Dr. Bhabesh Dutta
The purpose of this blog is to keep our clientele informed with current disease updates on vegetable crops. Through this blog, Dr. Dutta would also like to provide current spray guide and management recommendations on important vegetable diseases. His extension program at the University of Georgia focuses on the management of the multitude of plant diseases that affect over 20 different vegetable crops produced in Georgia. Dr. Dutta’s research efforts focus on Fusarium wilt of watermelon (Fusarium oxysporumf. sp. niveum), gummy stem blight of watermelon (Stagonosporopsis citrulli), bacterial spot of pepper (Xanthomonas euvesicatoria), black rot of cabbage (X. campestris pv. campestris), and a complex of bacterial diseases of onion. The research efforts include monitoring strains for fungicide resistance and gaining a better understanding on the ecology of bacterial pathogens. This information will be used to develop novel management practices ranging from the use of nanotechnology-formulated pesticides to how best fertilize plants with micronutrients that up-regulate superoxide dismutases and other enzymes associated with the systemic acquired resistance pathway in plants.
Dr. Tim Coolong
Dr. Coolong’s program focuses on serving the vegetable industry in Georgia by conducting outreach and applied research focusing on innovative tactics for vegetable production. The fresh vegetable industry in Georgia is large and diverse, growing a wide-array of crops on a commercial scale. As such, his program interests are varied and include irrigation and fertility management, plasticulture systems, postharvest evaluation, and germplasm evaluation in more than a dozen crops. Crops to be researched include: watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, squash, sweet corn, snap beans, kale, cabbage, broccoli, onion, pepper, and tomato. He partners with faculty in several departments to take an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems facing vegetable growers in Georgia. Prior to coming to the University of Georgia in 2013, he spent 6 years at the University of Kentucky as the state vegetable specialist. While there he focused on a variety of topics ranging from irrigation and tillage management to organic farming and high tunnel production, with clientele ranging from urban gardening/agriculture to large-scale commercial growers.
Dr. Alton Sparks
Dr. Sparks’s applied research and educational programs focus on vegetable insect management designed specifically for conditions in Georgia. The primary purpose is to provide educational programs and materials to County Extension Agents and producers to improve vegetable production systems to maximize economic returns while maintaining environmental integrity, production sustainability, produce quality and worker safety. In vegetable insect pest management, his team emphasize cultural practices to reduce the potential for pest problems in conjunction with insecticides as needed. He conducts applied research with research counterparts to evaluate new technology and management programs under local production conditions and to provide the most up-to-date insect pest management options. Although his primary focus is the local producer, cooperative efforts with Georgia Department of Agriculture and other agencies help sustain quality vegetable production in Georgia and surrounding states.