Search
  • FWA

The Fruitful Partnership Between the Florida Watermelon Association and University of Florida IFAS.

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

By: Robert Hochmuth, Regional Extension Agent- Vegetable Crops

University of Florida IFAS

North Florida REC- Suwannee Valley

Live Oak, FL

The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is one of the Land Grant Universities in Florida, the other being Florida A&M University. The Land Grant Universities throughout the country have the mission to conduct teaching, research and Extension functions. The partnership between UF/IFAS and Florida Watermelon Association (FWA) has been strengthened in the past few years as evidenced by the increase in active watermelon research projects and the increase in educational opportunities at the FWA Annual Conference and other meetings such as the Suwannee Valley Watermelon Institute. Several of the UF/IFAS Research and Education Centers (RECs) throughout the state are hosting research trials for a wide range of topics important to the watermelon industry in Florida. Major watermelon research projects are being conducted at RECs in Homestead, Immokalee, Balm, Live Oak, and Quincy as well as the UF/IFAS Plant Sciences Center at Citra. In most cases, as research projects are being developed, letters of support from FWA are submitted and strengthen the proposals knowing the industry is involved in the planning of the research. FWA is considering funding support for two projects in 2019, one project evaluating controlled release fertilizers in watermelon production (Project leader: Robert Hochmuth), and one evaluating various soil bed geometry changes (taller and narrower) for watermelon (Project leader: Dr. Sanjay Shukla).


The eight research projects listed below represent slightly more $1 million in funding from 8 primary sources of funding. Due to space limitations, only the lead researcher is listed, but in all cases, several faculty members form strong and diverse programmatic teams to conduct the research. Remember, there is now a link on the FWA website (look for the “Research” tab) that leads you to UF/IFAS research information and research trial reports (https://www.flfwa.com/).


1. Project Title: Managing emerging threat by three whitefly-transmitted viruses (CuLCrV, CYSDV, and SqVYV) in commercial vegetable production (2019-20)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Geoffrey Meru, Vegetable Crop Breeding Genetics & Genomics, Horticultural Sciences Department, Tropical Research & Education Center, University of Florida, IFAS, Homestead, FL.

Amount, source of funding: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services- Specialty Crops Block Grant- $270,220.00


2. Project Title: Characterization of a new bacterial pathogen on watermelon, squash and other cucurbits, understanding the key environmental factors favoring the disease, and development of an IPM strategy

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mathews L. Paret, University of Florida - NFREC, Quincy, FL and Plant Pathology Department, Gainesville, FL


Amount, source of funds and year/s, and equipment or research contributions: Florida Watermelon Association – $6,000 (2013-2014); National Watermelon Association – $9,500 (2015); USDA-Southern IPM Center – $29,966 (2015-2016); Louis Taylor Farms – Design and fabrication of irrigation system for research studies – 2015; Syngenta Seeds Student Internship, Netherlands (Eric Newberry) – 2016


3. Project Title: Characterization of the 2018 disease outbreak on watermelon associated with a diverse group of Xanthomonas spp.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gary E. Vallad, UF-IFAS, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Wimauma, FL

Amount and sources of funds: UF/IFAS funded, No external funds were provided for this project.


4. Project Title: Development of an improved scouting technique incorporating UAV-Multispectral imaging into conventional practices on Florida cucurbits

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mathews L. Paret, University of Florida - NFREC, Quincy, FL and Plant Pathology Department, Gainesville, FL

Amount, source of funds and year/s, and research support: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Specialty Crops Block Grant Program – $229,004 (2017-2019); and Farmer cooperators from Florida Watermelon Association and National Watermelon Association.


5. Project Title: Improving watermelon production in Florida by developing a field-based recombinase polymerase amplification assay for critical viruses and field management of the insect vectors using Kaolin Clay

Principal Investigator: Dr. Mathews L. Paret, University of Florida - NFREC, Quincy, FL and Plant Pathology Department, Gainesville, FL

Amount, source of funds and year/s, and research support: Florida Watermelon Association, Georgia Watermelon Association, National Watermelon Association and Gulf Coast Watermelon Association - $22,000 (2018-2019).


6. Project Title: Identification and management of Fusarium wilt races in Florida and the Southeast.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicholas S. Dufault, UF-IFAS, Plant Pathology, Gainesville, FL.

Amount and sources of funds: USDA SCRI Grant (2015 to 2018) (Subaward $300,256), FDACS Specialty Crop Block Grant (2018-2020) ($159,594), National Watermelon Association (2017) ($13,494), Georgia Watermelon Association (2018) ($5,500).


7. Project Title: Determining the efficacy of pre-plant fumigation and fungicide application for Fusarium wilt management in seedless watermelon.

Principal Investigator: Josh Freeman. Associate Professor of Horticulture. University of Florida, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, FL

Amount, source of funds and year/s, and equipment or research contributions: Alabama Watermelon Association (now the Gulf Coast Watermelon Association) - $6,149 (2018); National Watermelon Association - $14,170 (2017).


8. Project Title: Annual Watermelon Variety Trial (Florida location, coordinated with Georgia and Clemson)

Principal Investigator: Josh Freeman, Associate Professor of Horticulture. University of Florida, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, FL

Sources of funds: Several watermelon industry seed companies


0 views

The Florida Watermelon Association is a non-profit organization.

Florida Watermelon Association
P.O. Drawer 8
Fort Myers, FL 33902
Phone: 239.658.1442
Fax: 239.658.1448

Membership Coordinator 

Debbie Alexander

dalexander@flfwa.com

Promotions/Queen Inquiries

Debra Harrison

Phone: 863.633.8306
Email: debra@flfwa.com

For more information, videos, and images click here and check out our Facebook page!