Enhancing Ecological Disease Management on Guam Through Building Agriculture professionals’ Understanding of Soil Nutrients

2009 Annual Report for EW08-018

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2008: $49,962.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Roger Brown, Jr.
University of Guam
Co-Investigators:
Dr. Robert Schlub
University of Guam

Enhancing Ecological Disease Management on Guam Through Building Agriculture professionals’ Understanding of Soil Nutrients

Summary

First year purchases included irrigation supplies; seeds of locally popular tomato, eggplant, pepper, and cucumber varieties; field test equipment for analyzing soil; and fertilizers. Varieties were grown in field plots under low (N, P, K) and recommended fertilizer levels. Cucumber was also evaluated for response to silicon. Information collected included plant growth characteristics, photographs, soil nutrient levels, and plant disease levels. A half-day introductory workshop was held for next year’s instructors and trainees. The Principle Investigator mentored a National Institute of Health summer intern who collected data and photos of tomato plants grown in pots under different fertilizer regimes.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Objectives for first year (Phase 1 September 1, 2008 to Aug 31, 2008)
Phase 1: Course Development:
1. Farm survey
2. Development of test plots, data collection, and evaluation of instruments and test kits
3. Photographs of plant symptoms
4. Additional Activities not in first year grant objectives – Workshop and NIH summer intern

Accomplishments/Milestones

1. Farm Survey – The survey of 10 farms to evaluate the current knowledge of Guam’s growers and to evaluate their farm practices was postponed as the information was provided to the Project Director and Post-Doctoral Research by surveying Guam’s agricultural professionals. The farm survey will be conducted next year. Instead of the survey, a mock half-day agriculture professional training was held. The purpose of the training was to obtain feed back from agriculture professional on progress being made on the production of the training manual and other classroom instructional materials.

2. Development of test plots, data collection, and evaluation of instruments and test kits kits. (Sept 1, 2008 to July 30, 2008)
On September 1, 2008 Post Doctoral plant pathologist Dr. Zelalem Mersha was hired to work on the PDP project. Dr. Mersha traveled to Florida from Germany to meet with new co-project coordinator Dr. Aaron Palmateer and research associate Brenda Rutherford. There he received training in silicon digestion tissue analysis and silicon crop trial design. Dr. Mersha arrived on Guam for the first time on September 15th, and began setting up his office and laboratory.
October 1, 2008 to February 15, 2008 – Materials and supplies were purchased for the development of a test plot and for data collection. The materials and supplies include seed, seedling trays, pots, fertilizers, silicon, gardening tools, and drip irrigation equipment including drip lines, poly hose, connectors, solenoid valves, tensiometers, and a controller. Also, field test equipment for analyzing soil nutrients and plant tissue were ordered or borrowed from other labs at the University of Guam including a soil salinity meter, pH meter, a YSI9500 photometer soil and plant nutrient analyzer, cardy (nutrient) meters, a brix meter, and a chlorophyll meter. These instruments were later used on the test plots to collect data and were introduced to the grant participants during the half-day introductory workshop. These instruments and kits will also be discussed in the training manual.
February 16, 2009 to June 30 2009 – A field was prepped for planting of the PDP soil nutrient test plots at the Yigo Agriculture Experiment Station. Three locally popular solanceous plants and one locally popular cucurbit plant were chosen. The solanaceous crops chosen for planting were tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Season Red), eggplant (Solanum melongena cv. Pingtung Long), and hot pepper (Capsicum annum cv. Ascent) while the cucurbit plant chosen was cucumber (cucumis melo cv. Joy). Seedlings were grown in a greenhouse and transplanted to the field in rows (Picture 1). Each row consisted of 4 plots containing five plants per plot. In each row the first plot was pepper, followed by eggplant, tomato and cucumber. There were five different rows/treatments: NPK at recommended amounts; NPK at recommended amounts plus micronutrients; N deficiency; P deficiency; and K deficiency. Recommended fertilizer rates used for NPK came from the “Eggplant, Pepper and Tomato Guide for Guam,” (Schlub and Yudin, 2002) and the “Guam Cucurbit Guide” (Yudin and Schlub, 1998). Deficiency rates were at 25 percent of the recommended rate. In addition to the nutrient test plots/rows, two rows of cucumber were planted. These rows consisted of two treatments with four replications. Treatment one was fertilized at recommended rates while treatment two was fertilized at recommended rates and amended with silicon.
Data taken before, during, and after the growing period of the test plots included soil nutrients, plant weight, leaf count, soil pH, soil salinity, plant nutrients, fruit sugar, chlorophyll readings, plant height and leaf count (Figure 3), and yield (Figure 4). Instruments and test kits used to analyze the parameters included a soil salinity meter, pH meter, a YSI9500 photometer soil and plant nutrient analyzer, two cardy (nutrient) meters, a chlorophyll meter, a brix meter, an electronic weighing balance, and a tape measure. The data collected as well as the instruments and test kits used this past year will be used again as part of the second year’s professional training. Also, much of the information will be included in the training manual.

