College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

UGA graduate research on display at south Georgia event

Posted on
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Kiran Gadhave speaks about his research with Joe West

The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Graduate School jointly hosted a graduate research event, focusing specifically on research conducted in south Georgia.

The reception, held Thursday, March 17, at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, recognized 11 current graduate students who represented UGA’s campuses in Athens, Griffin and Tifton, Georgia, as well as the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation's Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Georgia. All of the student-scientists presented their research projects and spoke with invited guests about their work.

Among them was Shannon Parrish, who is pursuing a master’s degree in crop and soil sciences from CAES. Her research focuses on cotton’s sustainability in Georgia.

“As a graduate student, being able to present research (that) you have worked on is always exciting. With each presentation, I look forward to educating others on the importance of determining cotton’s sustainability in Georgia,” Parrish said. “I hope everyone I spoke to comes away from our encounter with an understanding of how vital cotton is to the state and the need for documenting the crop’s environmental footprint.”

Other UGA graduate students at the event and their areas of study include:

–Kiran Gadhave (CAES), studying plant-vector-virus interactions.

UGA’s presence felt at Sunbelt Agricultural Expo

Posted on
Monday, October 24, 2016

University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead and other university administrators celebrated the opening of the 2016 Sunbelt Agricultural Expo by visiting the opening day of the three-day trade show Oct. 18 in Moultrie. 

This is the fourth consecutive year Morehead has taken part in the Expo festivities since becoming president of UGA in 2013. As he has in previous years, Morehead toured the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences building at Spence Field where he spoke with student ambassadors and visited with key agricultural leaders in Georgia.

"I always enjoy returning to South Georgia for this exciting event and seeing firsthand the critical role that the University of Georgia plays in supporting the state of Georgia's agriculture industry," Morehead said. "Coming to Sunbelt is a highlight of mine every year, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to show support for our wonderful College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences."

UGA food science student looks to composting to help protect peanut from aflatoxin contamination

Posted on
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Esther Akoto working with composting barrels

For millennia, farmers used compost to return nutrients to depleted soil. Now researchers are searching for a way composting can help battle aflatoxin.

Ghana native Esther Yeboah Akoto, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in food science and technology at the University of Georgia, is working to help farmers diminish aflatoxin contamination in their soil by composting field waste.

“We know that composting has been around for a very long time. It’s a technique that growers have used for thousands of years,” said Akoto, who is conducting her research in conjunction with U.S. Feed the Future's Peanut Mycotoxin and Innovation Lab at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“More recently, we know about aflatoxin and its effect on health. Could composting provide a way to remove aflatoxin-contaminated produce from the food supply?”

Researchers around the world are working to minimize naturally occurring molds that can grow on peanuts, maize and other crops. Those molds diminish the quality of peanut crops and generate mycotoxins such as aflatoxin, a dangerous compound that can cause physical and mental stunting in children, cause cancer and, in high doses, even kill. Obviously, the most effective intervention is to minimize mold growth in the field and in storage, but farmers may never completely get rid of something as ubiquitous as mold.

Large population of fall armyworms hits Georgia hay fields

Posted on
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Growth chamber with various stages of fall armyworms

Georgia farmers are never surprised to see fall armyworms munching on their precious corn, sorghum and forage hay crops. They just hope for a low number of armyworms. This year’s population of the tiny destroyers, described as an “Armageddon-type outbreak” by University of Georgia entomologist David Buntin, is far from low.

A small grains pest expert with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Buntin spends his days tracking insects that can destroy Georgia row crops and working to determine the best methods of controlling them and establishing pesticide thresholds, or the number of insects that need to be present before a farmer should apply a pesticide.

“This year, the fall armyworms are way, way above the treatment threshold. They are here in much, much higher numbers,” he said. “As of the end of August, almost every pasture in central and north Georgia has been sprayed at least once and, for many of them, twice.”

Each year, the worms migrate up from the Caribbean and Florida. This year, they showed up early in corn and sorghum fields. Now they are in pastures earlier than normal.

Researchers with the UGA CAES brought in $69 million in external funding during fiscal year 2016

Posted on
Friday, August 12, 2016
Esther van der Knaap inspects a plant in a UGA greenhouse

Researchers at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences broke records in fiscal year 2016 with $69 million in external funding to fuel college projects.

From research plots across Georgia to state-of-the-art laboratories in Athens, Tifton and Griffin, CAES faculty members use this funding for research to support Georgia’s $74.3 billion agricultural industry and improve the food security and health of people around the world.

“This (achievement) was only possible because of the extraordinary efforts of our dedicated faculty, staff and graduate students,” said Sam Pardue, dean and director of CAES. “We’re proud of their creativity, their hard work and their commitment to identifying solutions to the challenges that face Georgia, our nation and the world.”

CAES’s external research funding totals helped contribute to a record-breaking year for research funding across the university.

In fiscal year 2016, research expenditures at UGA increased by 14 percent to reach $175.3 million. UGA's dramatic increase in fiscal year 2016 comes on the heels of a 7 percent increase in fiscal year 2015 for a 21 percent rise over the past two years.

