Specialty crop block grants back fruit research
The USDA announced a new round of Specialty Crop Block Grants in early October. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said USDA will invest about $55 million in 55 specialty crop block grants to states and territories that will fund 740 initiatives.
About 80 percent of the funds go for competitive grants, many supporting research. The rest goes for state programs, mostly marketing related.
Tree fruit and grape research will receive support in several statesthat produce fruit commercially.
In New York State, $1.06 million was awarded. Cornell University will receive grants for the following amounts and projects:
—$79,998 for managing Japanese beetle in vineyards by reducing grub populations in sod row middles using persistent entomopathogenic (insect-attacking) nematodes.
—$77,200 for biological control of plum curculio in organic apples production systems using insect-attacking nematodes.
—$78,897 to develop a monitoring, scouting, and damage assessment tool for brown marmorated stink bug.
—$80,000 to perfect the carbohydrate supply/demand model as a predictor of the chemical thinning response in apples.
—$49,932 for testing budwood for latent fireblight bacteria to prevent infection in new plantings.
In Michigan, $1.35 million was awarded for 25 projects. Michigan State University researchers will receive support to:
—Increase the longevity of vineyards by identifying causes of grapevine decline and establishing DNA-based tests for grapevine virus and phytoplasma diseases.
—Study the concept of usingf x-ray-computed tomography scanning technology to identify pits and insects in processed tart cherries.
—Identify key invasion fronts for brown marmorated stinkbug and find controls that fit into integrated pest management programs.
—Investigate the effects of temperature, light, and yield on Concord grape antioxidant capacity and the accumulation of polyphenols by evaluating the effect of canopy management techniques.
A grant was also made to Peterson Farms, Shelby, Michigan, a fruit processing company, to evaluate land application of processing plant wastewater, using spray irrigation, and generate scientific data on loading rates, irrigation scheduling, and general management, especially during winter.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture won support for 21 projects in the amount of $3.1 million. See related article.