3. Plot and plant photographs
Digital photographs of plants in test plots were taken weekly after transplanting through harvest. Fruit and detached leaf pictures were taken during and after harvest. Many of the photos will be used in the training manual that will be developed in year two.

4. Additional activities
April 30, 2009 – A half-day introductory workshop was held with both participant trainers and trainees in attendance. The purpose of the workshop was to introduce participants, discuss instrumentation and test kits, allow the participants to visit the test plots and make observations, and to prepare the participants for training in year two. Participant trainers attending from the University of Guam included Dr. Robert L. Schlub, Dr. Zelalem Mersha, Dr. Mohammad Golabi, and Dr. Jim McConnell. Co-project coordinator Dr. Aaron Palmateer from the University of Florida will come to Guam in the second year. Participant trainees in attendance included Mr. Jesse Bamba from UOG/ANR, Ms. Phoebe Wall from UOG/ANR, Dr. Craig Smith from NRCS Guam, Mr. Clancy Iyekar from UOG Soil Research Lab, Mr. Rick Lizama from Guam DOAg, Mr. David Matanona from UOG/ANR, Mr. Roger Brown from UOG/ANR, and Mr. Paul Long from UOG/4-H. The two College of Northern Mariana Island’s trainees will come to Guam for training in year two.
June 15, 2009 to August 12, 2009 – PDP project coordinator Dr. Robert Schlub agreed to become a mentor for the National Institute of Health “Step-up” program. Intern Ms. Katrinalynne Nance, a recent graduate from Guam John F. Kennedy High School, was assigned to Dr. Schlub. Dr. Schlub assigned her a project to enhance the PDP grant and for her to gain experience in experimental design, field data collection, and laboratory analysis. Ms. Nance’s project consisted of growing tomato plants in pots with varying levels of soil nutrients. She presented here results at the NIH Step-up conference in Bethesda Maryland on August 15 via an oral presentation and a static poster (Appendix 2). Using a 20-point scale, conference participants were evaluated on the oral presentation, poster presentation, and verbal communication skills. Ms. Nance received marks of 19, 18, and 20 respectively.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Post Doctoral plant pathologist Dr. Zelalem Mersha received training in silicon digestion tissue analysis and silicon crop trial design at the University of Florida. Dr. Mersha has worked with the Soil Laboratory chemist at the University of Guam to implement standardized silicon tissue and soil analysis procedures so that agricultural professionals and farmers can have silicon from soil and plant samples analyzed. This was previously not available on Guam. Also, this information will be included in the second year training manual on the use of silicon for disease suppression in vegetable crops. The use of silicon to suppress disease is an additional pest management strategy that can be passed on to the growers through Guam’s agriculture professionals.
Knowledge and skills gained in the use and evaluation of field test equipment on the test plots for determining soil nutrients, plant tissue nutrients, and overall plant health will be used in the training manual and second year professional training. These knowledge and skills will give the agriculture professional increased ability to diagnose plant disease symptoms and nutrient problems in the field. The professional will also gain the ability to train growers on the use of these instruments.
Participant trainers and trainees all expressed there appreciation for this project after the half-day introductory workshop. They all feel that this project is a worthwhile endeavor.
The National Institute of Health summer intern gained knowledge and skills in planting, experimental design, digital photography, use of fertilizers, and reporting experimental outcomes through the development and presentation of a poster. Some of her work on this project will be included in the training manual to be developed in the second year of this grant.
There were no measured (testing/surveys) impacts and outcomes for the first year of this grant because training is scheduled for the second year.

