Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center
6321 Holland Road
Suffolk, VA 23437
Office Phone: (757) 657-6450 ext. 413
Laboratory Phone: (757) 657-6450 x 428
Interests are focused primarily on diseases of peanut, cotton, soybean, small grain, and corn because of the importance of these crops in eastern Virginia. Goals are to develop and implement disease management strategies that are safe, effective, and profitable while posing little or no risk of harm to the environment, farm workers or the general public. Priority is given to developing strategies that require a minimum of pesticide input and make a positive contribution towards the goals of integrated pest management (IPM). Research interests include disease forecasting, and reducing the cost and rate of pesticides with new chemistry, cultural practices, disease resistant varieties, sanitation, and biological control.
The Peanut/Cotton InfoNet and the Peanut Hotline (1-800-795-0700) are outreach programs conducted annually and used widely by growers for monitoring soil temperatures during planting, seasonal heat units and rainfall for growth of peanut and cotton, weather-based disease advisories for control of peanut leaf spot and Sclerotinia blight, and risk advisories for freeze damage at harvest. Weather-based advisories were estimated to save peanut growers three sprays of fungicides for control of leaf spot or 1.035 million dollars on 23,000 acres in 2008. Sclerotinia blight advisories provide early warnings of favorable conditions for disease outbreaks, and improve the efficiency of scouting and making timely applications of fungicide. In addition, a condensed summary of peanut disease and frost advisories are recorded for access through the Peanut Hotline. Both the Peanut/Cotton InfoNet and the Peanut Hotline are updated daily from April through October.
Soybean sentinel plots and commercial fields are monitored annually for early detection of soybean rust, tracking disease spread, and recommending timely applications of fungicide sprays in cooperation with Drs. Rideout, Stromberg, and Holshouser. Through this team effort, soybean rust was detected at initial onset in the Tidewater area of Virginia on October 10, 19, and 1 in 2006, 2007, and 2008, respectively. Thereafter, sampling confirmed the disease in 18 counties in 2006, 8 counties in 2007, and 8 counties in 2008. Fungicide sprays for control of soybean rust in Virginia were not recommended in any of these years because the crop had surpassed the full seed stage (R6) before disease outbreaks. Up to date reports of findings on incidence of common diseases and soybean rust are reported on the USDA IPMPIPE site for nationwide access by growers and industry workers.
Results of field trials each year are published online as Virginia Tech - Cooperative Extension Publications and Plant Disease Management Reports published by the American Phytopathological Society. Recent outreach has included publication of three chapters in a multi-state Soybean Rust Bulletin, articles in Virginia-Carolina Peanut News, and talks at field tours and on-farm demonstrations of peanut, cotton, corn, soybean and wheat disease control. In-service training is presented annually to extension agents on disease management in field crops at the Tidewater AREC. The Diagnostic Clinic under my direction at the Tidewater AREC processes up to 150 plant specimens for continued support of IPM programs in eastern Virginia.
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