In this segment of the Research Report, Dr. Zachary Brym provides us with an update on the research emanating from his lab.
First, his lab has labeled plants and a set of “tour stops” highlighting the plant diversity that can be found at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research & Education Center. His lab has identified more than 750 plant species at TREC. For more information on this project, you can follow the series on YouTube.
Next, thanks to the Florida legislature’s and Department of Agriculture’s strong interest in hemp, there is enough funding for scientists across the State to continue researching the viability and sustainability of hemp cultivation and its ecological and economic impacts. This is good news because the hemp industry in south Florida faces some serious challenges if it is to be successful.
Here at UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center, for example, we have encountered both botrytis and southern blight on plants. These pathogens can be detrimental to flower production and fiber production, respectively. Additionally, we have had to quarantine for hemp russet mite which arrived with the movement of seedlings. Due to the limited pesticide options for hemp production, these challenges are serious to the hemp industry. This brings up the larger point of where growers are accessing the germplasms with which they initiate production.
The news isn’t all bad, though. Dr. Brym’s lab has seen that hemp performs best with moderate nitrogen application, split across multiple applications, and they’re conducting a study to look at fertility management calibration using drone-based aerial imaging.
Finally, the voice of the hemp industry is important for the Extension efforts at UF/IFAS Hemp. Various partners and collaborators offer their views on hemp in Florida, on Dr. Brym’s hemp blog: Perspectives from the Hemp Industry. From botanists to physicians, these stakeholders share their experiences in the nascent hemp industry thus far.