Collaborators:

Dr. Dilip Nandwani

dilipnandwani@yahoo.com
Extension Plant Pathologist
Northern Marianas College
As Terlaje Campus
Saipan, MP 96950-1250
Office Phone: 6702345498
Dr. Aubrey Moore

amoore@uguam.uog.edu
Extension Entomologist
University of Guam
CNAS/CES/ANR
UOG Station
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352086
James McConnell

mcconnel@uguam.uog.edu
Research Horiticulturalist
University of Guam
Agriculture Experiment Station
UOG Station
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352100
Rick Lizama

rilizama@yahoo.com
Agriculture Management Specialist
Guam Department of Agriculture
163 Dairy Rd.
Mangilao, GU 96913
Office Phone: 6717343942
Cliff Kyota

ckyota@uguam.uog.edu
Extension Associate 4-H
University of Guam
CNAS/CES/CYFNN
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352044
Clancy Iyekar

soillab@uguam.uog.edu
Soil Chemist
University of Guam
CNAS/WPTRC
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352143
Aaron Palmateer

ajp@ufl.edu
Plant Pathologist
University of Florida
18905 SW 280 Street
Homestead, FL 33031
Office Phone: 3052467001
Website: http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/personnel_faculty_palmateer.shtml
Phoebe Wall

pwall@uguam.uog.edu
Extension Associate
University of Guam
CNAS/CES/ANR
UOG Station
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352090
Joe Tuquero

joseph.tuquero@pb.usda.gov
Soil Conservationist
USDA NRCS Guam
Natural Resources Conservation Service
First Hawaiin Bank, Suite 301, 400 Route 8
Maite, GU 96910-2003
Office Phone: 6714727490
Dr. Robert Gavenda

bob.gavendaa@pb.usda.gov
Soil Scientist
USDA NRCS Guam
Natural Resources Conservation Service
First Hawaiin Bank, Suite 301, 400 Route 8
Maite, GU 96910-2003
Office Phone: 6714727182
Lawrence Duponcheel

lawontinian@pticom.com
Extension Agent
Northern Marianas College
PO Box 459
San Jose Village
Tinian, MP 96952
Office Phone: 6702870553
Joe Cruz

jacruz41@yahoo.com
Extension Agent (Emeritus)
University of Guam
CNAS/CES/ANR
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352134
Mohammad Golabi

mgolabi@uguam.uog.edu
Research Soil Scientist
University of Guam
Agriculture Experiment Station
UOG Station
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352089
Jesse Bamba

jpbamba@uguam.uog.edu
Extension Associate
University of Guam
CNAS/CES/ANR
UOG Station
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352191
Alejandro Badilles

abadilles@yahoo.com
Extension Agent
Northern Marianas College
PO Box 879
Rota, MP 96951
Office Phone: 6705329515
Sam Taylor

sam.taylor@pb.usda.gov
Soil Conservation Technician
USDA NRCS Guam
Natural Resources Conservation Service
First Hawaiin Bank, Suite 301, 400 Route 8
Maite, GU 96910-2003
Office Phone: 6714727490
Joe Takai

joe.takai@pb.usda.gov
Soil Conservationist
USDA NRCS Guam
Natural Resources Conservation Service
First Hawaiin Bank, Suite 301, 400 Route 8
Maite, GU 96910-2003
Office Phone: 6714727490
Dr. Craig Smith

craig.smith2@pb.usda.gov
Agronomist
USDA NRCS Guam
Natural Resources Conservation Service
First Hawaiin Bank, Suite 301, 400 Route 8
Maite, GU 96910-2003
Office Phone: 6714727473
Frank Cruz

sakman@uguam.net
University of Guam
CNAS/CES/ANR
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6716891781
Robert Bourgeios

bobby671@gmail.com
Extension Associate
University of Guam
CNAS/CES/ANR
Mangilao, GU 96923
Office Phone: 6717352128