Research News

  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Weed Science
  • Research
  • Turfgrass and Weed Science
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In addition to building and maintaining roads, the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) mows grass and kills weeds that obstruct drivers’ views. A University of Georgia scientist has created an app to help DOT agronomists kill weeds quicker, using less chemicals.

Patrick McCullough, a weed scientist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, decided to create the Georgia Roadside Management app after Georgia DOT officials approached him for help.

“The biggest problem they have is fighting invasive weed species, like broomsedge, vaseygrass and Johnsongrass. They are major species, and they are spreading, increasing maintenance costs and, more importantly, reducing safety for motorists,” said McCullough, a UGA researcher based on the campus in Griffin, Georgia.

Ray Dorsey, Georgia DOT agronomist manager, says tall weeds, like Johnsongrass, and invasive weeds, like kudzu, create “sight and distance problems,” especially at driveways and intersections.

“When we do road building, the contractors are required to replace the grass. Our permanent grasses of choice are bahiagrass and bermudagrass because they can help choke out weeds,” he said.

  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
  • Cooperative Extension
  • Research
  • Backyard Farming
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Bob Westerfield spends his days growing vegetables and watching for problems. As University of Georgia Extension’s consumer vegetable horticulturist, he answers questions from backyard gardeners and Extension agents across the state. In the summer months, most of the questions are about tomatoes.

“I’d say 90 out of 100 vegetable calls I get in the summer are about tomatoes,” said Westerfield. “I’m not a huge fan of eating fresh tomatoes, but those who do say the fresh-grown taste is incredible. I want to love to eat them, but I just don’t like them. But I will eat them cooked, and I love ketchup.”

Plant second crop, or first, now

With Georgia’s long summer growing season, Westerfield says it’s not too late to “grab some transplants and put them in the ground” and enjoy your own homegrown tomato harvest.

“Some folks planted tomatoes early and are pulling tomatoes now. On my farm, we stagger our plantings, so that we have some tomatoes that are almost red and some just in the blooming stage,” he said.

When planting tomatoes, Westerfield says you have to keep your personal preference in mind when selecting a variety. What do you plan to do with the tomatoes? Do you want something easy tomatoes to eat fresh or ones to use for canning?

  • Research
  • Center for Food Safety
  • FoodPIC
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Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black came to Griffin on June 19 for a tour of the campus. The tour included updates on existing projects between Georgia Tech researchers and UGA Center for Food Safety scientists and research on parasites, pathogens on cantaloupes and an antimicrobial food rinse developed by CFS Director Michael Doyle and research scientist Tong Zhao. The guests also sampled Georgia blueberries in the sensory lab and heard updates on blueberry and poultry projects conducted in the Food Innovation and Commercialization Center. University System of Georgia Regent and local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tommy Hopkins organized and attended the tour. State Representative David Knight was also on hand participating in campus tour.

  • Research
  • PGRCU
  • USDA
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Dr. Gary Pederson was recently honored by the American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) conference when he received the AFGC Medallion Dr. Gary PedersonAward. This prestigious award is the highest honor presented by AFGC for outstanding contributions in forages and grasslands. Dr. Pederson is the Research Leader and Coordinator of the USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit located at University of Georgia Griffin. He is the first Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist to receive this award in the past 25 years and only the fifth ARS scientist to be honored with the award.

  • Research
  • Center for Food Safety
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Dr. Walid Alali, a food scientist in the Center for Food Safety, has received the University of Georgia’s Creative Research Medal. He was honored for his research on the epidemiology and control of salmonella in the poultry industry. Dr. Alali’s research is extremely significant in GA, the US and globally. His poultry research supports one of GA’s most important commodities that, along with eggs, had a farm gate value of $5.7 Billion in 2012.

Alali is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin. His research focuses on the epidemiology and control of salmonella in the poultry industry. A significant number of foodborne illnesses caused by salmonella are tracked back to the consumption of poultry.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Alali led an international food safety data collection program centered around salmonella on raw poultry sold in retail markets in emerging market countries like China, Russia and Colombia. He also investigated the presence of antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella in these countries and found high levels of multi-drug resistance. Alali worked with the World Health Organization and local officials to plan and execute a response to this problem.