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December 9, 2013

Report shows big ROI for National Clean Plant Network
 

From Joe Bischoff at ANLA:

The National Clean Plant Network is a Farm Bill funded program. In 2008 it provided $20 million during the course of four years toward supporting 19 centers in 15 states to “clean” berry, hops, grape and fruit tree crops of any associated pest and pathogens. While there has been a general appreciation of the value in the federal investment, the first economic study evaluating the actual return on investment (ROI) was presented at the Nov. 18 Foundation Plant Services (FPS) annual meeting at University of California at Davis.

This particular study focused on wine grape growers in Sonoma and Napa counties in California. The findings, presented by Kate Fuller of the UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, suggest that growers who plant certified wine grapevines would benefit $0.30-0.47 per vine or $401-$616 per acre annually in comparison to estimated losses due to grapevine leafroll-3 virus infected vines.

If all growers in the region planted certified wine grape vines the benefit would translate to between $40.4 and $61.8 million per year those two counties – a return of six to ten times the investment.

The report, entitled, “The Benefits from Certified Virus-Free Nursery Stock: A Case Study of Grapevine Leafroll-3 in the North Coast Region of California” is available online.

For more: www.vinecon.ucdavis.edu

Photo Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org


 

Netafim supports troops with morale packs


Michael Giese, a customer service representative at irrigation manufacturer Netafim USA, led a company-wide campaign to prepare morale packs for troops at Forward Operating Base Wright in Asadabad, Afghanistan.

His fellow employees and local sponsors gathered more than 350 pounds of popular snacks, healthcare supplies, books and magazines, sporting goods, notebooks and more, and packed them in large cartons along 80 hand-written letters from students at Easterby Elementary School in Fresno.

“I was amazed how the community came together to support this effort,” said Giese. “No matter how we feel about the war, everyone wanted to support the troops.”

The soldiers at FOB Wright expressed their appreciation by sending Giese a U.S. flag that had flown over their base with a certificate of authenticity and a thank-you photo.
 


 

OSHA proposes rule tracking workplace injuries and illnesses


On Nov. 8, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register titled Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. OSHA’s proposed rule would amend its recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under OSHA’s regulations for recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses.
 


 

New micro water sensor can aid growers


From the Cornell Chronicle:

Crop growers, wine grape and other fruit growers, food processors and even concrete makers all benefit from water sensors for accurate, steady and numerous moisture readings. But current sensors are large, may cost thousands of dollars and often must be read manually.

Now, Cornell researchers have developed a microfluidic water sensor within a fingertip-sized silicon chip that is 100 times more sensitive than current devices. The researchers are now completing soil tests and will soon test their design in plants, embedding their “lab on a chip” in the stems of grapevines, for example. They hope to mass produce the sensors for as little as $5 each.

For more: bit.ly/CornellMicroSensor
 


 

Unlocking the keys to beneficials
 

From Southern SARE:

Entomologists with North Carolina State University have unlocked a few secrets in the life cycle of a tiny beneficial wasp that parasitizes stinkbug eggs. The findings increase the potential for biological control of stinkbugs, reducing the need for insecticides.

Sriyanka Lahiri, a NCSU graduate student, received a Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) Graduate Student Grant to study the overwintering and nutrition requirements of Telenomus podisi – a minute parasitic wasp that kills stinkbug embryos in egg masses and replaces them with its own young. NCSU associate professor David Orr was also a project participant.

For more: bit.ly/BeneficialWasp

Brown marmorated stink bug photo: David R. Lance, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org;
 


 

Albano to lead ANLA/HRI research programs


Joseph Albano joined the ANLA staff in November to direct research programs for the ANLA and the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI). Joseph comes to ANLA and HRI from the USDA-ARS-U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory (USHRL) located in Fort Pierce, Fla., where he has served as Research Horticulturist for over 14 years.

His prior research has focused on plant nutrition, water quality and conservation, and alternative substrates.

For more: www.hriresearch.org
 


 

Breadfruit confirmed as mosquito repellent


Breadfruit, used as a folk remedy in Pacific regions to control insects, is an effective mosquito repellent, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their collaborators at the University of British Columbia in Okanagan, Canada, identified three breadfruit compounds—capric, undecanoic and lauric acids—that act as insect repellents. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.

For more: bit.ly/NMbreadfruit