Combating CLR 22 June 2021

Combating CLR

PEPS’ IR-4 team is part of multi-agency response to Coffee Leaf Rust

Wherever coffee is produced, the discovery of ‘coffee leaf rust’ can be devastating news for growers. With its detection in Hawaiʻi late last year, CLR quickly became a serious threat to the second highest-valued crop in our state. “In other coffee-growing areas worldwide, CLR is managed by maintaining plant health, planting resistant varieties, and applying systemic fungicides – but in Hawai‘i, resistant varieties and systemic fungicides are not yet available,” explains Zhiqiang Cheng of the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. “Local growers,” he continues, “currently have copper products and a few biological products available for use, but these products mainly work as preventative or contact protectants, and mainly when infection levels are low. Systemic fungicides typically provide longer-term control through penetration and  movement in the leaf tissue.” But since 2017, the Hawai‘i IR-4 Program has been preparing for the day when CLR might reach our Islands. Then-PI Michael Kawate (now emeritus), Zhiqiang (current PI), Julia Coughlin, and James Kam have been working to generate the data required to register Quadris®Xtra, a systemic fungicide, to control CLR. “Although Hawai‘i didn’t have CLR at that time, this was a pre-emptive strategy – we wanted to have a systemic product available, if and when CLR arrived,” says Julia. “This hasnʻt been labeled yet, but we are continuing efforts on this project.”

When CLR was first detected in Hawai‘i, Julia immediately contacted the national headquarters of IR-4. Since 1963, this federally funded program has been a primary resource for helping specialty crop growers with their pest-control needs by developing data to support the registration of pest-management products.

IR-4’s plant pathologist quickly reached out to product registrants, hoping to identify an effective fungicide with data on international residue, efficacy, and crop safety – data needed to support an emergency registration.

A potential product was identified, and a multi-agency team (Hawaiʻi Coffee Growers, Hawaiʻi Dept. of Agriculture, BASF, and others) took it from there, successfully obtaining an emergency exemption for the use of BASF’s fungicide product Priaxor® Xemium®. IR-4 supported this effort by preparing the residue data summary needed for EPA’s dietary risk assessment. IR-4 will also prepare the Sec. 3 petition to EPA to add coffee to the Priaxor® label. This will count as progress toward registration, a requirement to renew the Sec. 18 emergency exemption for Priaxor® next year.

While the Sec. 18 submission was in preparation, BASF requested crop safety data. In response, the Hawaiʻi IR-4 Program conducted two field trials testing Priaxor with three different adjuvants to see whether sprays caused any burning or adverse effects on the plants.

“No adverse effects were observed,” says Zhiqiang, adding, “Our field program is currently conducting field efficacy and crop safety trials to screen other potential fungicides. We look forward to more fruitful collaboration as we generate additional field efficacy data and submit proposals to control CLR.”

Read the article, Coffee Rust Attacks Hawaii Coffee Trees; IR-4 Fights Back.

Growing With Kupuna 22 June 2021

Growing With Kupuna

FCS Extension shares plants, manaʻo and aloha

For older adults stuck at home during the pandemic, a container gardening program is one way to provide them with fresh home-grown crops, support for plant problems, and opportunities for socialization. In partnership with the non-profit Kumuki‘a, CTAHR Extension on Hawaiʻi Island helped launch a ʻKumu Malaʻ program with 64 Waimea-area kupuna; each kupuna received potted plants with herbs and vegetables to grow at home. We also delivered a short guide to container gardening and kit of supplies, along with invitations to an online training session and weekly Zoom check-in. This pilot program was funded by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation. Each week, Master Gardeners from around Hawaiʻi Island staff a virtual “Kumu Mala Happy Hour” to help the kupuna with plant problems. Trained by Extension to provide assistance to home gardeners, these volunteer experts field questions about unidentified pests, mysterious leaf changes, and other issues with potted plants. The kupuna themselves swap cooking ideas and plant photos, and share stories and memories about growing up with food and plants.

With additional funding from Hawaiʻi Community Foundation’s West Hawaiʻi Fund, we’ve expanded the program to include students at Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, who grow plants and write letters to the kupuna.

I am grateful for the wisdom and insights from both kupuna and Master Gardeners. These online gatherings offer an incredible opportunity to enjoy stories, gardening knowledge, and camaraderie in a safe format. I find myself looking forward to checking in with our volunteers and participants to learn more about plants – and the life experiences of our kupuna.

Feedback is very promising. Participants say their container gardens are convenient, practical, and enjoyable. “I love my container garden!” a kupuna said. “It's easy to manage and provides healthy fresh veggies for my ʻohana to enjoy. Tending to my container mala is refreshing and therapeutic for me.” In another memorable session, a participant talked about how her Hawaiian mother taught her to always give food to guests. Whether sharing food, connections, or experiences, giving to others always leads to receiving something in return.

The Kumu Mala project demonstrates mana‘o in action. CTAHR Extension’s gifting of plants, time, and expertise to kupuna in the community has nurtured appreciation, connection, and fruitful experiences for everyone involved.

Photos by Liz Barney.

Art-Science Fusion 22 June 2021

Art-Science Fusion

PEPS Extension agent participates in Mexican film festival

I was invited to collaborate in creating an art-science fusion for the 2021 ALEPH Art-Science Film Festival in Mexico – and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience!

