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Research by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences could help Georgia’s watermelon growers produce sweeter results.UGA vegetable horticulturalist Tim Coolong conducts variety trial testing on watermelons as part of his work on the UGA Tifton Campus. He is researching the productivity and quality of multiple watermelon varieties tested at different locations and in various conditions statewide. Georgia farmers transport the bulk of the state’s watermelon crop in bin containers, so they rely on Coolong’s research to tell them how different varieties stack up. If a sweeter, more productive melon is developed that also meets farmers’ demands, they’ll be more likely to embrace Coolong’s research.Last year’s seedless watermelon varieties trials yielded promising results, Coolong said. The seedless melons produced excess fruit with decent size, very good quality and little hollow heart, which can downgrade a watermelon’s marketability. “We really like to see how the varieties break down as far as 36-count, 45-count. Size of the 36-count melons is usually about 18 pounds to about 21 pounds on average. A lot of our growers really need that information if their contract is primarily for 36-count fruit,” he said. “If a farmer’s contract is for 45-count fruit, they need to know if this variety will produce a majority percent of the fruit in the 45-count range.”Strengthened by an almost $144 million farm gate value in 2013, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia’s watermelon crop tops the state’s list of most productive vegetables. Watermelons accounted for 14.4 percent of the state’s vegetable crop, topping bell peppers, sweet corn and onions. Georgia’s top 10 watermelon-producing counties by value are Berrien, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Dooly, Telfair, Tift, Turner, Wilcox and Worth, all of which are located in south Georgia.Coolong credits south Georgia watermelon farmers for the rise in the crop. “If you could pick one vegetable that’s grown over a wide area in south Georgia, it would be watermelon. It’s grown in Dooly County, down to Lowndes County, over to Wheeler and into Toombs County,” Coolong said. “We have a lot of acres.”Georgia’s watermelon farmers will hear more about Coolong’s research and will receive updates about the watermelon industry at this week’s Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Coolong is one of multiple UGA scientists and Extension agents who will speak at the event, set for Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 8-10.“This is the largest produce-related trade show and educational program in the Southeastern United States. It allows growers to network with colleagues, see new products and step in to any number of educational programs. Because of the diversity of programming at the conference, it allows growers to get updated on what they are already growing as well as attend sessions on different crops to see if they might want to grow something new,” Coolong said. read more
By Amlan ChakrabortKOLKATA, India (Reuters) – Ishant Sharma and his pace colleagues wreaked havoc with the pink ball to put India in charge of their maiden day-night Test against Bangladesh at a heaving Eden Gardens yesterday.Armed with the heavily-lacquered ball, India’s three-pronged pace attack bundled out the tourists for 106 in front of a 60 000-strong crowd which included Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli then smashed fifties as India, 1-0 up heading into the second and final match of the two-Test series, finished day one on 174-3, to be on course for their 12th consecutive home series victory.Kohli (59 not out) and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane (23 not out) will return today hoping to bat Bangladesh out of the second and final Test and sweep the series.Bangladesh, who were skittled out inside 31 overs, had to call two concussion substitutes after Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan sustained nasty blows to helmet.Earlier, India’s pace trio took less than three hours to rout the tourists after Mominul Haque’s decision to bat backfired.After the lull of the first six overs, Ishant drew first blood, trapping Kayes lbw en route to impressive figures of 5-22.New-ball partner Umesh Yadav (3-29) immediately benefitted from a change of ends, dismissing Mominul and Mithun in the same over to trigger a spectacular batting collapse.Ishant attributed his success to his relaxed approach to the game after more than a decade in international cricket.“I’ve reached that stage in life where I don’t entertain unnecessary worry about my career. That has been a big change,” said the 31-year-old.“I’m enjoying my game a lot more and the healthy competition within the pace department has also helped me improve.”India captain Kohli had predicted close-in fielders would struggle to catch the harder, faster pink balls but his fears proved unfounded.Rohit took a diving one-handed catch to send back Mominul, Wriddhiman Saha flew to his right to cut short Mahmudullah’s stay and Pujara dived forward to pouch a low catch to remove Mehidy Hasan Miraz.Opener Shadman Islam top-scored for Bangladesh with 29, while Liton retired hurt on 24 after being hit on the helmet by a Mohammed Shami delivery.Mehidy came on as concussion substitute and Mithun replaced Liton behind the stumps when India came out to bat.Bangladesh needed a second concussion substitute in Taijul Islam after Nayeem also sustained a hit on the helmet by another vicious Shami delivery.Indian openers looked at ease against the pink ball but neither Mayank Agarwal (14) nor Rohit (21) could convert their starts.Pujara and Kohli helped India eclipse Bangladesh’s paltry total with their 95-run stand.Pujara made 55 before edging Ebadot Hossain, who unfurled his second salute celebration, but Kohli went on to complete 5 000 runs as Test captain.“Their bowling attack is probably the leading bowling attack in the world,” Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo told reporters.“They’ve put a lot of sides under pressure with their discipline, pace and aggression … they are better than we at the moment, no doubt about that.”BANGLADESH 1st inningsShadman Islam c Wriddhiman Saha b Umesh Yadav 29Imrul Kayes lbw Ishant Sharma 4Mominul Haque c Rohit Sharma b Umesh Yadav 0Mohammad Mithun b Umesh Yadav 0Mushfiqur Rahim b Mohammed Shami 0Mahmudullah c Wriddhiman Saha b Ishant Sharma 6Liton Das Retired Hurt 24Nayeem Hasan b Ishant Sharma 19Ebadat Hossain b Ishant Sharma 1Mehidy Hasan c Cheteshwar Pujara b Ishant Sharma 8Al-Amin Hossain not out 1Abu Jayed c Cheteshwar Pujara b Mohammed Shami 0Extras: (b-8, lb-6) 14Total: (all out, 30.3 overs) 106Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-17, 3-17, 4-26, 5-38, 6-60, 7-82, 8-98, 9-105. Bowling: Ishant Sharma 12-4-22-5 Umesh Yadav 7-2-29-3, Mohammed Shami 10.3-2-36 -2, Ravindra Jadeja 1-0-5-0.INDIA 1st inningsMayank Agarwal c Mehidy Hasan b Al-Amin Hossain 14Rohit Sharma lbw Ebadat Hossain 21Cheteshwar Pujara c Shadman Islam b Ebadat Hossain 55Virat Kohli not out 59Ajinkya Rahane not out 23Extras: (lb-1, w-1) 2Total: (three wkts, 46.0 overs) 174Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-43, 3-137.Bowling: Al-Amin Hossain 14-3-49-1, Abu Jayed 12-3-40-0, Ebadat Hossain 12-1-61-2 (w-1), Taijul Islam 8-0-23-0 . read more