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MSU Extension expert leads grant project’s outreach effort
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University Extension Service turf grass expert will lead the Extension portion of a multistate effort to address herbicide resistance in a common weed.
Jay McCurdy, who has served as Extension turf specialist since 2014, is part of a $5.6 million grant project involving researchers and Extension specialists in a 16-state effort to limit the impact of annual bluegrass.
Annual bluegrass is a problem in both residential and commercial turfgrass, including sports fields, sod farms and golf courses. The project involves gathering samples, assessing the samples to determine the distribution of herbicide-resistant plants, developing alternative control measures, and creating best management practices for professional and residential turf managers. McCurdy will work with other Extension specialists to create and deliver related educational curricula.
“I’m extremely excited to be part of this project,” McCurdy said. “Annual bluegrass, or Poa annua, is one of the most prolific and difficult-to-control weeds in Mississippi. Our research group at MSU is focused on best management practices that reduce inputs and lead to a more sustainable turfgrass stand.”
Almost 300,000 acres of turfgrass surround Mississippi’s approximately 750,000 residential properties. There are more than 120 golf courses, more than 2,000 athletic fields, and numerous acres of turf surrounding schools, places of worship and commercial sites. The Mississippi turfgrass industry employs more than 7,300 people and has a value-added impact of more than $273 million, including impact from equipment manufacturing. The lawn-care industry alone employs more than 1,200 people and has a value-added impact of an estimated $37 million.
Muthukumar Bagavathiannan, a weed scientist at Texas A&M University, is coordinating the project. For more information about this effort, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, visit http://bit.ly/2CBaRey.