Pacific Ag Group has been on the forefront of agricultural technology development for over 39 years as a contract research organization. Our clientele include agrichemical manufacturers, grower cooperatives, and state and federal government. We have a nationwide presence with centers in California, Michigan, and Florida.
With a focus on repeatable scientific results, Pacific Ag makes every effort to use the resources at our campuses to generate reliable data for your product testing needs – from trial design to final submission of registration documents.
At the Florida headquarters near Tampa, we maintain a complete nematology facility including a dedicated laboratory, greenhouses, field micro-plots, advanced microscopy, and pure cultures of important pest nematode species. Also, several of our California and Florida farms have in-ground micro-plots that isolate nematode populations for close monitoring of responses to test substances. In these vessels, different soil types, selected nematode species, and individual crop plants are studied with minimal variability and hence experimental repeatability. These methods also minimize experimental cost and can answer very specific questions regarding efficacy, longevity, potential for phytotoxicity, nematode life stage mortality, and specific plant responses such as plant growth, tolerance to foliar pests, and crop yield. Some of our nematology research capabilities include: - Extraction Methodologies: Berhmen funnel technique, and several variations of Sucrose Density Extraction methods. State-of-the-art Nematology Research laboratory with centrifuges, dissecting, compound and inverted microscopes, sampling equipment and soil filtration systems. - Pure cultures: Pure cultures of important plant parasitic nematodes are maintained on specific hosts targeted for experimentation. Pure cultures are maintained for Sting nematodes ( Belonolaimus longicaudatus), Root Knot nematode ( Meloidogyne spp i.e. M. arenaria M. incognita, M. javanica, M. graminis , M. hapla), Lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus spp.), Lance Nematodes (Hoplolaimus spp), Spiral nematode (Helicotylenchus spp.), citrus nematode (Tylenchulus semipenetrans). - Bio assays include both in vitro and in vivo: methods for determining individual species sensitivities to specific test substances. - Greenhouse research capabilities: include over 1.5 acre of covered glasshouse, 2 acre of shade houses managed by technicians trained in nematode culture. - Open field micro plots: Pacific Ag Group has microplots in both eastern and western research facilities to support efficacy testing for nematodes of economic importance. Open field planting dedicated to nematode biology and control total over 100 acres split between Eastern and Western stations. These fields are used for product demonstrations and replicated small research plots where nematode species are uniformly distributed and complete historical records are maintained. - Application equipment: Broadcast and raised bed shanked injection, drip chemigation, preplant granular and liquid drench treatments, and post-planting in-season drenches and other techniques required by sponsors and mastered by Pacific Ag technicians. Evaluations include several growth indices including analysis with digitized leaf area, visual ratings conducted in-season in open field plots, plant color determination, and numerous harvest parameters that can demonstrate even subtitle effects of nematode feeding. Research reports include photographic documentation of species, morphological changes in treated specimens, as well as a complete work up of experimental results in both text and graphical presentations.
Agriculture in the twenty first century will involve not only crop protection but also significant advancement in three basic components of agronomy: irrigation, fertilization, and crop genetics. These factors must be balanced to optimize returns to the grower and have minimal long-term impact to the environment. For example, the irrigation practices in the Southwest must consider the current drought conditions. Drip irrigation, soil penetrants, drought tolerant genetics, anti-transpirants, and other emerging technologies are urgently needed if Western agriculture is to remain competitive and profitable. Similarly, fertilizers and concentrated plant nutrients must be developed and applied in a way that complies with regulatory requirements but still has maximum benefit to the crop. Through a variety of agronomic instrumentation, Pacific Ag scientists make discrete measurements of plant growth rates, nutritional status, turgor, chemical composition, and disease and insect tolerance. The genetics of a crop variety determine many of these agronomic characteristics. This includes drought tolerance, pest tolerance, nutrition, earliness, ease of harvest, and post-harvest management. Through these types of data, the agronomic program at Pacific Ag evaluates the overall plant health and identifies the best agricultural practices in this constantly changing environment.
Most of the commercial insecticides in use today were tested in R&D programs with Pacific Ag. This is because our entomology staff is familiar with the key pest complexes and is well networked throughout the high-value crop industry. Emphasis is placed on developing tools and practices for controlling pests before economic thresholds are reached. Some of the research methods more commonly used by our staff include: lab and field bioassays, caged insect studies in the field and greenhouse, predatory insect population monitoring, and insect degree-day models that predict onset of pest pressures in the various growing regions we service.
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