UGA turfgrass research highlighted at Griffin Campus field day

Posted on
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Clint Waltz speaks to a group at Turfgrass Research Field Day

More than 800 people braved the hot August temperatures for a firsthand glimpse of the latest research by University of Georgia scientists at the Turfgrass Research Field Day held Thursday, Aug. 4, on the UGA campus in Griffin, Georgia.

“UGA serves as the research and education arm for the green industry in this state,” said Clint Waltz, UGA Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist and one of the organizers of the field day event. “This field day keeps those in the green industry current and provides the continued education they need to remain profitable and able to provide the best quality products for golf courses, commercial lawns, homeowners’ lawns, parks, recreational sports fields and professional sports fields.”

In the morning, green industry professionals rotated through a series of 12-minute talks by scientists from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Topics included the latest research on turfgrass weed management, cultivar development and the application of pesticides while protecting pollinating insects.

Self-guided tours in the afternoon included a demonstration on proper pesticide storage and handling, advice on the best fungicides for turfgrass disease control and sessions led by CAES turfgrass graduate students.

Francisco Diez is new director of UGA Center for Food Safety

Posted on
Friday, August 5, 2016
Dr. Francisco Diez Gonzalez

For years, food scientist Francisco Diez studied and admired the work of University of Georgia Regents’ Professor Mike Doyle, but the two researchers’ paths never crossed. For the next year, they will work closely together as Diez transitions into Doyle’s role as director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Georgia. Doyle, a leading authority on foodborne pathogens, came to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1991 to establish the center. As director, he developed a research program that promotes collaboration among the food industry, the university, and federal and state agencies.

A native of Mexico, Diez earned a bachelor’s degree in food technology from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, and completed master’s and doctoral degrees in food science at Cornell University in New York. He comes to UGA from the University of Minnesota, where he was a faculty member and head of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. His research focuses on the family of pathogens known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli, an important cause of food contamination and foodborne illness.

Upcoming field day to showcase UGA research

Posted on
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Tim Grey speaks during the Plains field day held in 2014

An upcoming field day on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the University of Georgia Southwest Georgia Research and Education Center (SWERC) in Plains, Georgia, will showcase cutting-edge agriculture research to farmers, UGA Cooperative Extension county agents and industry personnel.

Scientists representing UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the Tifton and Griffin campuses will be discussing projects on Georgia's high-value agricultural crops, such as cotton, peanuts, corn and sorghum.

“This field day is important because the local farmers, agricultural businessmen and county Extension agents get a chance to see, firsthand, the research conducted here and talk with the specialists who will be speaking about their research,” said Stan Jones, SWERC superintendent.

The field day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with opening remarks from Jones and Joe West, assistant dean of the UGA Tifton Campus, who also oversees the SWREC in Plains. The program, which will conclude at noon, will include remarks from UGA scientists regarding insect management, fungicide treatments and statewide variety testing in cotton, peanuts and soybeans.

UGA turfgrass research field day just weeks away

Posted on
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
A herbicide trial on the turfgrass research plots at UGA-Griffin

Whether you're a homeowner, new landscape company owner or a veteran golf course superintendent, you'll find the latest research-based information on growing and maintaining turfgrass at the University of Georgia Turfgrass Research Field Day.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. on Aug. 4 and tours begin at 9:15 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m. The daylong event will be held rain or shine on the turfgrass research plots at the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga.

Residential and commercial lawn topics

UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researchers and Extension specialists will present the latest information on how to care for residential lawns, commercial golf courses, athletic fields and any other space covered with turfgrass. Field day topics will include how to control weeds, insects and diseases, managing seed heads, heat and drought tolerance and an update on the UGA turfgrass breeding programs.

Guided tours will be offered in Spanish for Spanish-speaking attendees.

The field day is certified for private and commercial pesticide recertification credits in Georgia and neighboring states. A license number is required to receive the field day credits.

A catered BBQ lunch will be followed by displays and demonstrations of the latest turfgrass industry equipment. The self-guided portion of the research tour begins at 1:15 p.m.

UGA scientist Kris Braman named head of university's entomology department

Posted on
Monday, July 25, 2016
Dr. Kris Braman

Twenty-seven years after joining the faculty as a fledgling researcher, University of Georgia professor Kris Braman has been named the head of the university’s Department of Entomology.

“The entomology department at the University of Georgia is highly ranked and widely recognized for the strength and balance of its programs in core areas,” said Braman, whose appointment was effective July 1.

As the new department head, Braman sees the entomology program continuing to address current and emerging priorities in the discipline in a way that meets the needs of agricultural, urban and industry clientele.

A native of New York state, she earned a undergraduate degree in forestry at the State University of New York (SUNY) and a doctorate in entomology from the University of Kentucky.

“All SUNY forestry students were required to take entomology because insects are so important in managing forest health,” she said. “I was hooked for life before I was out of my teens!”

Braman joined the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty in 1989, working on the college’s campus in Griffin, Georgia. Since then she has conducted research on pests and beneficial insects of turfgrasses and ornamentals in urban settings.