We’re ready for the 2023 research season!
2023 is shaping up to be the largest data generation season on record across the West, Midwest, and Southeast US. The last few years under Covid have brought new pest outbreaks in key cropping systems coupled with an industrywide pent-up demand for R&D data for product developers and growers alike. In response, our company has doubled down on our core capabilities to give our clients the insights they need to accomplish product development goals and drive new value for our farmers.
The world has reset–leaving an opening for biology to move in new ways. Over the last three years, we have witnessed significant crop losses across our farming regions. This includes a serious new Thrips / INS Virus / Pythium “Pest Complex” on lettuce in the Salinas Valley of California, explosive Tar Spot outbreaks in the Midwest, and strawberry crop losses from newly introduced Neopestalotiopsis in Florida. These and other agronomic challenges surfaced during Covid and have kept us busy working to understand their epidemiology and uncover new opportunities for control.
To meet this demand, Ag Metrics Group has significantly increased facilities, professional staff, and methods development to offer an expanded portfolio of experimentation for our sponsors. Research capabilities added this year include five new climate-controlled greenhouses for California and Florida. In Michigan, we built 4,800 sq. ft. of new Entomology and Nematology laboratories, surrounded by 80 additional acres of premium irrigated farmland. All told, Ag Metrics Group has grown to 12 science laboratories, 70 full-time staff, and several hundred acres of company-owned farms in key agricultural regions of the American West, Midwest, and Southeast. Our client base includes most all ag-product manufacturers, many regional grower cooperatives, and governmental agencies that include state universities and the USDA.
Now more than ever, we recognize the critical impact data-driven product development has on our industry. These solutions enable growers to respond to new challenges and opportunities with confidence in the stewardship of their land. Privatized science is the key to rapid and robust biological insights to demonstrate value in a dynamic and diverse set of pest and environmental applications into the future. We look forward to our continued partnership with our clients and wish you all a very successful year.
Ag Metrics Group Provides “First Report of Neopestalotiopsis rosae Causing Crown and Root Rot of Strawberry in California”
American Phytopathological Society of America (APS)
Dan Lawrence 1, Greg Brittain 1, Balaji Aglave 2, Frank Sances 3
1 Pacific Ag Research, 2 Florida Ag Research, 3 Ag Metrics Group
Following these authors’ research in Central Florida strawberry plantings in late 2019, they found this devastating fungus again in Salinas, California, on newly transplanted strawberries in the winter of 2021. Since their original Florida research, the fungus is now well established throughout the Southeast and has become the key pest for this crop early season. This subsequent finding in California is the first scientific proof that it has moved westward into other US strawberry producing areas, and has the potential to cause crop losses to growers in that region.
Turf & Ornamental Capabilities Expanded Companywide in 2023
California Adds 5,400 sq. ft. of Greenhouses
New San Joaquin Valley Field-Lab at Our Five Points Station
In 2022, we remodeled 1,200 ft2 of administrative offices, opened a new 2,500 ft2 climate-controlled field lab, and installed additional fruit, nut, and vine plantings. We added more microscopy, a walk-in cooler, a post-harvest drying unit, and a deep well with a new reservoir for sustainable water at this site going forward. The past year we purchased more off-site equipment including a new tow vehicle, support trucks, and another mobile orchard sprayer platform for off-site trials. Together with a new research biologist, these assets comprise a well-equipped and staffed Central Valley research campus with a wide geographic radius of field activities for product development needs.
Michigan Ag Research Expansion in Final Stage of Completion
To advance our goal to provide the best possible administration and science campus at Albion, Michigan Ag Research is now in the final stages of construction of a 4,800 ft2 building that will include:
In addition to the new laboratory facilities, 80 acres of irrigated farm land were added, bringing the total station size to 200 acres.
Publicly Funded Research:
(Dover, Florida) Strawberry growers, industry leaders, researchers from University of Florida Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC), and researchers from Florida Ag Research (an Ag Metrics Group Company) gathered for the annual Florida Strawberry Growers Association (FSGA) Field Day on January 12.
a) Solarization and ASD are approved organic soil pest control options
b) Solarization with conventional soil borne pest control inputs may allow reduction in chemical usage
c) ASD is a potential waste recycling system
The Solarization Project was presented by Ag Metrics Group’s Mark Keeley (formerly a Station Manager of Florida Ag Research). “It was great to come back out and present this exciting work to growers and researchers since the ‘Field Day’ was cancelled last January,” said Keeley, “And a great opportunity to introduce Mariano [Galla], the new Florida Ag Research Station Manager, to the Florida strawberry grower community.”
Ag Metrics Group
Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation
California Fog Belt
Crop Rotation Studies
Florida Ag Research
High Density Apple Plantings
High Pressure Fungal And Bacterial Test System
Michigan Ag Research
Pacific Ag Research
Turf & Ornamental