The theme of this interdisciplinary film festival was “Medicine and Its Borders” and our film, Through the Looking Pill, begins as a Zoom conversation between patient, medical doctor, academic PhD and narrator. The patient is describing her symptoms and both doctors recommend a pill that is “art.”

But from there, the film takes on a very ‘Alice in Wonderland, through the looking glass’ feel. The audience follows the journey of the art pill through the patient’s body. It explores different ideas about the interaction and negotiations of medicine with our cells, using metaphors and parallel images of the outside world to describe parts of the human body. The film is completely in Spanish and the narrator’s tone is that of a soccer commentator, giving the film a relaxed and comical feel! It ends with the patient having gained a new relationship with and vision of her body (hopefully, the viewer feels this, too).

My role in development and pre-production involved concept development, creating storyboards and overall aesthetics of the film. I also contributed to the narrative structure and dialogue. My collaborators included actress Fernanda Vizzuet, and Ana-Karen Barajas, Ilana Boltvinik and Rodrigo Viña from University Veracruzana in Mexico as the actors and narrators.

This experience was very different for me. This was the first fictional film I’ve ever worked on. It was hard to develop without being able to meet in person due to the pandemic. We had to creatively problem solve and tailor the design of our film to compensate.

As a scientist with a PhD in entomology, it was refreshing for this opportunity to combine art and science. These two seemingly different disciplines share a common ground in that both require creativity and curiosity. This project allowed for a space where artists and scientists could come together and share their unique perspectives and insights. I found that learning how my peers utilized the scientific and creative methods led to enhanced learning. It has led to examining my current perspectives and assumptions, which have bled over into my scientific research program. I believe such experiences help us to keep an open mind when presented with new information. I would jump at the opportunity for other art-science collaborations.

Impatiens (Downy Mildew) is Not a Virtue 22 June 2021

Impatiens (Downy Mildew) is Not a Virtue

TPSS agent is featured in horticulture news

When the fungal disease ‘Impatiens Downy Mildew’ hit the floriculture industry a decade ago, sales of ‘Impatiens wallerina’ dropped – and the need to fill that market niche still exists. After a global search to collect Impatiens species, hybridize the resistant ones with common ones, and develop new IDM-resistant plants that are seed propagated for commercial breeding, James Keach left Cornell University to join CTAHR. Meanwhile, the research carried on, and in the summer of 2020, some exciting results occurred: “Our research demonstrated there is polygenic inheritance to IDM resistance with our impatiens hybrids,” James writes. “This kind of inheritance indicates that two or more nonallelic genes are involved collectively in determining inherited resistance to IDM. What this means is resistance to IDM will possibly be greater than those resistant hybrids that are currently available.”

Read all about it in the latest Horticulture Daily World News that features James’ article, Breeding a more disease-resistant impatiens.

To Market and For Breeding 17 June 2021

To Market and For Breeding

The Maui 4-H Youth Livestock Show is a success

June is an important month for Maui 4-H. For decades, keiki and their families gather for the annual Maui 4-H Youth Livestock Show and Auction. Once part of the Upcountry Fair, the event merged with Maui County Farm Bureau’s ‘Maui AgFest’ but continues to take place in June so Maui winners can travel to O‘ahu to showcase their animals in the statewide show and competition. Although Covid shut down all other major events in the county, our 4-H livestock show had to go on. Managing and raising livestock is a must-have opportunity for our keiki. They gain life skills, learn to accept responsibility, value hard work, think critically, make decisions, and communicate well. We felt we had to support our future leaders by allowing them to complete their projects and validate their hard work and determination!

Maui 4-H Livestock offers two types of projects: Market and Breeding. Market projects in beef cattle, sheep, and swine entails the 4-H member raising, feeding and finishing an animal to proper market weight for harvest. Breeding projects allow the 4-H member to raise cattle and goats as breeding stock, which they can either market to local ranchers interested in genetic improvement or retain ownership of the animal to start their own herds.

At the final show, an expert judge evaluates the livestock for their potential as either breeding or market animals, provides a critique for each animal in the class, and compares the ‘form’ of the animal with the ‘purpose’ it is intended to serve. The judge for 2021 was Mitch Magenheimer from Canby, Oregon, who brings two decades of agribusiness and livestock judging expertise. He worked really well with our kids during the show, and afterward, gave them a talk relating their current 4-H experiences to life after high school, discussing opportunities in both college, industry, and life.

This year’s show was limited to 4-H members, their families, and livestock industry leaders. The event was a small gathering outdoors,. A big Mahalo to Ken Miranda and the Rice Family of Kaonoulu Ranch for allowing the Maui 4-H Livestock Program use of the Oskie Rice Arena. We also extend thanks to the Maui Cattlemen’s Association for their continued support of the 4-H program and help with sponsoring our official judge.

Maui 4-H looks forward to bringing back the auction portion when the event returns to the War Memorial Special Events Arena as part of Maui AgFest 2022.

Photo caption: I want to celebrate the high school graduation of two of our most dedicated 4-H youth leaders: Alexis Camara and Kaylee Silva. These ‘seasoned veterans’ of the Livestock Program have represented Maui County in state and national 4-H skill development contests and were always there to mentor the younger 4-H. These young women are exceptionally driven, hard-working individuals, and great role models for our youth. Alexis and Kaylee are strong academically and very organized, maintaining a healthy balance between work, extramural activities and community service. I wish you both congratulations as you pursue your college programs!