NEW! 2020 Southeastern U.S. Vegetable Crop Handbook

NEW! Blossom End Rot publication

NEW! Drip Irrigation publication

Dr. Brent Rowell in the UK Department of Horticulture has created a helpful guide to help specialty crop growers on small acreage farms and high tunnels set up their drip irrigation systems. This guide provides instructions on calculating what a grower would need to set up their drip irrigation system. Please see the attachment below.

What's wrong with my sweet corn?

Here is sweet corn showing signs of zinc deficiency. It is distinguished by the yellow striping on the outer portion of the leaves, while the midvein remains green. Another characteristic is that the yellowing appears on the lower part of the leaves while the top part of the leaves remains green. Zinc is less available to the plant at a higher soil pH (greater than 6.5).

For more information on this and other issues in sweet corn, see ID-184 An IPM Scouting Guide for Common Problems of Sweet Corn in Kentucky.

Photo taken June 20, 2019 by Wayne Kirby, Knox County ANR agent.

Plant-parasitic nematode MS position in the Department of Horticulture– University of Kentucky

Seeking a MS graduate student with interest and/or experience in nematology and experience in vegetable production to join Dr. Rachel Rudolph’s lab in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Kentucky. The student will be part of a new effort to evaluate plant-parasitic nematode pressure in vegetable crops in the state of Kentucky. The student will be based out of the University of Kentucky on the main campus in Lexington.

Project summary: High tunnels are passively heated and cooled temporary structures used to extend the growing season for high value crops. High tunnel production is nuanced and growers face unique production challenges from pests and diseases. One of those challenges are plant-parasitic nematodes, specifically the root knot nematode. Root knot nematodes invade plant roots and cause root galling which impairs root function and causes reduced water and nutrient uptake. Root knot nematodes have a very wide host range, including nearly all vegetable crops. High tunnels were intended for the production of specialty crops which include vegetables. Rotating to a non-host crop would be extremely limiting for high tunnel growers and would most likely mean that they would earn a significantly lower profit. Tomatoes are the most common and the most high-value crop grown in high tunnels in Kentucky. Several Kentucky high tunnel growers have already observed issues with root knot nematodes. The fumigants and nematicides labeled for use on tomatoes are either not permitted for use in high tunnels, are extremely costly for growers, or are only moderately effective against plant-parasitic nematodes. There is a need for another management technique that is both affordable and effective. The objectives of this project are to determine the level of pressure that plant-parasitic nematodes exert on vegetable cropping systems across the state of Kentucky, specifically in high tunnels and evaluate grafting and other non-chemical methods for management of root knot nematodes in Kentucky high tunnel systems.

The graduate student, with advice and mentorship from Dr. Rudolph and other project personnel, will be responsible for the execution of field research including: a plant-parasitic nematode census across the state, as well as two on-farm trials. The student will be responsible for sampling, extracting, identifying, and quantifying plant-parasitic nematodes. In the field, the student may oversee undergraduate assistants and will work with vegetable growers during on-farm trials. The MS student will be additionally responsible for (1) providing regular project updates, (2) data management, (3) statistical analysis of field data, (4) preparation and submission of academic manuscripts, and (5) development and dissemination of outreach materials. The student will be expected to present their work at conferences and grower meetings.



  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and an ability to work both independently and collaboratively with researchers, growers, and practitioners from different backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated ability to follow through on project deliverables
  • Ability to complete coursework while also maintaining and management research project
  • Strong writing skills


The following qualification are preferred but not required:

  • Experience designing, planning, and executing applied field research.
  • Undergraduate research experience in nematology
  • Prior experience working and/or interfacing with growers.
  • Prior experience managing field projects and mentoring students.
  • Strong statistical skills and demonstrated proficiency with SAS or another statistical software program.
  • Experience in nematode identification and nematology field and lab methods such as proper sampling, extraction, and quantification techniques.
  • Demonstrated ability and/or desire to integrate results across interdisciplinary teams.



If interested, please send me a short research statement highlighting your career ambitions, interest in the position, and experience working with nematode research. In addition, send a current CV and writing sample to Rachel Rudolph ( with the subject line “Plant-parasitic nematode graduate student position – your last name” by September 1st 2019. For more on Dr. Rudolph’s research interests and work, please visit