Pesticides are vital tools for controlling pests and maintaining an adequate food supply. If used improperly, pesticides can also threaten human health and the natural environment. Inexperienced applicators, accidents, inadequate protection and equipment continue to be areas of concern that increase the potential for negative personal and environmental impacts from pesticide exposure.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst recognizes the importance of reliable and prompt diagnosis of plant problems for the turf, floriculture, vegetable, nursery, urban forestry and landscape industries. We serve farmers, horticulturists, landscape contractors, turf managers, arborists, nurseries, and others in agriculture and the green industries. The lab also assesses ticks for Lyme disease as a service to the public.
The development of shared-use processing spaces has created new opportunities for small and emerging food businesses to develop and create new products. However, this audience has historically had challenges navigating food safety regulation and compliance, and there is a strong lack of educational materials and training to support them.
There has been a steadily increasing demand for craft beer in the United States in the past 2 decades, especially the northeastern and western regions of the country. Currently, there is an insufficient body of research regarding varieties and fertility management plans that would permit growers in the pioneer valley to produce malting-quality barley. Barley must fit into a range of specific quality parameters, such as percent protein and the near absence of Deoxynivalenol (DON, produced by Fusarium head blight), to be suitable for malting.
Video 2 of 3
Presenter - Barbara DeFlorio, Environmental Toxicology Graduate Student
Best Management Practices are commonly implemented on golf courses to minimize the movement of pesticides and nutrients. One such practice is the use of vegetative filter strips (VFS) to intercept runoff and help protect the quality of groundwater and adjacent surface water. Research at UMass is ongoing to identify the best-suited plant material and most appropriate planting techniques to ensure effective vegetative filter strips.
Reduced and modified tillage (RT) systems (e.g. no-, zone-, strip) represent strategies to reduce soil degradation and erosion and protect water quality. Previous research has shown that these tillage systems can provide the environmental and economic benefits of a RT system for many vegetable crops without the harvest delays or losses observed in straight no-till. Reduced Tillage systems can improve both, soil quality and soil drainage, potentially reducing Phytophtora blight among other soil borne pathogens.
This project will link fluvial geomorphology to New England-specific climate, landscape, ecology, population, and infrastructure to develop best management practices for flood prevention. Also, it will uncover challenges and constraints caused by distinct jurisdictional and institutional fragmentation, highlighting successful strategies for overcoming these. The extension aspect will take this much-needed scientific and institutional knowledge and disseminate it among towns, government officials, landowners, businesses, environmental organizations, road crews, and others.
An estimated 437,000 incidences of produce-related foodborne illnesses occur each year in Massachusetts alone. In addition to morbidity and mortality, the estimated cost as a result of the illnesses is $903 million.
One of the key missions of the UMass Extension Turf Program is to promote natural resource protection through responsible turf management. The following featured videos profile current UMass research for which the primary focus is the conservation and protection of one of our most precious natural resources: water.
Video 1 of 3
Presenter - Dr. Michelle DaCosta, Turf Physiologist