo—-is an enterprise established in 2008 with an investment of RMB700M, total area of 7,000mu (1 acre = 6 mu) and annual gross income of RMB400M.

Huge improvement potential in ornamental production and landscape service, among many other things.

Bagged pears for better quality from Wanjiahuan—-an ag-tourism enterprise featuring mountain view landscape, restaurant cooking with local produce and pick-your-own orchards (cherry, blueberry, nectarine, plum, peach, apricot, pears, apple, and Myrica rubra).


Blueberry growers be aware: 3rd year blueberry plants in Wangjiahuan.

Ornamental research @Huazhong Ag. Univ.

24 Jul

College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences, HAU at Wuhan, Hebei Province.

Dr. Caiyun Wang was our host during our visit in Wuhan, Hubei Province (July 5-8, 2012). She’s my ‘big school sister’ (Chinese way of saying ‘alumnus’) from Beijing Forestry University, working as the principal investigator of the Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology in the College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences at Huazhong Agriculture University.

Dr. Caiyun Wang and her group.

Dr. Wang was a great host during my first visit in 2010, which was part of the reason that Wuhan was part of this year’s itinerary. So what’s a principal investigator of the Ministry of Education Key Laboratory in China? First, count how many graduate students working in the lab. These are not only her graduate students—-they’re her kids too. From the way they interact with each other, you could tell that they LOVE her.

Her research covers many areas of many ornamental crops.

Molecular and cytological breeding technology for Chrysanthemum and Pyrethrum.

In-vitro regeneration and transformation of hydrangea and hypericum; Research on the dendrobium’s key technology for safe and efficient production.

Postharvest physiology and molecular biology of Osmanthus fragrans.

Photoperiod control & drought resistance.