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  • Author or Editor: John M. Gerber x
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Change is such an ingrained precept of extension doctrine that it rarely elicits a rebuttal. Yet, the change we generally agree upon is change by others—our clientele or target audience—not ourselves. This article is about change within a publicly supported institution, the Cooperative Extension Service.

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There is a fundamental need for the land grant system to debate and rediscover its place in society as a learning organization founded upon enhanced internal and external connectivity. Two critical connections are the linkage between research and extension, and cooperation among the states. As with any system in which the component parts are no longer functionally integrated, the land grant system is declining in vitality. Poor cooperation among states and weak linkages between the research and extension functions have reduced the capacity of the system to serve the public good. The New England Extension Consortium was created to enhance public access to the research base of the land grant universities and to increase the efficiency and efficacy of extension programs in the six New England states.

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Seedling growth of sweet corn (Zea mays L. cv. Sundance) in response to P and Zn rates at 4 day/night temperature regimes (12°/7°, 16°/10°, 20°/15°, 30°/21°C) was evaluated in growth chamber experiments using soil low in P, and moderate to high in Zn. Sweet corn response to P and Zn fertility varied with the particular temperature at which the plants were grown. At 12°/7° and 16°/10°, seedling growth was inhibited more by low temperatures than by either P or Zn nutrition. At 20°/15°, significant interactions between P and Zn rates increased shoot dry weight and shoot length while significant main effects for P and Zn rates increased shoot leaf number. At 30°/21°, shoot growth incrased with P rate but was not affected by Zn application. There was no evidence of P antagonism on Zn uptake, since total Zn levels is shoots increased with P rate at the 3 higher terperature regimes. However, vigorous shoot response to P application at 20°/15° and 30°/21° decreased tissue Zn concentrations. Root dry weight increased with P rate at all temperatures except 12°/7°. Zn rate had no effect on root growth. Growth response to Zn at 20°/15° seemed to be related to a stimulation in shoot:root dry weight ratio with high P rates.

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The Cooperative Extension Service (CES) is undergoing a period of self-evaluation (Gerber, 1985) and change (USDA Extension Service, 1988). As part of on-going discussions on the future of the CES at the Univ. of Illinois, a survey of the academic staff in the Dept. of Horticulture was conducted. The survey quantified the reaction of horticultural academic staff to recommendations taken from a federal study on the future of extension (USDA Economic Committee on Organization and Policy, 1987) and statements solicited from the Dept. of Horticulture Extension Committee. Recipients of the survey were asked to state their level of agreement or disagreement with the statements on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = no opinion, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree).

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The mutant endosperm gene in corn (Zea mays L.), shrunken-2 (sh2), is associated with poor seedling emergence in cold soils (Churchill and Andrew, 1984). Although poor emergence has been attributed to a variety of factors, it is known that cold injury during imbibition is usually more severe in seeds that have a low moisture content at planting (Simon and Wiebe, 1975). Seeds of crops that have been partially hydrated at a warm temperature (primed) before low-temperature treatment have shown improved emergence. A high initial moisture content partially protects corn seed from the detrimental effects of cold imbibition (Cal and Obendorf, 1972). No published information is available on the response of sh2 genotypes to pretreatment by seed priming.

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Mexican avocado seedlings and grafted ‘Irwin’ mangos grown under soil temperatures of 21, 27 and 32°C responded differently. The soil temperature statistically influenced the growth of the avocado seedlings but not the mangos. A soil temperature range of 21 to 27° was best for the growth of the avocado seedlings but temperatures greater than 27° reduced growth. The number of growth flushes was greater at 27° than either 21 or 32°. The avocado seedlings were tall and upright at 21° and were short and spreading at 32°.

The mineral composition of both the avocado and the mango leaves changed with soil temperatures. The content of N and P in avocado and mango leaves was highest at 32° and lowest at 27°. The K content of the avocado leaves increased with temperature, but the Fe and Zn content decreased. In the mango Mg and Fe content was highest at 27° and lowest at 21°. Calcium content of the mango leaves decreased with soil temperature.

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Abstract

Cropping systems were compared among vegetable crops which are commonly grown for profit on a 5–10 ha farm. Tomato [Lycopersicon esculentum (Mill.) ‘Jet Star’], cabbage [Brassica oleracea (L.) var. capitata ‘Sunup’], collards [Brassica oleracea (L.) var. acephala ‘Vates’], and muskmelon [Cucumis melo (L.) ‘Gold Star’] were monocropped; cabbage was intercropped with tomatoes; and collards were intercropped with muskmelon. Crop yield, production cost, and economic returns of the intercrop system were comparable to those of the crops produced alone.

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