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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
CHRISTOPHER Nurse, Guyana’s most successful National football captain, will make a return to Sutton United, the club that signed him 14 years ago.Sutton United, who will be remembered for their run in this year’s English FA Cup where they were beaten by Arsenal via a 2-0 score line last month, announced that they have signed the former Guyana National captain Nurse for a second spell at Gander Green Lane.The 32-year-old has made 48 appearances for the Golden Jaguars since signalling his intention to play for Guyana in 2008.Nurse last played for Puerto Rico Football Club – managed by former Portsmouth and Orient defender Adrian Whitbread – for their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League in March 2016.Nurse was well known to Puerto Rico as he was a success during previous spells with the Puerto Rico Islanders FC where he twice was a champion and also was a runner-up in the NASL final with Fort Lauderdale Strikers in 2014.While playing for FC Edmonton, he was not only voted team MVP by his peers, but was also nominated for the NASL Humanitarian-of-the-Year award for his non-stop efforts in raising money in support of breast cancer awareness.Before embarking on a full-time career over the Atlantic, Nurse started out with Kingstonian before signing briefly for Sutton for the first time in 2003.He also has spells with Aldershot Town, Moor Green (Solihull Moors), Hinckley United, Tamworth, Stevenage Borough, Halesowen Town and AFC Telford United.Sutton United competes in the National League, the fifth tier of English football. In the 2016-17 FA Cup, Sutton reached the 5th Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, beating three Football League teams (Cheltenham Town, AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United) on the way before losing 2–0 at home to Arsenal. read more
Former Manchester City playmaker David Silva has joined La Liga side Real Sociedad for two seasons.The Spaniard’s 10-year spell at City came to an end after Saturday’s Champions League defeat by Lyon.Signed from Valencia in 2010, the midfielder, 34, made 436 appearances and helped City win 14 trophies.Italian side Lazio were reported to have offered former Spain international Silva a three-year contract. but he joins Real Sociedad on a free transfer.Sociedad finished sixth in La Liga and were in search of a new playmaker after Martin Odegaard returned to Real Madrid following a one-year loan spell.Silva made 309 Premier League appearances, scoring 60 goals and playing an instrumental part in City’s four title wins in 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2019.In domestic cup competitions, he played 57 times and won two FA Cups, five League Cups and three Community Shields.Silva holds the record for the most European appearances for City, having played 70 Champions League matches over the past decade.He was also in the Spain squads that won the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012. Source: BBC read more